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I Am Interested In My Mind

--by Paul Fleischman (Oct 19, 2009)


I am interested in my mind, and in my body. Previous to my having cultivated the habit of sitting, I had thought about myself and had used my body as a tool in the world, to grip a pen or to chop firewood, but I had never systematically, rigorously, observed my body -- what it feels like; not just with a shy, fleeting glance, but moment after moment for hours and days at a time; nor had I committed myself to observe the reciprocal influence of mind and body in states of exhaustion and rest, hunger, pain, relaxation, arousal, lethargy, or concentration. My quest for knowing is not merely objective and scientific. This mind-and-body is the vessel of my life. I want to know it with the same organic immersion that sets a snow goose flying ten thousand miles every winter and spring.

Because the harmony in me is at once so awesome and sweet and overwhelming that I love its taste yet can barely compel myself to glimpse it, I want to sit with the great determination that I need to brush aside the fuzz or distraction, the lint of petty concerns. To sit is to know myself as an unfolding manifestation of the universals of life -- a gripping, unending project. Hopefully one I can use even when I look into death's funnel. For me, this knowing is a great force, and a great pleasure.

I sit because of, for, and with an appreciation of daily life. The great poets sing of the omnipresent ordinary, pregnant with revelation -- but I know how easily and recurrently my own life yields to distraction, irritation, tunnel vision. I do not want to miss my life the way I once missed a plane at a New York airport. It may be ironic that simply to wriggle free of daydreams and worries I need a technique, a practice, a discipline, but I do; and I bow to that irony by doing what I must do to pry my mind off ephemeral worries, to wake to more dawns, to see my child unravel through his eddying transformations.

I sit to open my pores, skin and mind both, to the life that surrounds me, inside and outside, at least more often if not all the time, as it arrives at my doorstep. I sit to exercise the appreciative, receptive, peaceful mode of being filled up by the ordinary and inevitable.

--Paul Fleischman, in "Why I Sit"

 


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On Oct 25, 2009 susan bradley wrote:

Why I Sit…

 

Seeking peace

Of mind

Within my heart

 

In search of connections

With you

Within the world

 

A quest for

Understanding and

Compassion

 

Mindful equanimity

Discovering quietness

Sitting peacefully

 

10/2009 SB

 



On Oct 25, 2009 susan bradley wrote:

  I am interested in my mind.”, this statement conjured up so very many things the days before our weekly gathering and even still today several days following. Then reading the passage from “Why I Sit” by Paul Fleishman, brought to mind many more things about nature, about our human nature, about meditating, about why we as individuals do any number of many things we do and also about taking care of our bodies and our hearts and minds by being present with ourselves as well as with others. As is the usual case, the nature of the Wednesday evening gatherings at the Mehta Family Home, this coming together of mindful, thoughtful and heart felt individuals was as colorful and profound as Mr. Fleishman’s eloquent prose. As the mic rounded the room, people spoke of why they choose to meditate: for clarity, for peace in their hearts and minds, to recharge, to connect with their inner self, to connect with nature, to learn more about themselves and to better  See full.

 

I am interested in my mind.”, this statement conjured up so very many things the days before our weekly gathering and even still today several days following. Then reading the passage from “Why I Sit” by Paul Fleishman, brought to mind many more things about nature, about our human nature, about meditating, about why we as individuals do any number of many things we do and also about taking care of our bodies and our hearts and minds by being present with ourselves as well as with others. As is the usual case, the nature of the Wednesday evening gatherings at the Mehta Family Home, this coming together of mindful, thoughtful and heart felt individuals was as colorful and profound as Mr. Fleishman’s eloquent prose.

As the mic rounded the room, people spoke of why they choose to meditate: for clarity, for peace in their hearts and minds, to recharge, to connect with their inner self, to connect with nature, to learn more about themselves and to better understand themselves and others.

Others spoke about our very natures as individuals and as a species and comparing ourselves to the snow goose that innately knows it must migrate with the change of season. The comparison came with the fact that as humans we have choice. The choice to find quiet within that in practice allows us to be better connected with ourselves and with each other and with the world around us. The choice of inward reflection affording us the internal resources to assess situations with better clarity, to be able to have compassion and understanding of ourselves and others, and to find the joy in our connections and in our everyday.

A common thought this evening was that as humans we are born with this ability to find quiet within and to understand and have compassion and understanding for ourselves and others. Several people shared stories of their children and of themselves as younger people and the how naturally we seemed to do these things but as life becomes more full or we become more involved in living we loose touch with this ability.

For me discovering meditation and recognizing my desire for seeking quiet within , is a gift from Maddie, my oldest daughter. Maddie introduced me to meditation when she was 8 years old (she’s now 14!) as she was enjoying doing this in class with her second grade teacher Mrs. Gillies. Maddie invited me to create a sacred space in our home and to sit with her and meditate. At 8 my daughter was where I desire to be right this minute in my 40‘s! I learn so many things from Maddie that I, as my friends shared this evening, practiced and “knew” when I was a kid. I feel blessed in so many ways, mostly that one of my most favorite people, who I’ve thought I would be teaching about life and living, wonderfully teaches me every day about loving, acceptance, understanding and compassion.

