Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A Year of Mindfulness: Study Suffering

The Half-Way Point and a Give-Away

Here we are at mindfulness practice #26. We are officially at the half-way mark in our year of mindfulness. Pat yourself on the back for sticking with it this far. In honor of your perseverance, I’m going to have a small give-away.

Sweet.

Leave a comment about today’s post, share your favorite mindfulness practice or an a-ha moment, and you will be entered into a drawing to win one of my Love Soulful Sprites. One winner will be chosen from all comments received. Comments must be posted by midnight EST on Monday, July 2, 2012.

Love Soulful Sprite

A Review

Here are links to some of the most popular posts on mindfulness practices we’ve discussed since January.

Using your non-dominant hand

Leave no trace

Eliminate filler words

Become aware of your posture

Listen

Pause before answering the phone

Waiting

Loving Eyes

Entering new spaces

Rest your hands

Saying Yes

Last Week’s Practice: Endless Desire

How did you do last week increasing your awareness of endless desire? I became quite aware of my desire to eat sweets last week. Chocolate, cookies, ice cream. The desire for these sweets felt like a bad habit. It was like I didn’t even think about it, I just wanted it.

Then I started asking myself why I wanted to pop that cookie in my mouth. And I couldn’t come up with a very good answer. But I hope that just becoming aware will help me tame that desire for sweets.

What desires popped up for you?

This Week’s Practice: Study Suffering

I grimaced when I saw the title of this week’s mindfulness practice. Suffering. Why would I want to study suffering? Isn’t this mindfulness stuff about feeling happy?

In this week’s practice, we are asked to become aware of the phenomenon of suffering. Not just the extreme forms of suffering-death, abuse, war, but the spectrum of suffering, from mild irritation and impatience to rage and overwhelming grief. We are asked to become aware of how we detect suffering in ourselves and in others. Where is it most obvious?

Dr. Bays points out that there is a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is the physical sensation or discomfort. Suffering is the mental and emotional distress that is added to the physical sensations.

By becoming aware of suffering, the mental and emotional distress, we can restrain the mind from running amok, speculating, disaster-mongering, and blaming someone else for our misery. When we stop resisting pain, we slowly begin to stop adding mental and emotional distress to physical discomfort.

As we become aware of the many forms of suffering, we also become aware of its opposite, the simple sources of happiness.

Reflection:
May I feel safe, may I feel content, may I feel strong, may I live with ease.
May you feel safe, may you be content, may you live with ease, may you be strong
.
May we feel safe, may we be content, may we be strong, may we live with ease.

-Lovingkindness (Metta) meditation

Remember the Give-away

Remember to leave a comment in the comment box below and you’ll be entered to win one of my Love Soulful Sprites. All comments must be posted by midnight (EST), Monday, July 2, 2012. One winner will be chosen from all comments received.

Love Soulful Sprite

Love Soulful Sprite on meditation altar

 

NOTE: The Soulful Sprite give-away has ended.


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Monday Reflection-Our Thoughts

All that we are is the result of all that we have thought;
it is founded on our thoughts,
it is made up of our thoughts.
If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought,
happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

-The Dhammapada, verse 2


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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry, you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy…

It has been 20 years since Bobby McFerrin first sang those words. I remember when I first heard the song. It was cute and quaint.

And then I got really tired of it.

I thought, how can anyone take such a positive attitude to life?

A lot can change in 20 years.

In the time since McFerrin first sang those words there have been numerous studies and reports on happiness.

Happiness is a right

Happiness can be taught

Happiness can be mapped

For most of us, happiness is conditional.

If I get that promotion, I’ll be happy.

If I get that new car, I’ll be happy.

If I had a million dollars, I’d be happy.

If I make that sale, I’ll be happy.

If s/he asks me out, I’ll be happy.

In reality, we only have one choice in life: Do I want to be happy or don’t I want to be happy?

That’s it. No ifs, ands, or buts, and no conditions because when we put conditions on our happiness, we are saying that we’d like to be happy, but not if I don’t get that promotion, the new car, the million dollars, or the sale.

Happiness is under our control. And I’m sure most of us would answer “yes” to the question “Do you want to be happy?”

In other words, “Do you want to be happy from this point forward for the rest of your life, regardless of what happens?”

Well, yes…
…as long as the market doesn’t crash
…or my car doesn’t crap out on me
…or

Without condition; any condition you put on your happiness will limit your happiness.

But I don’t have control over those things.

Face it; you can’t control things and keep them the way you want them.

It has taken me several years to finally get that through my head. There are things I can control and things I cannot control. Granted, when things are going well, it is easy to be happy. But when life gets difficult, it isn’t so easy.

Are you willing to break your vow of happiness because certain events took place?

We flew down to Philadelphia last month. On the way to the airport we received word that our flight was delayed. So we decided to take our time and have an early dinner while waiting at the airport. And then our flight was delayed again. Now we were concerned we might be late for the family gathering. This delay routine continued a few more times due to weather conditions. All flights were being held from entering Philly airspace because of summer storms. There was nothing we could do about it. And there was a silver-lining in all of this.

Our flight should have left around 4pm. Another flight to Philly on the same airline was to leave at 5:30pm.

That flight boarded and pushed away from the gate.

And had to sit on the tarmac until given permission to take off.

I couldn’t complain about the delays because we were in the airport…with food and drink…and bathrooms…and air conditioning.

Don’t worry, be happy

Our purpose in life is to enjoy and learn from our experiences. We weren’t put on earth to suffer. And we don’t help anybody by being miserable.

There are two facts in life: we were born and we will die. How we spend our time between those two events is our choice.

There is this little song I wrote
I hope you learn it note for note
Like good little children
Don’t worry, be happy
Listen to what I say
In your life expect some trouble
But when you worry
You make it double
Don’t worry, be happy…
Don’t worry, don’t do it, be happy
Put a smile on your face
Don’t bring everybody down like this
Don’t worry, it will soon pass
Whatever it is
Don’t worry, be happy