Yesterday, we came to know our world through our senses -- seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, tasting -- and through the knowing faculty of the mind. We did so by eating one raisin mindfully.
As I mentioned in the last blog post and in the first edition of our mindfulness meditation practice, there's another important aspect of this meditation: becoming aware of interconnectedness. It can be helpful to think of mindful awareness as a lens. Sometimes we use it in a very focused way, as we just did with the raisin, using all our senses to observe every detail of our experience. And sometimes we widen the lens of mindfulness so that our awareness expands to take in the bigger picture. We nurture both of these aspects of awareness as we practice.
In this wider, more spacious view, we become aware of the larger context of being, in which we can see how everything is interconnected. Sometimes called, "looking deeply," this aspect of practice helps us become aware of the multitude of causes and conditions that are a very real part of our experience in this very moment. If you would like to experience this more expansive view, I invite you to follow along with a second set of Raisin Meditation instructions.
So, as promised, here is the second mindfulness meditation practice from one of the books we have been working with: Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond, by Nancy Bardacke.
For this practice, you will need the following:
Reflections on the Raisin Meditation
Was this really a special raisin, or was it the quality of attention we brought to the experience, the face that we were really there for the eating of it, that made the taste so vivid?
Eating can be one of life's great joys. How many such moments of sheer delight are you missing every day because you're not really there for a bite of an apple or the taste of a peach? And how many other moments are you not fully experiencing, like the smell of the morning air as you step outside or the delicate shape of the flower in your neighbor's garden that bloomed overnight? And how many joyful moments of your pregnancy (or this moment of social isolation/solitude) are you missing because you are so busy rushing from one thing to the next?
Regardless of the physical discomforts of pregnancy -- the nausea, the backaches, the shortness of breath -- and all the uncertainties and worries you may be carrying about the future (even if you aren't pregnant), if you take a moment to really see, you will find that in this very moment you are a living, breathing miracle, with a new human being growing inside of you! And if you are missing this miracle, how many more such moments will you miss during the process of childbirth and parenting?
Perhaps taking a moment to stop and ask, "Where does the joy of living exist anyway?," you may find that it exists in the sweet taste of an orange, the sudden smile that lights up your baby's face, the warmth of a hug from your partner or a friend, or the sweet smell of your baby's skin. When we practice mindfulness we become more awake and alive in the present moment, for ourselves and for our children.
In many ways, the heart of parenting is about being fully present with our children. One way we can learn how to do this is by learning how to be fully present for and connected to ourselves in our own lives right now.
Bardacke, Nancy. Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond. HarperOne, 2012.
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Enlightenment Is Your Nature: The Fundamental Difference Between Psychology, Therapy, and Meditation
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