Sunday, January 29, 2017

The downside of mindfulness

I thought the lack of self-awareness, of more and more shuffling thoughtlessly through life was sloth, laziness.  But despite the tons of evidence, practice and talk about being aware, being awake, even being alert to what is going on in my own mind, I find that mindful living definitely has a downside.

Maybe you have had an experience with your rabbi or priest or pastor or minister, where you were the subject of a bit of close questioning about your motives and your behavior.  "So, Billy, why do you think you took your brother's batting trophy and pitched into the furnace?"  With a little help from Minister Wilkins, I could unmask my feelings and see my jealousy, my spite, my interest in erasing my brother's accomplishment.  

With meditation, I found that I imported Minister Wilkins right into me. Sitting quietly with myself, getting to see and know more of the real me, I can spot my thoughts as they whiz by.  I can see my emotions: confusion, distaste, grumpiness, an urge to go wild and an urge to crawl back under the covers.  What they say is true: yes, I can see a desire to melt my brother's batting trophy down to a big metal splat without acting on the desire.  I can just observe.  But that is the trouble - seeing one wicked, two childish, three stale urges, seeing good ideas mixed with trashy ones day after day can be depressing.  A guy could come to doubt he is the very greatest.  He could even come to believe he is lucky to be what he is, to have what he has, to have accomplished that much.

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