Thursday, 22 February 2018

A Peek at the Art

One morning recently, while meditating, I couldn’t help noticing a lingering sense that everything was fine. No matter what pulled on my attention – pangs of hunger, clouds of drowsiness, nonsensical thoughts, noisy builders next door – I seemed to receive it without resistance.

Even when my mind started troubling itself about its even-mindedness (“surely there must be something to brood on, or wind myself up about…?”), it didn’t fall for its own bait and continued abiding in a quiet, spacious contentment.

After the bell chimed to signal the end of the sit and I opened my eyes, everything continued to have its impeccable place in the scheme of things – from the sounds of the builders’ tools to a shard of sunlight on the wall and right down to that tea stain on the carpet. 

As all meditators know, it is often (usually?) not like that. But the fact that it can be says something of the capacity of mindful awareness to directly precipitate a flexible, receptive, heart-lifting relationship with the world. 

Such experiences have precious little to do with me. It happens when ‘I’ stop getting in the way. 

Mindfulness, like art, reveals life. Meditation is akin to gazing upon a work of art. There is nothing to ‘get’. Awareness is the achievement – if there is achievement at all. 

As meditators, we aim to situate ourselves in life’s unfolding art forms and allow them to express themselves. The same as artists, we affect and are affected by the creative process taking place. And, of course, we forget, get uptight, fall over, get lost, make a mess. Then we remember again. But mostly we forget. Well, at least I do. That’s why I’m writing this – to remind me.

Vintage Roots

As modern conceptualisations of mindfulness evolve and expand and, occasionally, stretch to the point of near meaninglessness ( mindful mus...