Tag Archives: mindfulness

A Marco View of Moments

“We know very well that the present moment is the only moment when we can get in touch with life. The past is not here anymore; the past no longer contains life. And the future isn’t here yet. The past isn’t something real, the future isn’t real either. Only the present moment is real. So the practice is getting in touch with the present moment, making ourselves available to the present moment, establishing ourselves in the present moment, then we can touch life, and really live our life. And that is done with one step, it is done with one breath, with one cup of tea, one breakfast, it’s done with one sound  of the bell. And all of that brings us back to the present moment so that we can live our life.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Have you ever sat and watched the Moments, marveling at how the transit from Real to Unreal, from future, present to past? As if we have a Marco Lens of Time, and we are looking deeply into the fluidity of moments, coming, being, and going at the exact point in time we realize they are there. Sometimes, when I am waiting for the bus, standing in the queue, I see the moments pass like this, and it brings some peace and joy. To be a part of that fluidity, and to remind myself that everything – both pleasant and unpleasant – too shall pass.

 

 

Goodbye, Sydney

Today I wave goodbye to my solitary lifestyle, and go back to the sunny island I call home.

There are so many memories and stories which have been accumulated here – experiences which I feel immense gratitude for.

The stories which still percolate within will be told in time – the remaining ones from Sydney as well as the recent ones from Melbourne 🙂

They will come, slowly.

For now, let me Breathe, and take in the Beautiful Present Moment of Goodbye.

Labyrinth

“Walking a labyrinth fosters mindfulness, and can provide relaxation, refreshment, and a relief of stress.

Labyrinth are beneficial in hospital settings. Patients can benefit by being helped to overcome anxieties associated with illness and treatment. Families can benefit by sharing in a purposely activity together. Staff can benefit by taking time out to relieve stress, relax and regain their equilibrium. The benefits of walking a labyrinth are now well-recognized internationally. Labyrinths are beginning to play an important role in healthcare…

There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Walk at a pace that feels right for you. While on your way to the centre, allow your mind to quieten. At the centre, enjoy being still and spending some time in reflection. While returning to the entrance, reflect on thoughts or images that may have arisen in earlier parts of the walk.”

 

 

Given that my first impression of a Labyrinth was from this movie, it’s no surprise that I was surprised by this tranquil presentation of a labyrinth. Hope to walk it properly mindfully someday 🙂

The Little Things That Add Up

“Movies are made out of darkness as well as light; it is the surpassingly brief intervals of darkness between each luminous still image that make it possible to assemble the many images into one moving picture. Without that darkness, there would only be a blur. If you could add up all the darkness, you would find the audience in the theatre gazing together in a deep imaginative night. It is the terra Incognita of film, the dark continent on every map. In a similar way, a runner’s every step is a leap, so that for a moment he or she is entirely off the ground. For these brief instants, shadows no longer spill out from their feet… These tiny fragments of levitation add up to something considerable; by their own power they hover above the earth for many minutes…

We fly; we dream in darkness; we devour heaven in notes too small to be measured.”

-“A Field Guide To Getting Lost”

But we could use the power of mindfulness to pick out all the terra Incognita in our being. Then we might be able to get a taste of that elusive heaven. For there is infinity within a moment, and all we have is each moment.

Bricolage

“Bricolage”

Being in the moment… While holding the past… Anticipating the future and what the possibilities might be.

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Although I first came across this word in the clinical context, in a reading advocating the application of such a mindset to relate and understand patients better, I soon realised what a beautiful word this could be to live by in other aspects of life too.

Trust the French to load such meaning, philosophy and concept into a single, simple word.

Bricolage.

On Mist, and Other Thoughts

It’s interesting to be here for a second year, to see how the seasons move in a cycle, yet do not ever repeat themselves.

The mist this year is unlike the mist last year. So is the light, clouds, sky, air, and a multitude of other things. There is familiarity within the foreign, and vice versa.

I want to live in, and love, every moment of it. From the scorching sun to the freezing winds – for this too shall pass, and I only have the present.

Body Scan and Mindfulness

I first heard of the phrase “body scan” a few months ago at a mindfulness session. It’s not unlike yoga practice, where we are taught to be aware of our body and breathing.

Then I recently I read this in a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, and feel much clearer about the approach, nuances and benefits of such a practice.

“To practice mindfulness of the body, you might like to lie down and practice total relaxation. Allow your body to rest, and then be mindful of your forehead. “Breathing in, I am aware of my forehead. Breathing out, I smile to me forehead.” Use the energy of mindfulness to embrace your forehead, your brain, your eyes, your ears, and your nose. Each time you breathe in, become aware of one part of your body, and every time you breathe out, smile to that part of your body. Use the energies of mindfulness and love to embrace each part. Embrace your heart, your lungs, and your stomach. “Breathing in, I am aware of my heart. Breathing out, I embrace my heart.” Practice scanning your body with the light of mindfulness and smiling to each part of your body with compassion and love.  When you finish scanning in this way, you will feel wonderful. It takes only half and hour, and your body will rest deeply during those thirty minutes. Please take good care of your body, allowing it to rest and embracing it with tenderness, compassion, mindfulness and love. 

Learn to look at our body as a river in which every cell is a drop of water. In every moment, cells are born and cells die. Birth and death support each other. To practice mindfulness of the body, follow your breathing and focus your attention on each part of the body, from the hair on your head to the soles of your feet. Breathe mindfully an embrace each part of the body with mindfulness, smiling to it with recognition and love. Identify the form elements in your body: earth, water, air and heat. See the connection of these four elements inside and outside of your body. See the living presence of your ancestors and future generations, as well as the presence of all other beings in the animal, vegetal and mineral realms. Become aware of the positions of your body (standing, sitting, walking, lying down) and it’s movements (bending, stretching, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating, etc.). When we master this practice, we will be able to be aware of our feelings and our perceptions as they arise, and we will be able to practice looking deeply into them.” 

Being aware of our emotions even as they are arising will drastically reduce the chances and frequency of us reacting to them without control. It’s definitely something I would like to work towards and cultivate in my work and life.

The Habit of Smiling

Recently, I tried to get into the habit of smiling.

Why does that need to be made into a habit? Because more often than not, I realize that I wait for happiness or some form of pleasure to come before I smile.

We have been socially conditioned to think that people smile and laugh when they are happy. So we spend our whole lives waiting for something or someone to make us laugh and smile (Eg: “I will be happy once the holidays come”, “I will be happy when I find someone to settle down with”) It does not need to be that way. We have always heard about our happiness need not and should not depend on the external, and I think being able to smile without any external reason can reflect and affect our inner state.

I admit I was a little skeptical about this at first, not to mention self-conscious (and still am, lest people on campus start noticing me as the crazy girl who goes around smiling to herself). I started trying it out when I was doing yoga, in the privacy of my own space and time. Breathe in, breathe out, smile. Not the widest smile I could give, but a gentle half-smile, something that reflected and ignited a sense of peace and tranquility. I didn’t think of anything particularly happy. Just focused on the breath, and half-smiled. The facial muscles felt awkward at first – I could tell they were totally not used to this. They are used to reacting to emotions, and having them work this way without any emotional stimulation must have felt weird to them.

But gradually, as I persevered, I can feel much less of that initial awkwardness. It’s very liberating. I’ve also realized that this much is true: The brain does not differentiate between the smile we give when we are pleased, from the smile we give at a physical level. Because the brain has been conditioned to link the physical act of smiling to the emotion of pleasure, simply working our muscles into a smile can trick the brain into thinking that we are happy.

It’s definitely something worth trying, to make the world a better place. Have you smiled today?