Advertisement

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Metaphor Monday :: Proust, Thoreau, Pascal, James, and Sherlock Holmes on Mindfulness

BS07060.JPGProust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”


I enjoyed watching the recent movie version of “Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law as Dr. Watson. Homes is intelligent, to be sure, yet his greatest asset is his keen sense of perception. His senses are presented as hyper-keen, he is inundated with the sounds, sights, and smells of others. He solves the case by paying attention to small details such as a smudge of chalk, a splash of ink, faint aromas. in other words, he is being mindful of his surroundings. And by doing so, he fulfills Proust’s admonition.

Proust also points to the futility of the “geographic cure.” New landscapes rarely work because we bring our old mind (and eyes) with us. After the sheen of newness wears off, we are back to old habit patterns of mind in the new place. 

Advertisement

In Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness, metaphor 106,”The Clothes Don’t Make the Man,” turns to Thoreau’s quote, “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”

We can transform our experience right now without requiring anything from outside of ourselves. We just have to open our eyes and see what is right before us. We don’t need any tricks, gadgets, or conditions. Just pay attention! 

The French philosopher and mathematician, Pascal, suggested our greatest downfall was our inability to sit in a quiet room alone (doing mindfulness meditation, of course!)

Of course, to really pay attention we must be free of the encumbering influence of imagination. We must relinquish our preoccupation with anticipating the future and dragging around the past in memory. Then we can be open to what is happening to now without preconception, bias, and anxiety.

Finally, William James cautioned that our intellectual life is comprised almost wholly in substituting a conceptual order for the perceptual order in which our experience originally lives. The real action is not in thinking about our experience but in experiencing our experience. 

Thanks to these old dead philosophers (real and fictional) for their wisdom!


  • Colleen

    “Only as high as I reach can I grow,
    Only as far as I seek can I go,
    Only as deep as I look can I see,
    Only as much as I dream can I be…”
    (Karen Ravin)
    When our energy is pre-occupied with mind chatter, anticipating the future or dragging around the past, we cannot reach, seek, look or dream very far, because we are stuck. Why do that to ourselves?
    If our vehicle gets stuck in the mud, is it wise to keep spinning the wheels? Or do we seek another way to move the vehicle out of the mud?
    Spinning the wheels of mind chatter is a choice, which we can move out of in order to have a more interesting earth school experience:>)

Previous Posts

Handling Rejection
I was recently interviewed by Brianna Steinhilber of EverUp for a piece on dealing with rejection. You can read her very thoughtful story ...

posted 6:03:05pm Feb. 09, 2016 | read full post »

Accessibility and the Precious
I had an interesting dream image last night. I was observing a fantastic display of the aurora borealis--Northern lights (or it might have ...

posted 9:14:31am Jan. 31, 2016 | read full post »

2016 Well Underway: Resolutions, Intentions, and Projects
We are well into 2016 and I've been taking something of a hiatus from social media and this blog. I've been reflecting a lot on my life and resolutions, intentions, and projects for 2016 and beyond. I'm not a big fan of resolutions. Like ...

posted 2:33:29pm Jan. 24, 2016 | read full post »

2015: The Year in Review
Greetings everyone! It's been a busy 2015 and I'd like to share with you some of the highlights and give you links to the some of the contents I produced over this year. There is lot's more to come in 2016 and I appreciate everyone's support. I ...

posted 7:53:24am Dec. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Bodhi Day 2015
In honor of Bodhi Day, I wrote a reflection on the Seven Factors of Awakening, which are based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. You can read about these on the main Beliefnet site. I hope this contemplation on awakening helps to move you ...

posted 9:41:04am Dec. 09, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.