Everyday Mindfulness

It's been a busy week.  It's February and it's cold and I have felt a little low on energy.  The place where I sit to meditate in the morning is FREEZING... I've been wrapping up in blankets and wearing a hat to keep warm (which I find strangely heartening, as it reminds me of meditating in the Shrine Room on Holy Isle).  I can see my breath when I breathe.

So at 6.30 in the morning my warm bed is so very much more appealing than a cold mat in a cold room.  I've been making it there still, but only for 20-30 minutes, and I've been missing out on my usual 60 minute meditation.

When I don't meditate/meditate less I remember what life was like before I started meditating ... my emotions start to have me in their clutches and I feel at their mercy instead of being able to observe them more dispassionately for the temporary sensations that they are.  My sense of connection with the rest of the world (be it human, animal or plant) seems to lessen and I miss it, that deep sense of peace and of being an essential, yet insignificant, part of a beautiful and grand whole.  I find myself feeling a little more impatient, a little less grounded, a little more disturbed by noise, arguments, traffic, adverts... by all the things around us that constantly demand that we take our attention away from the heart of ourselves and out towards them.

It's good sometimes, to have a short time away from your practice, or to reduce it - it helps you to remember why you do it.

There is no dead end on a spiritual path.  We are walking it all the time; it doesn't have to take any particular shape or form, or include any particular method or technique.

Having less time to come to my mat this week, I remembered that everything I do is my practice.  Brushing my teeth, I am simply brushing my teeth, not planning dinner; walking the dog I am feeling my feet on the floor, the sun in my face, watching the joy of my dog, not thinking of that evening's class.  Baking a cake, I am absorbed, full of enjoyment, in that one particular task. 

Simple mindfulness.  Being here now.  All of me.  Not my body in one place and my head in another.  The whole of me fully engaged in each thing. 

With this as my intention, even loading the dishwasher becomes part of my practice and my mind and heart feel at ease.  With this as my intention, I don't miss out on the experience that I am actually having by my letting my head run away to the future or the past.  With this as my intention, I find that in any given moment, I am ok; there is peace; there is joy; there is love.  With this as my intention, I don't steal myself away from myself: I am complete.

As Swami Rama put it:
"People are caught in their self-created misery.  First they build a high, thick wall separating daily life from what they consider spiritual, then they exhaust themselves trying to demolish it."

This week, I have been dissolving that wall and in the process have been remembering that everything I do, say, think and feel is my practice and my path.

Namaste.

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