2021-11-08-Mindfulness of Mind (1 of 5) Responsible for Tension
4:30PM Nov 8, 2021
So today we start the week on mindfulness of the mind. And it's a continuation of his last four weeks, where we kind of explored the basic instructions in for mindfulness meditation that we teach here at IMC kind of exploring the territory. First week was mindfulness of breathing, then mindfulness of body, then emotions and thoughts. And when each of those areas, it's easy to have, get focused on those things. So we're breathing, and we're focusing on the breathing, and the breathing seems like what's most important, or if there's pain, especially, we're focused on the pain in the body, and that seems the most important, or for emotions, the emotion seems really, you know, Central, key, juicy. And so the attention is focusing on the emotion or on thinking, whatever it might be. And that's part of what mindfulness is. But in doing so, what's also important is the focus itself is the attention that's brought, how are we with the attention, what attitude dukkha comes with the attention. And it's little bit like driving a car with a windshield has been cleaned. And maybe to go on a long road trip on the freeway, and ever so slowly, the windshield gets dirty. And it happens very slowly, and you don't see it building up. And after a while, you don't really realize that you're slowly straining to look out the windshield. And it's a little hard and and then maybe you get stopped to get gas and you clean your windshield. And lo and behold, wow, is it clear again, and you realize that some of the tension that was building up was the difficulty of seeing, and but you hadn't realized it was difficult. It happens to me, sometimes with my glasses, when I wear them, that they get dirty without me know, knowing it, when I don't really notice sometimes that things aren't quite right with trying to see. Because the focus is so much on the driving and getting and being safely in their cars, we don't notice the seeing itself and how that's changed, or something like that. So so the art of this is to be able to step back or turn the attention around 180 degrees. And notice the quality of the attention. We're bringing the, the the quality of their how we practice. And so there's always two things, I like to say it's kind of, there's only two things, there's what's happening, and our relationship to what's happening. And so here we're going into the domain of how we're relating to whatever's happening, whether it's within us or around us, and starting to notice today, because today's the day we focus on relaxation, is are we tense. Are we contracted? Are we tight? Are we pushing? Are we forceful are we resisting is tight in a tense way. And, and it's easy to justify that tension and tightness. Because there are challenges the world brings. And the and so that, you know, it's easy to the problems out there, there are problems with that thing that I'm focusing on. And we have to fix that or do something with it or get away from it. Not noticing that there is this tension that's building up and, and not wanting maybe even take responsibility of that tension. When we do mindfulness practice, when we're focusing on the dharma, the way that we relate to what's happening is crucial a central the way that we are the attitude we have the the reaction we have to it, the way in which we bring attention to bear on whatever we're doing. That is really part of the pathway of suffering. And it's a part of the pathway where we can take the most have the most regular and ongoing responsibility or make the biggest difference. Maybe it would be little bit like
Oh, there they say the analogy I used before that if we'll say it this way, that if someone's angry with you say it's not on a scale of one to 10 It's not 10 Maybe it's a five or four or something. But it's still what they're saying worry about seems to you. Not right. And so you get upset. And part of the being upset is being tense. Now the person who is angry, you could perhaps, ask them politely to stop being angry, you could perhaps insist that they had to stop or you walk away, or you could ask them, let's talk about it. Or you could shake them upside down and try to shake the anger out of them. All kinds of things you options you have. And sometimes most of those might work. But sometimes they don't. And so then the irritation, the frustration can build and the tension builds as well. The week might say that person is making me tense. And that's, you know, in some kind of way, there's, there's a, there's a relationship between that person's anger and the tension you have. But the tension is your contribution to the situation. That that goes into the anger goes into your mind. And maybe you have associations to what anger is a frightening thing, or anger before, there's been an injustice to you. And here's where you're getting the person's angry, and hate to remind you of all the injustice as you've had to suffer, or, or maybe there's fear, and the person's anger happens to angry happens to remind you of angry bully when you're young. And so, so all these reasons why the tension and the reactivity might arise. But that belongs to our inner world, or in our life, our preferences, our experience, our memories are our our judgments, our desire to protect ourselves, all these things come into play. So there's pathways, there's a loud, angry voice coming to us, we receive it, we hear it, we hear it, and we process it, we process it and feel frayed, we tend to certain way, we process it and feel angry in return and tense up in a different way. And so that's the pathway. And then we react and we maybe get angry back or we say something. But if we can sit in that place where there's a choice, whether to be relaxed or tense, whether to go with attention or allow it or to relax, then we're getting close to where the dharma is that we're taking that now we're focusing on our contribution to our suffering. And that is one of the key things that mindfulness practice can do, or the dharma does, is it we're very keen to take responsibility to our own contribution to whatever's difficult. It doesn't deny that things need to be changed or fixed in the world. But it, but at least we can always look at what our contribution is, to our suffering. And the place that I'd like to recommend today is how you've become tense. How you've gotten contracted tight, pulled in the ways in which you kind of feel that compulsion to push into do and, kind of restless and, and, and, and so that can maybe, maybe be relaxed, not relaxed and soften. So the real world issues are denied. If there are real world issues, but relax so that we can come to them with the most wisdom in the most care. And from the best place that we know, the more tense we become. Most people don't respond with a lot of wisdom, don't respond with a lot of care, and sometimes respond in ways that actually detrimental there's a lot of justification to kind of unconscious for being tense, there is a lot of justification or feeling that the blame isn't the other person or the situation. And so that keeps the focus out there. In mindfulness of the mind, we're turning the mind attention back to see what is happening in our attitude, our relationship and with ourselves. And that we train ourselves to do that keep looking there and see where the tension is. See where there and then relax.
And to give be given the instructions that to relax might seem superficial, not very profound, not very, you know, spiritually, you know, ultimate are valuable, but it's relax is a kind of a simplest takeaway, a referring to the deep, letting go the deep opening up that spirituality Buddha spirituality kind of moves to. And so relaxing is part and parcel of this movement towards deep freedom. And so to take seriously the way we become tense is bring us into the territory of the world, where we contribute to our suffering, and where we could contribute to our freedom from our suffering. So don't overlook your attention. Don't justify being tense. Maybe occasionally, it's okay. But the opportunity in this practice is to turn around, take an honest look at it and see what can relax. And then once you're kind of relaxed, then you can turn your attention around again, to what needs to be addressed. So May, the lists of relaxation that the blessings or relaxation be something that you study and work with today, as you go through the day. It's not a simplistic thing. It's as this is a deep root in so many profound areas of our life. And hopefully, you'll enjoy it. Your shoulders, your belly, your face, your eyes, your hands, your heart and your mind. Find more relaxation today. Thank you