I love coming across beautiful and simple ways to describe…well…just about anything. I found this in Donna Farhi’s awesome book “The Breathing Book” and wanted to share.
I think it’s really important NOT to repress or ignore those emotions and thoughts we aren’t proud of. It is vital to get to know them intimately as only then will our relationship to them truly change. We are whole…a whole lotta things and if we don’t get intimate with ALL aspects of ourselves, how do we expect to change/find peace/be better people?
“To mind the breath is to make a decision. It may be the most radical decision you have ever made in your life. The second you choose to mind your breath you have decided that this present moment, this very moment, is worthy of your full attention. The instant you do this you have begun to extricate yourself from the hold of the past and the pull of the future. You are living your life as today rather than yesterday or tomorrow.
This awareness we are attempting to cultivate, by necessity, must be choiceless. It means that we stop deflecting, correcting, and manipulating, our perception to suit out conceptual ideas about how we think we should be ad how we think other people should be. It also means we open ourselves to the way our life is rather than how we imagine it should be. Of course this is not the predilection of human beings. We;re sure life should be a certain way and when it inevitable doesn’t turn out as we had carefully planned we feel righteous anger or justifiable disappointment. Choicelessness is an extremely important principle to understand because mindfulness is not about reaching an idealized state of mind. The ultimate goal of mindfulness practice is not to attain a fairy-tale composure of sweetness where negative thoughts cease to exist. If you were to sit for just five minutes and watch the parade of jumbled and negative thoughts that dance on the screen of your mind (judgement, anger, and jealously being likely contenders), you would realize…that such a goal is rather unrealistic. Neither should choicelessness be confused with blind or passive acquiescence to unacceptable or unhealthy situations or behaviors. It does mean that we see things as they are instead of embracing or dismissing our perceptions, holding onto things we like, or rejecting the things we dislike.
The other reason I emphasize the importance of entering mindfulness practcie which choiceless awareness is that the very moement you stive for an ideal ego state which you call “good” you have simultaneously rejected another part of yourself which you call “bad”. This rejected part of you doesn’t just disappear; if unattended it may exist autonomously, unconsciously driving your behavior so that you make the same mistakes over and over gain. It is thus best to place the shadow squarely before you where you can attend to it while doing your mindfulness practice rather than attempting to outrun it as it lurks behind you. You need not attempt to stop your thoughts; you need only to change your relationship to your thoughts, feelings and sensations. In the very act of looking clearly and unflinchingly at your feelings, however unsavory they may seem to you, you can begin to understand their root. If you relinquish embracing or dismissing, you allow life to do what it has always done–to change.”