I started off my day listening to a mindfulness meditation recorded by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The time I put aside in the early morning is special because I meditate with my husband. The practice is good for me, and I think it is good for us.
The theme of the meditation this morning was choiceless awareness. This is an orientation in meditation where you open your mind to all experience within your field of awareness – letting it be as big as the sky – so it can contain everything: the soundscape, your breath, your body sensations, thinking and feeling.
The spirit is one of allowing and what Kabat-Zinn calls the ‘nowscape’.
This is a particularly good sort of meditation for me because I’ve set as a goal for myself to pay attention to my reactivity – those times, for instance, when I have a quick retort that I might regret afterwards, or the strong aversions or passions I seem to have no control over, or the occasions when I feel a need to be competitive or self-righteous.
These are areas where I feel I trip myself up. Meditation gives me some practice in making space around thoughts, feelings, behaviours. I can see there are times when nothing needs to be said or done.
I came across a Yoga Lunchbox post today from Kara-Leah Grant on the yoga concept of isvara pranidhana, which seemed to dovetail with my morning meditation. The author did a great job of defining and de-mystifying the notion of ‘surrender to god’, which is how isvara pranidhana is usually translated. Rather than bringing in the sometimes controversial idea of God, Grant says that what we surrender to is Pure Awareness:
In a concrete way, this surrender often means taking a moment to allow a moment to truly penetrate my being. I watch as thoughts or feelings might arise in reaction to the moment. I see those thoughts and feelings but I don’t allow them to generate an action. Instead, I pause, until the clarity of Awareness infuses my being and allow action to arise from that place.
It’s a practice.
It takes time.
And, I can see that it’s a practice that’s a worthy use of our time as mindfulness practice can spill over into every aspect of our lives.