Mindfulness

Mindfulness
Jocelyne Leyton, DOMP

My husband was going away for a few weeks hiking and I found myself saying to a few close friends ‘this is a great opportunity for me to deepen my Mindfulness Practice’. Well, it is four weeks later. Although I started out with resolve and awareness to be more present moment to moment I eventually, once again, got caught up in the speed of the demands of life I deemed important.

My attention to future and past details began, as usual, to take over my life. I was rushing my morning shower to get to the boat (we live on an island). I was driving faster to work to get there earlier. I was doing the dishes without presence absorbed with the next future activity. Does this sound familiar? Meanwhile, life is happening in the moment.

Although my daily routine consists of formal sitting meditation for one hour in the morning and less than an hour before bed; I wanted this precious gift of Mindfulness to penetrate more of my everyday life.

Life passes quickly I discover as I enter into my seventieth year. In my early thirties as a housewife and mother I was searching for a deeper meaning and understand of the purpose of life. I came across a very small book entitled “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese Monk and winner of the Noble Peace Prize. This small book with outline for practice was like finding a precious jewel. It changed my life.

Mindful attention allows us to experience what is truly there. With steady observation we discover impermanence and how to gracefully accept the stated condition. Everything is subject to change and that leads to suffering. This quality of attention transforms ordinary experience to extraordinary experience. ‘Everything becomes meaningful – everything matters’ – pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, life and death.. We begin to see life and others as part of us. We discover very quickly our inter-connectedness to all of life.

The essence of Mindfulness practice is to deepen and develop sensory clarity, concentration and equanimity. This, I discover is a lifetime work. We must be patient with ourselves if we endeavor to follow this path. When we take time to sit down in formal practice, or walk mindfully, eat mindfully we strengthen the muscles of sensory clarity, concentration and equanimity.

This practice is a many- faceted jewel. In time and with practice we become more patient, kind and understanding. We lower our blood pressure, our organs and central nervous system is happier and healthier. We understand suffering and the causes of suffering. We understand this is because that is. We begin to see deeply and understand what we did not know before. We slow down. We participate more fully moment to moment. We know ourselves.

The power of stillness illuminates our life.