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My Meditative Moments

Practice- Pausing Our “Habitualness” of Mind

by meditative - April 1st, 2011.
Filed under: Insight Meditation Exercises.

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Don’t underestimate the strength of the habitual mind- the discursive mind- the busy, worried, caught up in “me”, “myself”, and “I” mind. The habitual mind and its “reactionary force” knows us better than we know ourselves- it knows how we are- how addictive we are- and how fearful and insecure we can be. It thrives on our confusion- and our state of bewilderment.

When we lose the immediacy or direct connection to our experience- we become susceptible to the reactionary force– the impulse, and the urge to submerge into a reactionary cycle. Distraction and all the minutiae details of experience awaits the unsuspecting “sleepwalker”.

The more self-absorbed we become in our day, the less open and free space available in our awareness. We get so caught up in so much useless and meaningless details that we cannot see what’s in front of our nose- this is the human predicament- and it is this kind of focus- moment to moment along our space-time continuum of days to months- even whole lives can pass us by. Look deeply at your habitual patterns- and to what end do they really serve?

How do we juggle it all- and how do we balance it all?- to just be- to think- to feel-  to do. We can’t just sit and meditate all day. To work effectively with our habitual mind, we need to see and recognize the “space”– the “gap”– between our thinking, feeling, and doing. It’s attending to that little bit of spaciousness as it occurs moment to moment and resting with it– allowing this gap to permeate our states of mind- our hearts- and interrupting our usual way of getting caught up. With time and practice, this gap will start to permeate the rest of our day. Be curious and invite this space into your awareness- even just a little at a time. It will change the texture & flavor of your day- guaranteed!

This informal “practice of pausing” is an effective technique to help us break the attraction of our reactionary force throughout the day. Simply by taking a couple of conscious, focused breaths, one can interrupt the habitual way of doing things with open awareness. In being so, we disconnect from our storylines and reconnect to the immediacy of our experience… we pause, we breathe, and we move on… we pause, we breathe, and we move on…

Punctuate and create space with these thought-free moments- even if they come in very small doses- one breath or two at a time throughout the day. No matter what the activity, there’s underlying continuity with this practice. As soon as you do, you will come to realize how big the sky is- and how spacious your mind is. Allow yourself the space to realize where you are- and rest in this awareness… it can be truly liberating.

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