practice makes practice

I love puzzles.

All kinds.

Jigsaw, crossword, mazes, lateral-thinking brain teasers. Although, I do find the last ones a tad frustrating since I tend to be too much of a linear, sequential thinker to consider the myriad of potential solutions.  Usually end up thinking “how did I not come up with that answer?” when I finally find it out.

I also love to guess whodunit long before the last clue is dropped in the plot of a suspenseful, crime drama.

This fondness for puzzles extends to when I am dealing with someone who is expressing a level of anger, for example, that seems to be beyond what is called for. I look for subtle clues that the person might be giving off about what other, more authentic emotion, may really existing beneath the rage but is resistant to surface.

Oddly enough, this puzzling interest of mine is not helpful for my mindfulness practice.

Whether I am considering my yoga, meditation or daily mindfulness practice, the hyper-vigilant scanning for the “why’s” and “how’s” is a considerable distraction.  A misdirection of sorts that clashes with a mindful moment.  I want to know…

Why practice at all and is it even practical to do so?

How could my practice lead to a greater resilience in the face of challenges?

Why do I feel the need to document and share my views on my practice?

But at the end of this cycle of my present inhale and exhale, it is clear that this distraction and misdirection is taking me away from that which I seek.  Presence.

Practice is not a puzzle to be solved or a means to a better end.

While there may be beneficial side effects from maintaining a regular mindfulness practice, it becomes just another puzzle when there is one eye on the potential of puzzle mastery.

Practice doesn’t make perfect.

Practice makes practice.

In the face of whatever arises.

That is all.

 

 

 

scattered mind syndrome

When our thoughts, heartstrings and even our body’s cells are tied to balloons of drama, made-up stories, perceived expectations and preferred outcome, we are the mercy of the wind. We are no more grounded than a balloon on a windy day in the hand of a toddler.

In such a state of uncertainty, we react with confusion, anger, tears, indignation or some other storm-filled emotion that swallows our energy.

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Mindfulness is seeing the balloons with their clear labels of “ecstasy”, “fear”, “projection” or “contentment”, “distraction”, “busyness” or “expectation” and accepting that label.
Why do we feel the need to cut the strings to settle a scattered mind?

 
Instead of cutting all ties with discord, can you let go of the death-grip you have on the strings? The strings are the only thing that attach you to your stories.

 
What if you intentionally tied those strings on to the closest tree? What if you sat restfully on the grass and allowed your body and mind to settle. Then allowed your mind to settle on your inhale and your exhale.

 

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Each time you remember a balloon of concern floating above you, notice, don’t judge, realize you are no longer tied to the balloon and go back to watching your breath going in and out.

 
A settled mind is not a mind without distraction. A settled mind notices the distraction then comes back to a settled place.

 
As we enter into a season of restoration, can you practice letting go of the attachment to a scattered mind?

 
Can you practice noticing what you choose to do to keep you scattered and what benefit (even negative) you get from staying scattered, tired and overwhelmed?

 
Can you choose to cultivate stillness?

 

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It takes practice being settled, in mind and body especially when howling winds threaten to uproot you and leave you feeling groundless.

 
Give yourself the gift of a settled mind.   Detach from the ties that bind.