Mindfulness has potential to bring us to be deeper in touch with life and its many wonders. But our emotions can prevent us from getting in touch with worldly beauty, blocking the flow of goodness into our heart.
We know that morning is beautiful, the mist, the light, the sunrise. We know that being present to a new day’s beginning is very nourishing. But sometimes an emotion or feeling prevents us from enjoying what’s happening here and now. Or we are too distracted by what we hope or fear for our future, to enjoy this moment.
Think about how mindful of the here and now you are when you go on vacation. You see the glorious sunset, feel the balmy breeze, enjoy the view, marvel at the scenery. It is almost as if you have new eyes to see with. Why is this? It’s because we are concentrating on “vacation”. On vacation we purposely stop momentarily in our surroundings, and we look more deeply, which is the purpose of vacation.
Returning home from vacation we disengage our concentration on our surroundings, becoming unmindful of the splendor of our daily surroundings. The purpose of “home”, we tell ourselves, is to work, compete, to get ahead of others. How often have you heard of a visitor to your home town who likes the surroundings and is impressed by what’s available to see and do? Their comment reflects a mindfulness of the present during their visit, while you have engaged your mind in pursuits of the day that take you away from here and now. Unmindful, to you, it’s the same old town… nothing new or exciting ever happens.
The practice of meditation offered by the Buddha has two parts; stopping, and looking deeply.
When the mind becomes still, we see things in greater depth, so we don’t have to practice looking deeply. Stopping and observing deeply are two aspects of the same reality.What we choose to be “important” we concentrate on. When we are concentrated, we have stopped and are looking deeply. We are in the present. This is meditation, mindfulness.