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In order to heal your body, move with clarity, skill, control and confidence, you must be aware of what is taking place right now. What are you thinking? How are you feeling (physically)?
How are you feeling (emotionally)? Is your mind in the here and now or are you lost in thoughts? Are you relaxed?
Here and now
Most people are not present. They are caught up in planning, worrying, anxieties, frustrations, memories, hopes and dreams.
Instead of seeing and hearing what is taking place right in front of them, it is more common for the individual to be 'spacing out' or distracted.
Very few people are brutally honest about who they are and what they want. People play games in order to manipulate other people, keep up appearances or project an 'image'.
The danger with this is that the image is not real. It is a representation of how you want others to see you and treat you. Your image is the product of your insecurities.
It is said that soon after his
enlightenment the Buddha passed a man on the road who was struck by the
Buddha's extraordinary radiance and presence.
The man stopped and asked, "My friend, what are you? Are you a celestial being or a god?"
"No," said the Buddha.
"Well, then, are you some kind of magician or wizard?"
Again the Buddha answered, "No."
"Are you a man?"
"Well, my friend, then what are you?"
The Buddha replied, "I am awake."
In lieu of the truth
Your image impedes self-awareness because it is fabricated from your dreams and ambitions, not from fact.
e.g. if you think that your body looks great, but you have lifted, tense shoulders... then there is a disparity.
If you think that you are a calm person yet you brood, hold resentments and spread malicious gossip... you are in fact far from calm.
Think of the Hans Christian Anderson's story The Emperor's New Clothes?
Zen is not interested in points of view, individual interpretations, thoughts or emotions. Rain is wet. Ice is cold. Day follows night. There is a blunt simplicity to the truth.
Opinions and other impediments
An opinion is a fixed idea about something. It is an unchanging, unyielding point of view. It is about seeing what you want to see. Ask yourself: what constructive, practical purpose does it serve?
Holding a rigid outlook will not help you to embrace change or try new things. Whatever you encounter will immediately be filtered through your existing memories, experiences and viewpoint.
Psychological fixity always translates to emotional and physical patterns of tension. The body and the emotional range are inevitably calcified and inflexible.
Boring people become easily bored. This is an important truth. A curious, inquisitive mind is always capable of discovering interesting insights and information.
But beware not to confuse curiosity with distraction/listlessness and gratification-seeking.
If your aim is to alleviate boredom through attention-seeking or entertainment, this is actually distraction rather than expansiveness.
The genuinely interested mind is not restless. It is cool and calm, observant and awake. To achieve this, you must be present.
Awareness is about seeing what is real, not what you want to see. The truth may be ugly. But it has the virtue of being the truth.
If you cannot see what is right in front of you, how can you improve things? How can you change things? The first step towards self-awareness is to see what is actually taking place right now...
Mindfulness is about being present, being here and now. This may sound quite simple, but most people are distracted by their thoughts. They are not present at all.
The value of being present cannot be over-stated. Your body resides in the immediate. Your existence takes place in the immediate. Although your thoughts may wander near and far, you are here.
Awareness is like living
with a snake in the room;
you watch its every movement,
you are very, very sensitive to the slightest sound it makes.
Page created 8 May 1997
Last updated 24 March 2022