Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


Mind over Matter

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Someone recently, said she was going to use mind over matter to deal with some discomfort that she was anticipating to arise during meditation. Insetad, I suggested she engage “mind with matter.”

Mind over matter suggests a clear separation between mind and matter. I really don’t think this separation exists. All “mind” is influenced by matter and the experience of matter is influenced by mind. Mind over matter also suggests effort, strain, perhaps even struggle. “By force of will, I will overcome this unpleasantness.”

It can certainly work. We can use aspects of mind to get through just about any experience. Mindfulness offers a way to engage mind with matter where we don’t mind matter and mind doesn’t matter.

We are always dealing with matter–the experience of our senses, the stuff that we have, and the laws of physics–the material world. Of course, each experiences is filtered through mind, so these are really not separate. More to the point, we have strong opinions about our material experiences–matter matters to us. We like and dislike. These preferences create tension. We try to exclude the things we don’t like and include the things that we like. Since we can’t control everything that happens to us, the pressure to include-exclude makes us vulnerable to anxiety, disappointment, and stress.

Mindfulness helps us to be peaceful in any moment–even a difficult moment. Mindful attention helps us to get to the point where matter doesn’t matter so much–we don’t mind matter.

We are always dealing with mind–thoughts, images, memories, and emotions. Like material, we have strong opinions about what our minds produce. We like and dislike, push and pull, and create the same tensions that can arise with our stuff. Here too, mindfulness can help us to be with whatever is arising without getting stressed out. We don’t have to judge mind. Mind doesn’t have to matter so much. We can just be in all our imperfections.

This discussion of mind and matter reminds me of a conversation between Bart and Homer Simpson.

Bart Simpson: “What is the mind? Is it just a system of impulses or is it something tangible?”

Home Simpson: “Relax. What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind!”

 



  • http://louellabryant.com Ellie

    Thanks for this post, Dr. K. I’m a believer in mindfulness even if I find meditation challenging. I recall you once said that all the matter in the universe could theoretically be squished into an orb the size of a bowling ball. The rest is empty space, or, as Einstein espouses, energy. Both mind and body, therefore, must be energy. Say, for example, you have a tooth pulled and the blood and stitches tell your mind that you should experience pain. So you have pain. Aren’t physical sensations, then, really just a “matter” of mind?

Previous Posts

Giving Thanks 2014: Still a Lot to be Grateful For
There is not now, nor ever, a shortage of tragic, unjust, and violent events occurring around the world. The news media exploits these events and brings them into our brains 24/7 with an unrelenting insistence. Our nervous systems are vulnerable to these kinds of information. They signal danger and

posted 8:56:43am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Buddhist Icon--Thich Nhat Hanh Recovering in Hospital
Beloved Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) has experienced a severe cerebral hemorrhage and remains in critical condition. He recently had his 88th Birthday. I surmise that he is, along with the Dalai, Lama, one of the two most readily recognized Buddhist figures in the world today. Af

posted 6:27:39am Nov. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Mindfulness with a Capital "M"
A recent Telegraph column asked if mindfulness lives up to its hype. The author, Polly Vernon, predicts that "mindfulness" will be the OED's (Oxford English Dictionary) word of the year. That would not surprise me. She goes on to give a favorable if at first skeptical review of the practice. Having

posted 12:19:27pm Nov. 04, 2014 | read full post »

Time to Wake Up: Reading Your Way to Awakening
We have been asleep, collectively and individually and there is a growing call to wake up. The Buddha was the first to suggest this change in consciousness 2500 years ago (and as you know the term buddha means one who has awakened). And now there are three books that have come to my attention with w

posted 11:05:45am Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Citizen of the Cosmos
I recently heard Ann Druyan interviewed on Radio Lab. She spoke of falling in love with Carl Sagan when they were working together on the Voyager mission in the late 70s, where she was in charge of developing the content that would be sent out into space for alien cultures to discover. It was a touc

posted 9:59:05am Oct. 14, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.