I sit to nurture myself and to recharge this mind and body of mine because I am also interested in this mind of mine.

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On Oct 22, 2009 Somik Raha wrote:

I loved the poetic metaphors in this piece. Two stuck out for me. One was, "(I want to) see my child unravel through his eddying transformations." Who is the "child?" To me, the child is the gift in each one of us. It is what we get to work on our entire life. The parenting metaphor fits well, because we can choose to completely ignore the child and have it go nowhere. Or, we can exercise so much control over it that we completely strangle it. Alternately, we can be enlightened parents, remembering Kahlil Gibran's sage advice, "Children are not of us, they are through us," and accept that our gifts are not us or of us. We can nurture the gifts we come with, and bring them to a point that they blossom and serve others. But to even recognize and develop the maturity to get out of the way of our gifts, we have to sit. The second metaphor that stood out for me was "the same organic immersion that sets a snow goose flying ten thousand miles every win  See full.

I loved the poetic metaphors in this piece. Two stuck out for me. One was, "(I want to) see my child unravel through his eddying transformations." Who is the "child?" To me, the child is the gift in each one of us. It is what we get to work on our entire life. The parenting metaphor fits well, because we can choose to completely ignore the child and have it go nowhere. Or, we can exercise so much control over it that we completely strangle it. Alternately, we can be enlightened parents, remembering Kahlil Gibran's sage advice, "Children are not of us, they are through us," and accept that our gifts are not us or of us. We can nurture the gifts we come with, and bring them to a point that they blossom and serve others. But to even recognize and develop the maturity to get out of the way of our gifts, we have to sit.

The second metaphor that stood out for me was "the same organic immersion that sets a snow goose flying ten thousand miles every winter and spring." What organic immersion sets off the goose on its heroic journey, without even realizing its heroism? I submit that all of us are heroes - we've had this moment of organic immersion, when, after spending 9 months as water creatures, we took a heroic leap out and became land creatures. That is a heroic act! Of course, some people need a little more help than others, but the heroism remains.

The root of heroism is the impulse that is generated from a recognition of truth, and a great desire to honor it and manifest one's true nature. It then follows that to develop heroism, one must sit. :) When this impulse comes forward, one does not have to make any choices - like the snow geese or the baby does not do any cost-benefit analysis. It just is true to its own nature.

Finally, a story on recognizing what is leading to an organic impulse. I was involved in communicating something harsh to a friend in a professional setting. Although what I had to communicate was a consequence of many events, and was truthful, I felt it was not the whole truth. So I sat, and tried to observe my mind. It soon became clear that I had a lot of compassion and good wishes for my friend. Therefore, I had to honor this truth. So, when I wrote my mail, I started with strong wishes for my friend's well-being. Then, I delivered the harsh message that was my duty to deliver. I ended again by wishing for friend's well-being. My friend responded by reciprocating the compassion for me and others, leading to more good wishes being sent around from my other colleagues as well. But, what struck me was the inner peace in my heart, and a firm grounding in my wish for my friend's well-being, and a dedication to carry out my duty at the same time.

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On Oct 21, 2009 Johanna Lueders wrote:

 Beautiful article, thank you so much for the insight and wisdom xx



On Oct 21, 2009 Garima wrote:

The Article is really very reflective and Inspiring. The example of the Goose makes you really wonder in the magificient amazement about how Magical the world arround us and the power within us. It answered a lot of my hungry thoughts on life and why I am living. The Article is an eye opener.



On Oct 20, 2009 Efren Solanas wrote:

For those of us on the spiritual path, this article does a great service: a gentle reminder to return to the simple act of witnessing the astonishing mystery of being that is life.  Thank you for eloquently presenting the invitation that exists for each one of us, moment by moment. Namaste.



On Oct 20, 2009 Ashwini Hunsimarad wrote:

This one was beautiful............ It so nicely leads one to understanding ones body.................And so rightly said that "body being the vessel of life"



On Oct 20, 2009 janice devine-patterson wrote:

Beautiful....powerful...profound...full of much wisdom and truth...creates a yearning to continue slowing down and going within where all the truest and richest treasures always are...begin...within...thank you for this sharing and your beautiful heart...

love and light,

Janice



On Oct 20, 2009 Patty Klauer wrote:

I just came in from hosting a weekly one hour silent meditation in Mill Valley. I do this because I discovered after many years of sitting as a practice and many more years of NOT sitting as a practice (to realize the peace is always and already here - no sitting required to actually know it) Here I am...discovering the joy I experience from sitting. So now I sit because of joy and love. Thank you Nipun for your ongoing commitment! Also, for this particular excerpt because it speaks - no, sings - to my heart, my love of silence and my deep desire to share this mystery of silent recognition with anyone who is ready to receive. Om Shanti