“Live in the now.” From a favorite book by Eckhart Tolle, Guardians of Being.
I just ordered The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works by Shinzen Young. I haven’t read it yet, but he’s someone that I trust implicitly, and the preview of the book looks like what I’d expect from him. Like me — but way ahead of me — he’s interested in the science of meditation.
In “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert describes what meditation can be like. :)
“Researchers report that mindfulness meditation reduced chaotic activity in the brain and the heart ... ‘Activities of the brain and heart became more coordinated during MBSR training,’ reported the authors. ‘Mindfulness training may increase the entrainment between mind and body.’”
To me, a lot of Buddhist teachings are based on logic. Today I particularly like this quote from this LionsRoar.com article titled, Silencing the Inner Critic: “The judging mind is optional; it can be understood and released.”
If you’re interested in a simple introduction to mindfulness meditation, search the Internet for a free, 25-page PDF booklet named, “Buddha in Blue Jeans,” by Tai Sheridan. Despite that name, the booklet has good, non-denominational tips about meditating and mindfulness (and only mentions the name “Buddha” twice in the main text).
Here’s a favorite quote: “Be like a cat purring. Follow your breath like ocean waves coming in and out.”
Today’s mindfulness “lesson of the day” (mostly for myself) is a reminder to keep practicing, even when you don’t feel like it. You don’t get to choose when moments of enlightenment happen, so the best thing you can do is keep practicing so those moments will be possible when the right circumstances (karma?) come into alignment.
What happens is that over time, both the mindfulness and the enlightenment bits change the wrinkles in your brain, change your perspective and attitude, and cleanse the environmental conditioning of whatever happened to get you to this point. With continued practice you evolve (think “metamorphosis”) into a new person over time — this time a person of your own choosing, rather than a person conditioned by where and when you were born and lived.
(And who knows, maybe one day you’ll break free from the endless cycle of karmic existence, if you’re into that sort of thing.)
“If we close our eyes (during zazen), the darkness may provide us some relief from visual distraction and give us a feeling of peace and calm. But in zazen, we keep our eyes open. If we want to close our eyes because we feel distracted by what our eyes see, we need to understand that it is our minds that are distracted, not our eyes.”
A little personal enlightenment (from March 22, 2014):
Since I started passing out a few weeks ago, I’ve had conversations with doctors, nurses, friends, and even a shaman caregiver about life, death, quality of life, goals, and desires. I had a hard time answering some of those questions, and yesterday I realized why that was:
If you’re truly living in the present moment, those questions don’t make any sense! You can’t think about life, death, the past, or the future if you’re absorbed in the present moment.
When eating, just eat. When planning for the future, live fully in that moment of planning for the future. And when writing text like this, just write. That’s all.