I enjoy this Coldplay lyric from 2011’s ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyMhvkC3A84)
and so apparently do they, as it has been used again in the recent ‘Miracles’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7atDQreame4).
Our mind state inside effects everything. We know this from the difference between the days when we get out of the wrong side or the right side of the bed! Experiencing our day as heavenly or as hellish begins with the attitude of mind within.
Whenever I hear this lyric, I am reminded and am grateful that I have a choice because of my many years of Mindfulness, Compassion and Insight practice. A choice (sometimes) between following a habitual pattern that causes me to suffer or refraining from that habit and creating space for something more skilful to unfold.
For example, when I notice some resentful muttering about someone or something I don’t like, which makes me feel contracted and angry, I can notice and allow it, look at the stories I am telling myself, feel the feelings of resentment and perhaps see that the stories aren’t real and let them be. I can remind myself of my intention to be kind and compassionate and this can create space for some equanimity to emerge. I am then released from the resentment, that otherwise might have clouded the whole of my day. If I don’t notice the resentment I am completely under its control.
We have been exploring this at the MSc: Studies in Mindfulness weekend (click here for more information) just gone at Samye Ling, in relation to anger and egocentric desire. With anger we can remind ourselves of our intention to practice gentle friendliness to ourselves and our world and with desire we can remind ourselves of our intention to act compassionately to ourselves and to others. We also look at the stories we tell ourselves about anger and desire and sometimes we can see they are just not real and then we can let them go.
We had a great discussion on the weekend about free will and determinism. From our experience of practice, we can begin to see how little free will we have when we cannot notice the habitual patterns that govern and control us. But we can learn to notice and refrain from our habits – we learn to exercise our free won’t!
In this way, we might gradually transform a hell inside, governed by anger, desire, fear and ignorance into a heaven governed by loving kindness, compassion and clear seeing. But it takes effort!
So if you fancy making the effort, why not join us? Visit the website and see if there is a course you fancy? (click here) or maybe join our membership (link). In the meantime have a look at our free Mindfulness app (Mindfulness Based Living on Google Play store for Android or the App store for IOS).
I look forward to us creating together the conditions that enable us to have a choice. Gradually, we can begin to create more of a heaven inside from which to experience our world!
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