I have been working a lot lately, and not just at home as I usually do. No, instead, I have been involved in a whirlwind of meetings, small ones, large gatherings. The pace has been picking up with not a day in the week not busy, not responding to 'important' emails. All for a very good cause.
And I am also noticing the mind slipping in its careful watch of mind itself. Even my dedicated morning sitting practice no longer suffices to carry me through the day. Today, I woke up with a sense of urgency of needing to really 'wake up'. I realized the importance of not trusting a typical work environment. Chronic busyness, an emphasis on doing, and a permeating culture of mindlessness are all inherent characteristics of the American workplace. All factors of dullness that can overtake anyone's mind.
Of course, the responsibility is on nobody else but myself. In the end, it is up to me to create a portable structure for my mindfulness practice. I need to make room for the triple gems of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha:
I go for refuge to the Buddha (Teacher)
I go for refuge to the Dhamma (the Teaching)
I go for refuge to the Sangha (the Taught)
And I contemplate these words from the Buddhavagga Sutta:
But when, having gone
to the Buddha, Dhamma,
and Sangha for refuge,
you see with right discernment
the four noble truths
the cause of stress,
the transcending of stress,
and the noble eightfold path,
the way to the stilling of stress:
that's the secure refuge,
that, the supreme refuge,
that is the refuge,
having gone to which,
you gain release
from all suffering & stress.
Remembering the path that leads to the cessation of stress and suffering. And that no work outcome is worth forsaking myself.
Concretely, what does this mean on a daily basis?
Here are my intentions:
To continue with early morning sitting practice.
To reflect on one teaching every day.
To make time for connections with one of my communities of practice.
To plan for regular practice pauses throughout the day, either short sittings or walking meditation.
To resist the pull of busyness, reactivity, constant doing, and dullness.
To dwell in awareness, one step removed from usual worldly way.
To connect with breath and body sensations, often.
How do you stay mindful at your place of work?