Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A Year of Mindfulness: Impatience

This week’s mindfulness practice is indeed timely now that we are in the throes of the holiday season. This week, we are asked to be mindful of impatience.

Impatience is a common experience in our lives. When we sit in traffic, we wait impatiently for it to start moving. When we wait in line at the store, we tell ourselves that we got into the wrong line.

Impatience takes different forms. For some it appears as finger tapping on the table. Or maybe it appears as loud, heavy sighs. For others it may be verbal as a slew of words or phrases are stated under their breath. In myself, I notice I get a little agitated. I may look at my watch or the clock. My stomach sometimes feels knotted.

How does impatience appear for you?

We learn to be impatient. It can come from our parents who may have shown their impatience with us or others. It can come as we sit in class with a teacher that we find boring. People who are impatient may interrupt another person as they speak, finishing that person’s statement because they can’t wait for that person to finish.

Impatience is our mind’s way of moving things into the future. Of trying to make things go faster.

In Buddhism, impatience is one of the three “poisons.” (The other two are clinging and delusion.) Together, the three “poisons” contribute to suffering, making us mentally & physically ill.

Impatience is a form of aversion. It represents our desire to get rid of something. Impatience is also a form of anger. And hidden under anger is fear.

When you feel the pull of impatience, ask yourself “Why am I in a rush to get X over with?” If your answer is to “get onto the next thing,” ask yourself then what? Are you simply rushing through tasks and, perhaps, rushing through life?

Ask if there is fear underlying the impatience. If so, what is that fear? Fear of not having enough time?

This week, become mindful of impatience. Notice the feelings that arise during moments of impatience. When those feelings arise, take a deep breath and bring your awareness to the present moment.

Reflection: Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success. -Brian Adams


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A Year of Mindfulness: Practice Mindfulness When Waiting

Here we are half way through the month of March. Spring is definitely in the air. Last week we were asked to practice loving touch as part of our year of mindfulness. Doesn’t spring time seem like a perfect time to practice loving touch? New growth is pushing its gentle tendrils through the ground and tender buds are ready to burst forth on branches.

Think about how you approach these tender new shoots when you see them. Perhaps you gently cup them in your hands or tenderly touch them with your fingertips. Definitely an act of loving touch.

Were you able to use loving touch throughout your week? I must admit that I did not do very well with this practice. Other than using loving touch in the most common ways, I was not very present when it came to other situations, like putting away the dishes. Once in a while I caught myself. But more often than not presence was not with me last week. That’s okay, however. Mindfulness comes in steps.

This Week’s Practice: When Waiting, Practice Mindfulness

Okay, this could be another tough one. The basic premise of this week’s practice is to take those moments when you are waiting and use them for deep breathing, meditation, prayer, or some other act of mindfulness.  So, instead of occupying your time with a distraction, such as texting, checking email, or getting annoyed, take this time to practice mindfulness.

This practice, like many of those we’ve already discussed, require that we return to the present moment. Waiting is one of those activities that makes many of us uncomfortable. We don’t like to wait. We don’t like to find ourselves in a situation where we could be “more productive.” Waiting implies stillness, slowing, or not moving.  In our hurry-up and rush, rush society, waiting is considered a burden. When we are asked or “forced” to wait, we don’t know what to do with ourselves.

With this practice, the phrase “hurry up and wait” may take on new meaning.

ReflectionThere is no great achievement that is not the result of patient working and waiting. - J.G. Holland

(And I couldn’t resist this one for the giggle: I took a course in speed waiting. Now I can wait an hour in only 10 minutes. -Steven Wright)

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