Just found this gem, from Marie Turco, on Twitter:
@mvturco i set out to see. I realize that i see what can be, not necessarily what is. i see color, angles, lines not walls, ceilings and tiles.
I was reminded of a story from Sylvia Boorstein, I read a while ago, in which her teacher asked her to let go of mental noting, and be instead with direct experience, unmediated by words. While noting can be an extremely useful tool towards moment to moment mindfulness, it is not without dangers. I saw for myself, during this morning's meditation:
Sitting, basking in gentle acceptance of now, I feel at one with each breath. Body, relaxed. Love feeling. Liking, not holding on. Sound erupts. Loud, of leaf blower. Gardener is back. Image of gardener outside. Leaf blower stops. Silence. Liking, again not clinging. Grateful for ease with breath, and body. Gentle, rhythmic sound comes in. Of rake. Gardener raking the leaves. Rake against sidewalk. Insight. Layer of thoughts on top of pure sounds. Gardener, leaf blower, rake, not part of now. Rather, results of thinking mind. Another sound, very close. From cleaning lady taking vacuum cleaner out of closet. Associations ensue, of similar times before. With resulting anticipation of future noise, from vacuuming, and possibility of feelings, from hearing vacuum. Thinking, naming mind at work again, making it harder for self to stay present. Surprise from silence. Breathing, that's all. For a while. Then noting familiar pain. Pain. Word itself causes retraction in body, and aversion in heart. Insight. To stay away from naming experience as pain. How about neutral? A thing in my side. Relaxing, breathing into tingling, sharpness, soon turns into tickling, interesting, pleasure, intense, dancing, alive . . . Thing dissolving. Attention back on the breath.
Realizing the difficulty of bare attention, and the power of words, no matter how well intentioned, to get in the way. At same time, thinking is also very much a part of awareness, and insight. Both points, noted . . .