My own practice and my teaching of mindfulness leans on three essential layers to practice…. finally. It wasn’t always like this. When I first started meditating 25 years ago I struggled to stay interested in a daily practice. To be honest much of the time I was bored and restless. Some teachers say ‘stick with that experience’ and get to know your mind. That is very good advice. But I struggled to make that advice work for me. I thrived when I had contact with three essentials. Having a relationship of some kind to these three elements keeps my meditation practice from slipping into a technical, rote, dry, or mechanical practice. Sometimes I’m still restless, but boredom is rare now.
What are my three layers? First off, let me start by saying I don’t think they are really layered or sequential in any way. They are continuously interacting elements and we can tap into all of them — whether new to meditation or experienced.
First layer: I need to practice basic mindfulness skills that focus my attention to the experiences of the present moment. Much of what we think of as mindfulness is focused on this first level. There is quite a bit to learn and master here … so I’ll post more on that in coming weeks.
Second layer, my heart loves to grow warm and soft. I am easily touched by the beauty and joy of life’s simple and profound moments. The warmth of my morning tea cup, the dappled light of sun on blooms. Kindness. Generosity. And these moments fill my heart’s bank account (so to speak) so I can access a certain tenderness when I need it as I face of life’s more hurtful people and challenges. The movement of my heart just might be the single most satisfying experience I ever have.
And third layer, I practice allowing my rational, planning mind to still and become receptive so that insights and fascination can arise from unknown and uncharted places. Creativity and strong intentional connection to my intuitive experiences are what I seek here. This receptive place fascinates me the most having spent over a decade knowing my dreams and the unpredictable world of the unconscious. And connection to this arises in meditation also. I love this place of healing and insights.
We all have a storehouse of wisdom. You and me both. I’m learning and growing and discovering. A voice in process. A heart unfolding. I love sharing my journey and welcome hearing about yours. May we all find the openness of the sunflower.