Mindfulness, or being fully present and attentive to the moment, not only improves the way we interact with others but also mitigates the stresses of life.
How do we remain mindful with a constant barrage of demands and pressures? Learning to meditate as part of a mindful training regime is one way.
Increasing our awareness requires training and practice. If you find yourself judging or easily jumping to conclusions, it often times has more to do with your state of mind than it does with the person whom you’re judging.
The real challenge of acquiring mindfulness is setting aside the time to practice it.
It’s easy to fall back into old patterns, but remaining optimistic and focused on the self-awareness mindfulness cultivates can free you from a case of chronic “Old Schoolness” and bring about the transformation that frees you from the constant chatter of our and other’s minds that we carry around with us (technology keeps us connected to the noise all the time).
Cultivating mindfulness seems almost counter intuitive in an era that makes little room for contemplation. It is an art to cultivate that requires skill, practice, creativity and dedication. If you’re committed to becoming more mindful, surround yourself with people who rarely complain, who do not criticize, and who often times, compliment others, inspiring them to reach and fulfill their potential rather than remaining fixated in old patterns. Mindfulness isn’t just about thinking positive thoughts, it’s about harnessing them to achieve all of our dreams.
This fellow was climbing a tree when suddenly he slipped. He grabbed a branch and was hanging there. After an hour or so passed, he was feeling exhausted. He looked up to the heavens and cried out: “God, help me, please, help me.”
Suddenly the clouds parted and a deep voice resounded, “Let Go!”
The guy paused and looked up at heaven once more, and said: “Is there anyone else up there?”
Humor is infectious. It lightens burdens, inspires hope, connects us to others, increases our insight, keeps us grounded, focused, alert, and happy. Laughter is a universal language that stimulates both sides of the brain. It allows us to get messages quicker and remember them longer. We all learn more when we are having fun. Writing this blog is a creative exploration in sharing thoughts that make me laugh, smile, or think. Thinking is the source of laughter. Welcome and have a nice day!
A student went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!”
“It will pass,” the teacher said matter-of-factly.
A week later, the student came back to his teacher. “My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It’s just wonderful!”
“It will pass,” the teacher replied matter-of-factly.
Q: How much “ego” do you need?
A: Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki
So how does my mindfulness practice influence my sense of humor. I realized a long time ago that a lot of humor comes from pain and suffering and many comics will be the first to admit that unhappy experiences drive their comedy. It’s like the Blues musicians always say..”you have to suffer to sing the Blues”. In many many cases that is true with comedy. If you look at the 7 stages of grief you will recognize the starting point for much of our comedy. At the core of pain, suffering, grief, depression, anxiety etc. is fear. During my adolescent years I experienced all of these emotions with fear being the most palpable. It was when I embraced my mindfulness practice that the fear gradually went away. For me fear took the form of fear of dying and when I dealt with that all the other “negative” emotions went away by themselves. It is when the fear left me that I was able to rediscover my sense of humor and sense of the ridiculous without descending into cynicism and all the related fear based emotions. Coming into the present moment allowed that sense of humor to flower and at the same time embrace the love, compassion, kindness and interconnectedness of our mortal foolishness.
Zen has a funny reputation…seriously.
Two men meet on the street.
One asks the other: “Hi, how are you?”
The other one replies: “I’m fine, thanks.”
“And how’s your son? Is he still unemployed?”
“Yes, he is. But he is meditating now.”
“Meditating? What’s that?”
“I don’t know. But it’s better than sitting around and doing nothing!”