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Mindful-ness or Mindless-ness

Mindful-ness or Mindless-ness

Read an article in the Guardian about the ‘harmful’ effects of Mindfulness. It cites that teachers are inadequately trained or have little experience in the Mindfulness practice themselves. This was in the context of MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) and mental health. As with everything, when something becomes a ‘must-have’ or the next best thing since sliced bread, expectations increase and, with higher expectations, more are the chances of disappointment. And therein lies the whole rub. Mindfulness is all about watching one’s expectations, hopes and desires and not to make the whole thing into a feature length movie – with oneself playing a starring role! A simple practice of watching the breath is all what Mindfulness is about. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a simple observation of the in-breath and the out-breath. Everything else is in the mind – the expectation of it solving all our problems, us ‘achieving’ the health, wealth and vitality we want, the freedom from the mind and desires and the world and everything else. What we fail to realise is that all of this is rooted in the mind. How clever and subtle the mind gets! In an attempt to just watch the mind, it again creates a whole list of issues, to-dos thereby strengthening its own existence. When Mindfulness is all about allowing the mind to be, allowing it to function when it needs to and allowing it to rest when it is not needed. As Eckhart Tolle has said: “Let me ask you this: can you be free of your mind whenever you want to? Have you found the ‘off’ button?” The Osho Vipassana weekends run at Fairfield House are therefore combined with Osho’s active meditations to counterbalance the silent sittings. This is to help with releasing restlessness of the body and the mind to enable silent sittings. Based on Osho’s active meditations using catharsis and active techniques enable us to sit for longer periods. They allow the body and the mind to express their restlessness and all their chaotic activity so when it is time for the mind to be turned off, the ‘off’ button can be found! “Remember one thing: meditation means awareness. Whatsoever you do with awareness is meditation. Action is not the question, but the quality that you bring to your action. Walking can be a meditation if you walk alertly. Sitting can be a meditation if you sit alertly. Listening to the birds can be a meditation if you listen with awareness. Just listening to the inner noise of your mind can be a meditation if you remain alert and watchful. The whole point is: one should not move in sleep. Then whatsoever you do is meditation.”...

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There Is No Tomorrow

There Is No Tomorrow

Who needs a philosophy of life when there is life itself?
Osho talks about how this moment is all we have.

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My Whole Life is Full of Jokes

My Whole Life is Full of Jokes

“Gautam Buddha said as his last statement: ‘Be a light unto yourself’. The day I leave the body please remind me, so that I can make my last statement: ‘Be a joke unto yourself’. That is far more joyful than being a light unto yourself. What are you going to do with a light? Light your cigars, or burn people’s houses?
But being a joke unto yourself, you will be a bliss for everyone…”

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Nothing Special

Nothing Special

“Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness, we know what to do and what not to do to help.”  Thich Nhat Hanh   I am back home after a 7-day mindfulness silent retreat at Gaia House,  my first long retreat after my daughter was born. It was special in the way that I did not have any expectations about what it would feel like after the retreat, how serene or spontaneous or relaxed I would be. I had booked it to be in silence, have Vipassana sittings and walks, and let myself follow the Gaia House bells – to tell me when to go to bed, when to eat, when to go to the meditation hall. I longed to let go of my deciding mode and relax into a simple life, albeit only for seven days. So, these were seven days of eating simple food, drinking herb teas, washing my cup afterwards, going to bed early, waking up early, working an hour a day weeding the vegetable garden, crunching wind fallen apples and pears every day, not using Internet at all, not writing and not reading. These were seven days of sitting and walking meditation, listening to Buddha’s wise words in the evenings and falling soundly asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow. There were difficult moments, of course – a meditation retreat is really a boot camp for the mind. But going through these difficulties felt right and worthwhile, as if I was opening a wound to let it heal quicker. So, the first few days I was trying to watch my mind bring up all the negativity it was capable of, wondering whether sitting was really for me and why I was doing this. I was trying to find something positive in my life and could not find it, that’s how bad it was! In these moments my anchor was my breath again and again and again, a thousand times. Slowly-slowly, by the third day, the clouds started to lift and I felt a silence inside me – so familiar, always here, but my mind being cluttered with so much noise, I could not hear it … And then, on the forth day, I was told that my mum had been rushed to the hospital. I left the retreat and drove to the hospital to be close to my mum, to hold her hand, to reassure her that all will be OK. Once there, I felt utterly helpless. I could feel my mother’s thoughts spiralling out of control and her blood pressure rising,...

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With Meditation Your Intelligence Will Be Growing

Do those cells needed for a lively and growing intelligence have only a limited lifespan, so that there is a point beyond which one either becomes senile or stagnates? Or, given the necessary stimulus, is it possible to continue to grow right up to the moment of one’s death?

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