Mindfulness practice Drill #1 “ Awareness of spaces”
Zen calls our brain-mind a monkey mind because, like a monkey, our mind jumps from one branch to another one non-stop 24/7. Branches, of course, mean thoughts and feelings.
In fact, it is estimated than this crazy monkey is running thru around 110,000 branches per day.
Our mind is controlling us and more specifically its ego part, main source of our “suffering”.
Taming our monkey brings us closer to Awakening /Enlightenment that is serenity and equanimity.
Serenity is to accept pain but making suffering optional.
Taming the mind is to control our thinking/feelings, observe them and let them go in a mindful way.
Regular mindfulness meditation is the #1 weapon to tame the monkey.
It can be done in 2 ways:
1-Thru formal sitting meditation that is being still and anchoring your mind on your breathing or
2-By practicing short mindfulness exercises/drill, on the go, during the day.
Here is one that I call: “Awareness of new spaces”
It involves bringing non-judgmental awareness to any transitions between spaces when you leave one space to enter another. Before you walk through a different space, pause, even if only for few seconds, during one breath or 2. Learn to be aware of the differences you might feel in each new space you enter. You can expand this space transition by including your car, shops, outside, etc.
Usually as we walk from one space to the next, we do it totally unconsciously because our mind is always elsewhere. Our body is doing one thing – walking through one space to the next whereas our mind is doing something else, somewhere in a different space-time. This is how we go through our day, day by day.
Zen talks about “sleepwalkers” that is being in a constant dreaming state made of past and future space-times and fed of non-stop thoughts and feelings.
As we learn to become more aware of the present moment such as where we are and what we are doing, bit by bit, the gap closes between the concrete reality of the present space-time and the fictional past and future ones created by the mind.
Life becomes more vivid and satisfying. This is the beauty of the gift called “Now” and this is why it is called present.
Remember this: despite its enormous power, our brain-mind cannot proceed with 2 thoughts at the same time. Forcing our brain-mind to be in the concrete reality of the NOW prevent him from having other thoughts.
Be aware and appreciate each physical space that you are currently within.
It will help you to become more aware of your multitude fictional mind space-time that you encounter continuously. This awareness is critical as far the control of the monkey mind is concerned,
This very simple act of life such as being aware of moving from one space to the next one is one example of pressing the pause button 0n your jumping monkey.