Flow or mindfulness?
Almost any activity can be done mindfully, too – no yoga or meditation necessary.
“We need to engage in activities that are meaningful to us, that we find challenging and for which we feel that we have the skills required to come out as winners.”
Flow is a samadhi, trance state, mindfulness a practice. Neither is impossible or that rare in Buddhism which goes beyond such temporary inducements.
Mindful flow or attentive awareness, in other words an unfolding stillness, equates more with Bodhi or awake mind.
After a pleasant afternoon visit with a friend drinking coffee I was on my way home. I was surrounded by concrete and people speaking unfamiliar Eastern European languages on the train platform, and I was gripped by a dark mood. I was thinking about crimes and unhappy families, and it made me quite unhappy.
So I turned to mindfulness to try and find out what was going on inside, and what I got back was that I was carrying too much of the fear of cruelty, and that my imagination was being gripped by this, and I was projecting a perceived darkness on the dreary surroundings. So I spent the train journey in introspection, attempting to mindfully examine the fear of cruelty. The projecting vanished after a short time.
The thing is, I have a fairly sunny personality, but I’m occasionally prone to seeing the world as quite a dark place. I think it is an illusion perhaps brought on by reading a few too many of the wrong kind of books when I was younger. My introspection did carry some hints of this. These days I notice my personal sensitivity a lot more, I’m much more aware of my inside.
Before I started looking seriously into Buddhism I would never have been aware of these things, but I find I’m quite a sensitive person after all, and I carry impressions from my past which come out in dreams and these kind of moods. Perhaps practicing mindfulness increases one’s inner sensitivity.
Have you found that mindfulness has made you more sensitive?
"The way to liberation first taught by the Buddha was the Middle Path lying between the extremes of indulgence in desire and self-mortification. The mind must be open to all experience without losing its balance and falling into these extremes. This allows you to see things without reacting and grabbing or pushing away.
"When you understand this balance, then the path becomes clear. As you grow in understanding, when things come that are pleasant, you will realize that they won't last, that they're empty, that they offer you no security. Unpleasant things will also present no problem because you will see that they won't last either, that they're equally empty.
"Finally, as you travel further along the path, you will come to see that nothing in the world has any essential value. There's nothing to hold on to. Everything is like an old banana peel or a coconut husk--you have no use for it, no fascination with it. When you see that things in the world are like banana peels that have no great value for you, then you're free to walk in the world without being bothered or hurt in any way. This is the path that brings you to freedom."
Haven't posted in a long time. My practice is going well. Thought I'd drop in and share a Mahayana lojong teaching I recently discovered.
It's all about destroying the 4 Clingings.
The 4 Clingings
So, in meditation, cultivate 4 antidotes that will destroy the 4 clingings, like:
Even if you just practice "I will die today" I think you'll find a lot of attachment falling away. Just analyze the certainty of impermanence and death. Your body is like a candleflame blowing in a strong wind. Your life is as brief as a flash of lightning. Your body is as fragile as a bubble that will burst at any moment from any number of causes. People die from thousands of different ways and at any age and you are no exception. If you have doubts that you will die, think of all the impermanent people and pets in your life who have died. Become certain about impermanence and death.
Then, once this knowing arises in your mind and feelings, lock in on it and focus single-pointedly on "I will die today." This is much more powerful than "I may die today." Try it. Feel what it's like to feel like you're going to die today. Attachment and clinging and suffering will fall away. You'll feel like practicing often because things that used to matter won't matter much to you anymore and also you'll become more certain about impermanence in all things and in all other beings because, if you will die, then so will everyone else, and if your body is impermanent, so are your thoughts, feelings, and other aggregates. This meditation corrects your wrong view, turns it to right view, and you will also see that there is no self running things. You'll know everything is impermanent and not self, because if you aren't permanence and self, then no one and nothing else is.
If you aren't Mahayana, then you can skip the 3rd clinging. Clingings 1, 2, and 4 correspond with the teachings of the elders.