Mindfulness is a fancy word for paying attention which we should all do. To pay attention while you listen to someone, to eat, talk, walk, and breath allows you to make more out of every day moments in life. Not only that but it can really help you to manage difficulties in your life, helping you to put things in perspective.
We all have the opportunity to let go of the monkey mind, our ego. We can all live in our body and learn to be fully present. You see, our egos have been dictating our lives for quite some time. The ego is often reacting out of fear which means we don’t rule life with our hearts. Life is full of infinite possibilities and yet, we hold ourselves back without questioning the intention of our ego.
The Scary Path of Mindfulness
Most things in life come with a risk of sorts. The beginning of mindfulness practice will cause the inner dialogue to get stirred up. It doesn’t want to be quiet. Emotions make themselves known. Deep parts of us that have held onto past hurts can surface. It feels like we are going through it all over again. There is tension in the heart, belly and throat. It may feel like too much and so we repress the feelings once again instead of walking straight through the pain with an open heart. This can lead to depression and anxiety if we don’t truly let go. There’s no reason to hold on and through enough practice, we realize there is nowhere to go but through it.
How Buddha Dealt with Mara
As Buddha had to go through phases of enlightenment, he faced the challenge of Mara. When applied to our own lives, Mara is the ego. Mara did all it could to distract Buddha from his path. He caused him discomfort but Buddha accepted this feeling and pursued his path. Eventually, Buddha overcame Mara through compassion and successfully became enlightened. Buddha would invite Mara to tea from time to time. This is a lesson in not shying away from any part of our experience. Whatever disturbances we feel are a part of us and its okay. Resistance only causes there to be more of what we don’t want.
Coping with Emotions that Arise
Sitting in silence, we watch objects go through the mind like clouds moving in the sky. Some of these objects can be disturbing. Past emotions can conjure up from the object rolling through our mind. The trick is to not attach ourselves emotionally to the object. See it, accept it, and let it pass. Some of the objects will be harder to let go of than others. They may prevent us from moving on with our lives in the direction we want. When these objects occur, there are some ways to manage it so it doesn’t take over us. One of the powerful methods is to embrace the disturbance with wings of acceptance and compassion.
The Wings of Acceptance
A negative headspace or a lack of mindfulness doesn’t allow us to really cope with what’s happening in the moment. Our view becomes contorted and the heart narrows. We can train ourselves to lean into the feeling however. Instead of letting the ego control everything and try to protect us from perceived danger, we can courageous lean into pain. We can let go of stories that keep us in longing or holding onto pain.
To effectively do this, we have to see clearly. We have to accept the feelings and be aware of all the senses being shaken up in us. We don’t shy away. We walk through all the discomfort and accept the feelings that arise. If we become scared, mindfulness allows us to witness the racing mind and experience the tension in the body. We just sit with it. We don’t run.
The Wings of Compassion
To aid in acceptance, we can use compassion. It is the gentle weapon that allows us to cope with chaos. Those uncomfortable feelings and our biggest fears need to have a lot of love wrapped around them in order to not become overwhelming. When we can master compassion, we can sit with our own fear and grief. We can embrace it with love in the same way a mother embraces her crying newborn.
We don’t judge or indulge in our desires, we merely honor what is happening right now with all the love and compassion we have. This is how we become our own friend and how we fall in love with ourselves. We find home within ourselves and it’s a safe place.
Mindfulness can heal the deepest wounds and has healed people mentally and physically for centuries. We can achieve peace and the feelings of love in our life by paying attention to our life’s ebbs and flows. The more we are mindful, the more we can manage the things that come up in us. We become more emotionally courageous and calm through hard moments. It will always be a work in progress because our own version of Mara is diligent. The beautiful part of mindfulness is that once we walk through pain of a past experience, we don’t have to feel that pain in us any longer. It truly is a tool for emotional healing and living a life that is led by our heart’s desires.