Monday, November 30, 2009

Report on Mindfulness Vow

A week ago, I made the vow of day long mindfulness, spelling out my intention to be mindful, not just during formal sitting or walking meditation, but also throughout the days. A lofty goal, I realize, and one that I have been carrying around with me ever since. From intention, to actualization, the expanse is wide, eighteen hours, or 64,800 seconds to be exact. That's a lot of moments to pay attention to!

For now, I have focused on the low hanging fruits, those obvious moments that beg for mindfulness. Moments of waiting, at traffic lights, at the doctor's office, in line at the grocery store, . . . Moments at work, taking a break from the computer, or from reading a report, . . . Intimate moments, in bed, waiting to fall asleep, or waking up, in the bathroom, taking care of body, washing, brushing, showering, shaving, moisturizing . . . Moments of boredom, doing chores around the house, peeling vegetables, washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning, . . . Moments of endurance, swimming, running, walking, . . . Moments of indulgence, eating, listening to music, getting a massage, petting dog, . . . So many ripe opportunities each day.

Thinking of Sharon Salzberg's story, as told by Joseph Goldstein, in Voices of Insight:
Sharon came in for an interview (with teacher Sayadaw U Pandita), with a prepared report of her meditative experience, which was getting more silent and still. She bowed and began reporting. U Pandita interrupted her, "What did you notice when you brushed your teeth?" She hadn't noticed; she had nothing to say. He didn't want to hear anything else, so he rang the bell and she left. The next day, she came in, prepared to report what she had experienced when brushing her teeth. Sayadaw then asked her, "What did you experience when you put your shoes on?" She hadn't noticed. He didn't want to hear anything else, so she left. That was the end of the interview. This went on for weeks. Every day she would come in, and he would ask her about something else, until she was paying attention to everything she was doing. One thing was not more important than another.
I love that story.


  1. Thank you Agata. Yes, I find story very inspiring. I also realize need to be gentle with ourselves as we engage on this path of sustained mindfulness. To be relaxed and attentive, that's a fine balance . . .