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Friday, April 11, 2014

Drink from the Cup of Life, one sip at a time!

Learn to be aware of what you are doing. It is through awareness that you become peaceful.

There are two ways of doing anything. You can do something mechanically. Or you can do it mindfully, with total involvement, with awareness. Try building awareness into your Life with simple things. Don’t eat, for instance, without being aware of what you are eating. We normally just eat – thinking of something else or we are checking our phones or we are swapping channels on TV or we are flipping through a book. We are eating alright, but we are not mindful of our eating. It is a listless, mechanical, to-do item on our checklist – you can’t avoid eating, so you eat! The way to eat with awareness is to eat with gratitude – for those several thousands of people, some of them nameless and faceless, who have toiled to make your meal arrive at your table – and to eat relishing every morsel. Enjoying food is a very spiritual experience. When you eat like this, mindfully, you train your mind to be in the present and not wander away. This is the way you can build awareness in everything – while walking, while drinking your tea or even  beer, while bathing, while gardening….in fact, while doing anything!

Now, be sure, the mind will protest when you order it to be present in the moment, to be mindful and aware. The mind doesn’t like to be in the now. Because when you are immersed in the moment, the mind cannot worry or grieve. And the human mind loves worrying and grieving! Think about this. When you relish each sip of your green tea – or any of your favorite beverage – in that moment of relishing, you will not be worrying about the future or be remorseful about the past. In that moment, there’s only the green tea, there’s only freshness, there’s pure, unadulterated joy! You will have the same experience if you were to take a cold bottle of water on a hot summer afternoon and drink from it. For those few moments that you quench your thirst, nothing will really matter. But this is where the mind will play dirty. It will draw you into the future – filling you with anxiety over something that is yet to happen. Or it will drag you into the past and make you feel guilty or sad about what has happened. So, for instance, how can you enjoy your meal or relish your green tea when someone’s dying in hospital (anxiety over a future event) or when you have had a massive argument with your companion (grief and guilt over the past)? Your mind will tell you that what’s more important than being in the now, is feeling anxious and/or feeling remorseful. And you will capitulate. This is what has been happening to you, to me, all this while. This is also why we don’t experience inner peace. But if you learn to tell your mind to back off, to allow you to experience the now, your mind will heed you. Surprisingly, with little or no protest. The mind though aggressive is very obedient. With consistent effort it can be trained. When you reach that state when you can learn to be fully aware and mindful, of whatever you are doing, you are actually free from the clutches of your mind. Then you are neither brooding nor imagining worst-case, yet-to-happen, scenarios. Then you are the peace that you seek!

Mindfulness is about being aware of whatever you are doing, by immersing yourself totally in that activity, consciously. It is through awareness that you can drink from the cup of Life, one sip at a time, one moment at a time.

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