This month we will explore Right Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the receiving aspect of the mental training section. It is connected to our attentiveness to the present moment. There is so much information out in space around mindfulness in relationship to relaxation, productivity and stress reduction that you may be tempted to think that this is the aim of Right Mindfulness. I do not believe so. Right Mindfulness is connected to seeing the Four Noble Truths. In other words, recognizing the presence of suffering in our lives and having a stronger desire to understand it than to get rid of it. It means staying with that suffering until we can penetrate the conditions creating to the suffering all the way until cessation. Right Mindfulness is everything but relaxation, productivity and stress reduction. Such things might occur but they are secondary to the aim of liberating the mind from the cage of the caged existence of a conditioned world.
This month is not about practicing what could be called secular mindfulness. It is about practicing with the sacred by turning the wheel of the Dhamma. It is about turning towards your experience – whatever it is – and getting interested in what you see. It means letting go of any assumptions, judgments, expectations and opinions we have about our experience and just observe. I find that using the observation skill from Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication is the best way to develop Right Mindfulness. It suggests that anything that can’t be seen in a camera lens or picked up on an audio recorder is just another form of evaluation. I include all my adjectives, descriptions and opinions. Eliminating all our evaluations allows up to view a situation from a more neutral and/or detached eye.
Experiencing from a neutral and/or detached sense door allows us to understand how our conditioning affects our perception of experience. We can also began to realize how we create suffering in our lives. So this month is about being open and receptive to life.
This receptivity then needs to be pointed in a particular way. We want to be mindful of the arising and ceasing of all phenomenon. We want to see this arising and ceasing has nothing to do with us and more to do with the natural flow of existence. You want to see how attachment and craving interrupts this natural flow. And finally that this interruption is the cause of suffering. So this month – just observe.
I’m still sending you metta.