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Monday, November 27, 2006

We Don't Need to Move at a Snail's Pace to be Mindful

One of the most difficult things to learn is that mindfulness is not dependent on any emotional or mental state. We have certain images of meditation. Meditation is something done in quiet caves by tranquil people who move slowly. Those are training conditions. They are set up to foster concentration and to learn the skill of mindfulness. Once you have learned that skill, however, you can dispense with the training restrictions, and you should. You don't need to move at a snail's pace to be mindful. You don't even need to be calm. You can be mindful while solving problems in intensive calculus. You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage. You can be mindful in the midst of a raging fury. Mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness. If you find your mind extremely active, then simply observe the nature and degree of that activity. It is just a part of the passing show within.

--Henepola Gunaratana

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Trev Diesel said...

"You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage."

Man, that's a really insightful post and quote, James. Most of the times our "mindfulness" is just done in the quiet moments of our day, in the silent meditation room, or gently washing dishes... and that's fine! But this is a more complete vision of mindfulness ... thanks!

Gewel said...

Great quote. Thanks! I'm often wondering, "How am I doing?" and feel that I'm not doing so well at being mindful. But this reminds me that one can be mindful in lots of ways.

trinitystar said...

James she thinks one can find mindfullness in the humdrum of life. Finding that moment between everything that is going on. Bliss.
May you be filled with much light.
Keep well ... hugs4u

theycallmemac said...

Thanks for this post James! It is a good reminder not to really feel bad if your mind or body isn't moving slow in fact there is nothing wrong with this at all and we can still be mindful in this state just as well.

M.D. Shellhammer said...

Yup, I think anyone who has ever been in the"zone" understands this. Trev might experience it doing a lead solo when the "music plays him"
Sometimes when I'm troubleshooting a problem on a machine, or practicing Qi gong it is possible as well. Thanks James for this awesome reminder!

"James" said...


Yeah it's a more realistic view of mindfulness. Not everyone can (or should perhaps) be a monk/nun. :)


Yep, try not too be too hard on yourself. The fact that we even HAVE the desire to be mindful and follow the path is a HUGE step. It's easy to be critical of our practice. However, to use an old cliche, "Practice makes perfect!!" Or perhaps a more accurate phrase would be, "Practice reveals balance"!!


(nods) Exactly. Thank-you for the light...I send light back to you. :)


Indeed. We always seem to want to make the path/practice more difficult then it is. Letting go and accepting our situation from moment to moment is right view and right action I believe. Such a view melts the stress and grasping in the "chaotic" situation.


You're welcome friend. Being in the zone is a great way to describe it.

The yin and yang zone. :)

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