There is a Buddhist Sutta that I suggest all who are interested in Mindfulness or Meditation practice should read called the Satipatthana Sutta. You can even find it on the internet for free at accesstoinsight.org. I suggest bringing your practice back to the basics is a great place to start. Sometimes we, I say we because I struggle with this too, I often get stuck in the noise of the world.
What do I mean by this? I have spent my whole life fighting this part of my brain that becomes obsessed with things, ideas, behaviors, sometimes people. So of course when I first started studying Mindfulness, Yoga, Buddhism, and spirituality this became an obsession too. I felt like if I was going to do it I wanted to do it right. To put it bluntly I became so obsessed that I was totally missing the whole point. After years of being angry, drinking large amounts of alcohol, and living a survival based lifestyle learning Mindfulness seemed very confusing. I switched my behaviors but I didn’t yet know how to switch my mind.
On the outside looking in I may of looked great, I was sober, practicing meditation, yoga, and started going to the temple. I was still very much living in a survival state of mind however with my mind constantly swinging from one obsession to the next, one thought to the next, one experience to the next without actually sitting and being present with any of them. This is why I say so much noise.
In the world we live in there is so much information out there feeding our minds, and without contemplation we may believe every teacher we hear, or every book we read, but this is harmful. We forget to just keep it simple. In a world full of “quick fixes” where “Mindfulness” has become a buzz word is anyone really learning how to be “Mindful”? Am I really learning how to be “Mindful”?
The practice is simple and the path is clear, “just be present with all sense experiences.” This is the practice at the heart of both Buddhist and Yogic teaching. However why do we struggle and make it so difficult? Why do we think we need a certain type of incense to be present, or a special oil, or a precious stone.? Now do not get me wrong, I love my incense, oils, and crystals. I have however have gotten lost because I became obsessed with which one will “save me.” Why am I still looking for things outside of what already exists inside me?
This is a question I must admit I do not have the answer for yet, but I do know that after 5 years of practice I am starting to see that the answer may be as simple as just existing in the moment with all beings just as it is. In the Sutta I talked about in the beginning of this post you will find some amazing answers, starting with awareness of the body, then the mind, then the truth of what exists in the now.
I can tell you this, my mantra forever will be “Right now, it’s like this.”
May this benefit any beings who need this reminder today.