Last Monday, I wrote about the "Stop, Drop, and Text" program sponsored by the Zen Monastery Peace Center. I've participated for two of the four weeks now and find it very helpful. Three times a day, I actually remember to "wake up" and text my facilitator about what inner process/sensation and emotions are occurring and how I'm attempting to work with them. S/he gives supportive and insightful assistance almost every time. It's like having a pocket guru.
(1) When I was afraid, Pocket Guru said, "Who or what is afraid? Is that you or some piece of conditioning?"
(2) When I felt sick at heart, Pocket Guru suggested, "It would be interesting to practice holding that sick feeling in your loving attention and see what happens."
(3) I requested help dealing with worry, saying that I knew what worry felt like in the body but didn't know how to work with it without getting caught in the worrisome thoughts. Pocket Guru said, "If you become aware of the worry sensations, focus your attention on them and watch the pull on your attention to go into the story that’s attached (what there supposedly is to worry about). If you can keep your attention on the sensations, then ‘worry’ disappears. Alternatively, if you realize you are worrying, look for those sensations. They will be there. Put your attention on the sensations, stay out of the story, etc. As you do this, you’ll become more and more aware of the choice you have about worrying."
I'm interested in a common theme in most of PG's advice: we have the ability to make a choice about where we direct our attention. This sounds obvious, but it isn't when you're caught in an anxious/sad/irritating story, tangled up in thought and strong emotion. "Who or what is afraid?" I can look and then choose where I want to put my focus. "Practice holding that sick feeling in your loving attention and see what happens." That's a choice to come out of a nauseating tale of doom and blame and hold oneself in compassion and understanding instead.
I was especially intrigued by the third example above. I know we're supposed to find where the sensations that accompany a thought are located in the body, but I didn't know what to do beyond that without getting dragged back into the story that worry was telling. Being encouraged to "watch the pull on your attention to go into the story" was the little nudge I needed to flip from studying content to examining process. Previously, I hadn't been able to make that figure-to-ground shift.
What sensation are you noticing right now? Is there a story associated with it? What happens when you watch the story pull on your attention?
for Mindful Monday
© July 28, 2014, post: Donna Pierce
#mindful #monday #findingGod