Mindfulness – Listening

Twists and turns in the journey

As I journey into this life with meditation and mindfulness, it becomes harder to put my experience into words.  As the mind becomes quiet, so does the stories, the self and the reasons why.

This is meditation doing its work, unseen, without glory. Creating space, immense and timeless.  A space where the pushing and pulling stops, where the influence of experience and knowledge has no power. Where the motives of the ego mind diminish.

The demands of the mind still come, the fears, the judgments, the attachments, but from this space created by the practice, they can be acknowledged, felt and allowed to move through freely, with ease.

I believe it is from this space we can see change and transformation.

The road is full of twists and turns.  I know less now that I did when I first started out and I am happy to rest with that.  The knowledge that got me here did just that, it got me to sit on the cushion, to search for the space, but the practice turns this all upside down.

I came to this practice seeking change, security, happiness and peace.  What I was really seeking was satisfaction and reward, all from the ego mind.  All my efforts were based around this.  My ego mind had played a trick, a self projection, it showed me a little picture of what life would be like in the future, an illusion, totally unreal.

From this place of still mind, free from the known, no true or false, no should be or should not, the illusions fall away.  In this rawness emerges something new, peaceful and still.

Listening

I will often just go and stand in the back garden and listen. Just listening to the birds singing, trying to pick out the different calls (it’s usually Robin, he has such a lovely tune).  Then I listening to the far away sounds, the traffic on the road, the kids playing on the park, the dog barking, the plane passing by overhead.

Just listening can be a meditation in itself, opening up the space in the mind, away from the narrow channels of awareness we build. Just allowing it all in, not wanting it to go away or be different, just listening with curiosity.  There is a great beauty in listening this way, it is quite extraordinary.

Our ears are so often blocked up with projections, opinions and thoughts that we rarely listen at all.

The more we truly listen, the quieter it becomes, the more the space opens up.

Generous Heart

We must keep an open and generous heart in this practice.  There are times when I have closed my heart on this journey, becoming hard and stern with myself.  In that tight-fisted, closed down mode of thinking, the space closes in.  A day or week may go by, little things start to niggle you, you start to push away noise, fear may arise in the belly, be aware of it, this may happen.

Go gently, breathe, soften, sit back, sink in and root our feet to the floor.  Things may go awry, that’s okay, we can always come back, always.

Go to a quiet place, close your eyes and drop into your heart. Just listen, the heart knows what you need, no words are required.

Just listen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn up the love

I make no excuses, unashamedly I write an awful lot about the heart in this blog.  My mindfulness and meditation journey seems to be taking me more and more into this area, into the heart centre. Compassion seems too light a word for it, it is like tapping into our very being, our very essence, our inner guide.

Listening to the heart

The voice of the heart is quiet, our mind loves to barge right in and drown it out.  It takes time, everyday I just listen a little more.  In silence and solitude, the heart will start to speak.

Connect with the breath, the anchor.  Put your attention to your heart centre and breathe deeply into that area. As you breath in, visualize light going straight to your heart, as you breath out visualize darkness leaving your heart, just listen.

Being the light in the dark

However hard we try, we really can’t escape the fact that there is injustice and harm in the world. We will at some point have to face our darkest hour, I am not trying to be a doom monger here, it is just a fact. We can face this with fear, anger, rage even. Or we could try to up our level of kindness, respect, humility, compassion and integrity to others but first and foremost ourselves.  We have a choice.

Maybe the most bold and courageous thing we will ever do is to be a light in the darkness for ourselves.

Put your hand on your heart, breathe into that space, give yourself the love and compassion you need. Know that its just fine to be yourself. We are unique, there is only one you and only one me. Follow the inner guidance of the heart, just listen.

Strength

When I look back in my meditation log / journal to when I started heart meditations, there is something that stands out from the page. STRENGTH. It is repeated no less than 5 times on the page.  Heart work has the ability to give us strength to face whatever situations crop up in our lives. To head into the dark, trusting the light within, to stand on our own two feet.

At the bottom of that particular page in my journal, just underneath the title “loving kindness meditation” is a little sentence that will forever stand out for me on this journey we call life…

“I can be my own father”

That’s the kind of strength I mean.

 


May you be well

May you be happy

May you be free from suffering

May you be the light in the dark


 

 

Getting right to the heart of it

I have felt a definite shift in my mindfulness and meditation practice over the last few weeks.  I have felt the need to be silent, to be still, to step away from the noise and to drop into my heart, to hear what it has to say.

The heart seems to have a mysterious way of knowing just what is required, yet so often we don’t listen to it.  In the busyness of life, the heart gets drowned out by the noise of it all, opinions, judgements, I should do this, I shouldn’t do that. When we drop into the heart and truly listen,  intuition comes to the fore and common sense prevails.

I find it fascinating that science is coming round to the fact that the heart may have a brain of its own. Besides its primary function of keeping us alive, research has shown it appears to contain thousands of neurons and neurotransmitters.  I am not a doctor nor a scientist, I can only tell you, (from my heart) it has been one of the most transformational aspects of my practice so far.

“If mindfulness is the boat, compassion is the water it floats on”

Mindfulness without compassion is a bit like trying to push a boat on dry land. If mindfulness is the boat, compassion is the water it floats on (you know I like my nautical references).For this reason, compassion is the most important aspect of my practice and teaching. Compassion, kindness and awareness can come to us naturally if we truly listen to our hearts.

The heart of the practice

It takes time to connect with the heart again. For years, I didn’t listen, beating myself up, fears, judgements, all the noise took over. But slowly, without over thinking it, for ten minutes I would just sit, putting my attention to the heart area and breathing in deep as if breathing in light to the area, then a release of the breath out, sending the darkness out into the atmosphere, just repeating that for ten minutes, light in, dark out.  As with most of this sort of practice it is experiential, it cannot be intellectualised and in a way it can’t be written, it has to be felt and experienced with no expectation.  I don’t practice this at every meditation but at least once a week, I drop into the heart.

The heart knows what we truly need, it wants to be listened to.  Don’t take my word for it, drop into your heart every now and again and just listen. Put your hand on your heart and give yourself the love, the kindness and the compassion you need.

Be patient, watch the small shifts happen and allow things to unfold in their own good time, not forced but from the heart.

With Love from The Mind Shed.



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From the Heart

 


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