Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I have been reading "Looking at Mindfulness" by Christophe Andre who presents a picture with each section and then uses it to address various assets of mindfulness and ideas for building a practice of mindfulness into your life.  I like the use of words and images together and his writing is very clear. These work very well as daily meditations as there is a lot to think about in each small section. 

I have been thinking for some weeks about his essay "Making Space for your feelings" about the need to observe your feelings rather than prevent them from your consciousness and pretending that they don't exist.  This spoke deeply to me.  I want to have life clear from the churning of emotions and to be able to respond with logic. Logic makes me feel safe.  Emotions are dangerous and turbulent.  It makes me mad at myself when I fail at the calmness of logic.

Andre talks about just being present with the feeling and seeing where we are.  "Our emotions, however unpleasant, are not "weeds" in out mind.  They are part of our mental ecology.  Accepting them is possible and viable only if we are aware of them and their powerful or subtle mechanisms of influence.  Having feelings is natural for us.  We need to act on their influence rather than their presence.  And the goal of what psychologists call "emotional regulation: is not emptiness, calm or coolness - at least not straightaway, or not directly.  The goals are awareness and clarity."

The weed metaphor is doubly powerful in the indigenous context where those viewed as weeds can be important medicines.  My feelings and reactions are there in the landscape.  I can ignore them, but it does not make them go away.  He goes on "We can't leave a place unless we have admitted to ourselves that we have reached it, and we can't free ourselves from suffering that we have never allowed ourselves to acknowledge."  I feel that there are lessons here that will take a long time to work through.

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