In mindfulness, sense objects are freed from the imposition of immediate categorization and assessment (sañña) and are often freer to pick up a wider range of resonances and impacts on the heart. Walking down the sidewalk in meditation, the traffic sounds more like the ocean, and the people walking past you feel more like a flock of flamingos smoothly moving over the surface of the water.
They say that householder pleasure is realizing sensory pleasure, and that renunciant pleasure is realizing the passing away of sensory phenomena (roughly).
I often feel like some of my practice right now is just slowly cataloguing the tensions I walk around with all the time. But in addition to the process of constantly reexamining and saying, 'Oh, this is unskillful, oh, I'm holding this too tightly,' constantly noting all the attachments in one's life, one can also become more sensitive to the small peaces that accumulate over the course of a directed practice; all the subtle and unexpected ways in which we can relax that we might not have noticed.
For the past couple days I have been working with my shoulders, setting them back as they naturally hunch up and forward over the course of any given day or activity. Today I started reminding myself to simply relax them; just actively breathe into the shoulders and relax them as fully as possible.
With this relaxation practice there was a new, subtle sense of peace that arose. It wasn't all-encompassing but it was the feeling of a little bit more space being created in the mind.
It is to me simply to love whatever is true.
Right speech is a matter of freedom; we lie because we feel constrained or forced by societal expectations, our own desires, by fear. It is a universal good, to imagine a life where we felt free, where we felt we never had to prevaricate, to withhold. If we felt that we could always speak completely truthfully, we would. And we can.
If adults were allowed to cuddle in the workplace, nobody would smoke.
I've been walking around all day full of tension and dissatisfaction. I had a salad for lunch which quieted things for a couple minutes, but not permanently. The impulse is to get into bed, or to go have a smoke. But there are no beds at work and I quit smoking. So the only recourse left to me is to go get some junk food from next door—which I've restrained thus far.
The workplace can actually be a great place for practice. In this sense it's just like a monastery—the things that I want to go to in order to satisfy my anxiety and discomfort aren't available. So all I can do is be as aware as possible of the impulses.
In the course of the daily flow of unmoderated experience and the full spectrum of human emotions, in the midst of feeling mildly excited, or sluggish, or hungry, or looking forward to dinner, you might find yourself struck for the smallest indivisible moment by the sudden sensation of just how eternally strange and wondrous it is that there is something here rather than nothing, or by monumentally deep gratitude that there is a box of tissues at hand when you need to blow your nose. When this happens, take note of that sensation as deeply as you can, and be sure to note its every minute expression in the mind and body.
I feel better when I'm feeling bad and noting it than when I'm feeling good and not noting it.
Imagine you're in a cabin in a big ship. It's sturdy and out to sea, and you're looking out your porthole. If you were young, or if you felt unsafe, then the sea might scare you. When it got really whipped up, and churned, you might turn away, or close the shade (if you had one) until the churn was over and the sea was placid again.
But when you grow up, you're no longer afraid of the sea outside your cabin window. You it can't hurt you to look at. So you press your face up against the glass until all you see is sea and sky. And it's beautiful to look at—when it's still, it's beautiful, and when it's churned up into white-crested peaks, turning back on themselves, swirling into infinitesimal detail and dying away, it's beautiful.
Teaching mindfulness often seems almost impossible. Here's the basic pitch: if you maintain a non-judging awareness of the flow of thoughts and emotions, they will arise and path smoothly without getting caught up in thinking and self-view. The problem is that if you present this, as one almost always does, in a therapeutic context—as a remedy for the pain of thoughts and feelings—then you're nearly guaranteed to create conditions where that's exceedingly difficult to put into action.
The moment someone tells you, 'pay non-judging attention to your thoughts and feelings, and they will arise and pass,' you're awfully likely to take up that practice with the expectation/hope/intention that the thoughts and feelings in question are going to pass. You've set up an aversive relationship, where you're doing this practice in order to escape or rid yourself of experiences you don't enjoy.
Transcendence is the fundamental delusion of the mystic, and their only sufficient motivation.
What they call 'mindfulness' is a boring miracle.