Advertisement

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Independence Day, 4 July, Mindfulness Style

The 4th of July will be celebrated around the United States to mark our independence from the British. And while that event happened on 4 July 1776, 231 years ago, have we achieved all the independence we can?

Like most holidays, I have an issue with this one. Why only celebrate one day per year? Why only be grateful for Veterans one day per year? Why only be thankful for our abundance one day per year? Why, why, why.

And what is independence? What is liberation? Are we really thinking about independence while munching hot dogs at 4th of July picnics? Are we really thinking about liberation watching fireworks. I don’t think so, or if we are we are doing this in a superficial way. I think we are passing over an opportunity to go deeper, to appreciate the opportunities for true liberation that are available right now.

Advertisement

John Philpot Curran said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” He meant to sustain political change we need to be ever mindful to avoid reverting to old ways of being. In other words, you have to pay attention in every moment to remain free.

What if we applied this philosophy to our everyday life? What if we regarded every moment as a potential independence day from old habits of mind that limit us, weigh us down, and make us miserable? What if we sought to wake up right now; right in the middle of being a web surfing, breathing, human being?

Enjoy yourself on the 4th, of course. Like any day, any moment, it contains everything you need for liberation, independence from anguish, misery, an suffering. Mindfulness is the way to access this liberation. Paying attention is the key. Opening to the possibility of change.

Advertisement

So what exactly are we liberating ourselves from? Beliefs mostly about ourselves, others, and the world. These beliefs become filters, templates, models, even metaphors for what is happening now. These beliefs prevent us from experiencing life as it is because they bias perception to fit the old patterns.

To see what is before us now we must look at it as if we have never looked at it before, with a beginner’s mind. To do this, we must first recognize the old beliefs that are distorting our perception of what is right in front of us, coloring that experience with expectation, prediction, and limitation.

We also need to be liberated from mistaken ideas about ourselves and the world around us. First order of business — do something about this pervasive sense of dissatisfaction that colors every moment — even the good ones if we try to hold on to them. Things are always changing and there is no stable me exempt from change. If we can get down with this change, enjoy things as they unfold, recognize that this too shall pass, then we are on our way to independence from conditions that give rise to dissatisfaction.

Advertisement

So, take this moment now. Breathe and give that breath your full attention. Try to forget everything you know about yourself and lose yourself to this moment. What does it look like (take an extra moment to really see what is here)? What does it sound like? Are there smells? Is there a flavor to this moment? How does your body feel? What are the sensations of being alive now? What are you doing? Experiencing the world as it is in this moment. This is mindfulness.

Happy Fourth of July!

 

  • http://louellabryant.com Your Name

    Excellent advice, and well said, Dr. K. I’ll be behind the Lincoln Library table at the festival on the Bristol Green on the 4th selling raffle tickets to a Red Sox game. This community event feels like a huge risk, seeing not only people who have been kind to me but those who have hurt me in the past. It will be a good exercise in focusing on now, on music and food and children dancing and smiling neighbors. I’ll tuck this message into my pocket and pull it out when I need it. Thanks.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jana

    Great :) maybe this could help some to understand it better…I´d say many often see such things like just mindfulness to be as “spiritual” as they think there is no connection with reality, so they don´t even try it. Nice idea

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Colleen

    I agree…every day is a holiday:>)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Patricia

    (deep breath) Thanks. As usual, just what I needed. Keep posting. Your messages are making a difference.

Previous Posts

Mindful America: Are You Part of the Movement?
I have just finished reading Jeff Wilson's Mindful America: The Mutual Transformation of Buddhist Meditation and American Culture. Wilson is an associate professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies at Renison University College ...

posted 6:35:19pm May. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Introvert Overload: Redefining Rest
The other day I had an unusual Thursday. My typical Thursday involves an afternoon of clinical practice. This particular Thursday, in addition to my clinical hours I had a number of extra-curricular activities. It was a concatenation of ...

posted 9:20:24am May. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Alone Time Requires Skill, Courage, and Planning
I read an interesting piece on spending time alone recently by Cassandra Bodzak. In a culture dominated by extrovert values, being alone might ...

posted 9:44:48am May. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Protect and renew your energy as seen on Oprah.com from the Awakened Introvert
I am pleased to share that Oprah.com has published an excerpt from The Awakened Introvert. It's on the "Shift Your Life" section of Oprah that provides interactive ways to make changes in your life. They took an excerpt from the energy ...

posted 2:01:41pm May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

Conversationally-Induced Comas
A recent cartoon in The New Yorker portrays a couple having coffee on a sidewalk cafe. The female member of the couple is lying prostrate in her chair, being attended to by EMTs. One EMT says to the other, "She's in a conversationally induced ...

posted 11:20:58am May. 12, 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.