Advertisement

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Stress Reduction Sunday: Mindfulness: The Art of Being in the Present Moment

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak
watchdog-logo.jpg

It’s Stress Reduction Sunday. Read my weekly post in the Connecticut Watchdog, This week’s entry, The Art of Being in the Present Moment:

In my last entry, Mindfulness: An Ancient Remedy for a Modern Problem, I discussed the importance of mindfulness and gave an overview of a mindful approach to life. In this entry, I will discuss how to practice mindfulness.

Advertisement

Some of us are naturally more mindful than others. That is our attention tends to stay in the present rather than generating worry about the future, regret about the past, or complaints about the present. I am NOT one of these people, so I must practice mindfulness.

Read more …

Advertisement

Mindfulness in Sport: The Embodiment of Awakening (Part Three)

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

It’s Sport Saturday. This entry continues an essay on using sport to awaken. Click here to read part one and part two here

Mindfulness and sport-samadhi can also impact how we deal
with exertion and the limits of our body. I have noticed, especially when I am
running uphill, if my mind is engaged in a future-oriented conversation, that I
am more apt to give up and not push through the pain and discomfort of that
exertion. 

Advertisement

This future-oriented story may be mindless chatter, or it can also be
focused on the activity itself. For instance, if I look up the hill and think
to myself, “my god, that’s a long way up, I’ll never be able to stomach that,”
it is very different than staying with the experience of embodiment at that
moment. 

Triathlon.jpg

The running, when it becomes an experience lived in the moment is a
succession of moments. And as intense as they may be, because attention is
focused on now instead of moments from now, the crush of the future is
relieved. Again, an important distinction is to attend to the experience of the
body at the level of description versus the level of analysis. 

Advertisement

At the level of
description there are sensations, and these may be described as intense, warm,
pulsing, constricting, sharp, dull, and so forth. Notice that I did not mention
pain or fatigue. Pain and fatigue are labels applied by the thinking mind after
it has analyzed the sensations. 

By identifying with the label we are moved away
from the experience. I find that whenever I do this – think about how painful
the running is or how much pressure I feel in my chest — I am apt to stop
running and walk the hill. However, I get a lot more out of myself by staying
in the moment of now and feeling the sensations rather than thinking about
them. 

Advertisement

This is not the same as brute gutting through the experience of what
might be called pain. We need to listen to our bodies and to extract any vital
information out of the sensations and perceptions we are having. We should know
the difference between sensations that can be pushed through and those that
should be respected. 

The experience of attending to sensations at the level of
description can become a useful analog for all of life with similar benefits
from staying with our experiences as experiences in the present moment. 

For
many of us though, this mindfulness experience comes off with the running
shoes. No transition occurs and a split between our sport life and the rest of
our life can emerge. Daily meditation practice can help to eliminate that
transition and to facilitate moving between the meditative experiences of sport
and the activities of your day, including all the activities we do such as
eating, washing dishes, driving, loving, and working.

Advertisement

Site/Sight :: The Mindful Art of Ellen Kozak

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

14.jpg

Over Labor Day Weekend I visited the gallery opening for my cousin, the artist Ellen Kozak at  Argazzi Art in Lakeville Connecticut
Ellen’s work Site/Sight is a reflection on the impermanence of nature from the perspective of the surface of water. She lives part of year along the bank of the Hudson River and goes to the river for her inspiration. Her work is a meditation on the changing nature of reality.
Here is an excerpt her artist statement:
I work from observation sometimes finishing paintings in one session but more often continuing to work on a painting for days or months. i am interested in looking at things, at change at the passage of time through the mediating lens of reflective surfaces. 
The Buddha loved river metaphors comparing the self to a river. It has some kind of identity and is changing moment-by-moment.  
To sit in the “chapel” of Argazzi Art and contemplate these representations of nature can be a meditation experience. Each piece captures a moment of perception, a moment of being alive and awake to see the beauty that is around us at all times in the form of light reflecting off surfaces.
We, too, are reflections off a surface. We don’t apprehend reality as much as construct through our perceptions. What we take to be “self” is such a reflection. Changing depending on the light and the angle from which it is construed. We too are fleeting representations of color and light. 
If you are local to Lakeville, CT, I encourage you to go see the show, which hangs until 6 October 2010. 
9.jpg

Advertisement

Teachers and Talks: Pema Chodron

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Ani Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun and author whose teachings and writings on meditation have helped make Buddhism accessible to a broad Western audience. She currently directs the Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada, the first Tibetan monastery in North America for Western monastics and lay practitioners.

Pema Chodron is the author of many fine books, including Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advise for Difficult Times, and Uncomfortable With Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Fearlessness and Compassion, the book that inspired the title of my book, Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness. 

Watch her interview with Bill Moyers on his series Faith and Reason:

Advertisement

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/faithandreason/portraits_chodron.htm

Previous Posts

I Want my WiFi Now!
A recent adventure I had illustrates the limitations of the technology in certain places and how easily our expectations can give rise to a world of frustration. On Thursday March 12, I listened with great interest to Fresh Air that featured writer Fenton Johnson and his article in the April issu

posted 9:10:31am Mar. 24, 2015 | read full post »

The Train's Eye View of the Landscape
I am sitting on a train riding from Essex Junction, Vermont to Hartford Connecticut where I will be teaching my

posted 5:42:18pm Mar. 14, 2015 | read full post »

Mindfulness in Corporate America
Two recent articles in two major publications--The New York Times and The Atlantic--focused on the rising trend of mindfulness in corporate settings and both articles feature the recently published book by David Gelles: Mindful Work: How Meditation is Changing Business from the Inside Out. Mindfu

posted 11:28:56am Mar. 11, 2015 | read full post »

The Other Kind of PDF: Public Displays of Frustration
The world's number one ranked golfer, Rory McIlroy made a spectacle of himself yesterday during the World Golf Championship tournament at Doral. After pulling his long approach shot into the water on hole number 8, he then launched his 3-iron into the lake. It sailed 60 or 70 yards before splashing

posted 1:29:31pm Mar. 07, 2015 | read full post »

Mindful in Relationship: The Biggest Spiritual Challenge We Face
Our closest relationships are often the most challenging places to be mindful. We may be prone to feelings of unworthiness, superiority, and fear as well as a host of other feelings that push us around. When we can bring equanimity to our relationships we are progressing along the path. When we c

posted 7:56:20pm Mar. 02, 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.