Landing Gear: The Quick Medicine of Mindfulness Practice
J’ai demandé à ma guide, Leah Vineberg, de vous introduire à la pleine conscience comme elle seule sait le faire. En toute générosité, elle vous partage ici sa sagesse dans la langue qui maîtrise le mieux les subtilités de son coeur.
Cette introduction à la méditation de la pleine conscience vous est offerte par Leah R Vineberg.
Sensitive to the whole body, I breathe in. Sensitive to the whole body, I breathe out.
This is the landing gear proposed to us by the Buddha, in the Anapanasati Sutta. Never intended to be a religion, just a way to navigate the guaranteed vicissitudes of this life, with some promise of peace and clarity. Sensitive to the whole body, I breathe in. Sensitive to the whole body, I breathe out. I’m here. One breath. With two breaths, I start to feel peace. Three: I begin to be nourished by my own breath. Four breaths: the body settles, I begin to realign. Five breaths: I begin to emanate peace, the actual vibration I am bringing into the world is now peaceful. This is the direct result of being willing to stop, and get still, and get with, myself and what is present, for about a minute. Mindfulness is a basic mental and emotional wellness practice. The more time you put into it, the more you get out of it. But big benefits are available in a single minute of breath and body awareness, positive, life changing benefits.
There are two principle ways of practicing mindfulness: the formal seated practice and out, in our daily lives.
Both are important.
In the first, we learn to gather our attention, and let go, allowing the sitting to work its medicine on us.
In the second, informal practice, we learn, among other things, about cultivating awareness in our interactions with others. We also put our seated practice to the test.
Sitting, I make the promise to stay, for a defined period of time, no matter what arises in my body, heart, or mind. Discomfort, pain, upsetting thoughts, unresolved conflicts, indigestion… I stay. I rest in the experience of breathing. I let things change. Anchored in the breath, I rest in experiencing the on-going, changing, evolving landscape of thought, sensation, emotion, sound, temperature, colour, texture, light.
I learn to steady myself. I let the breath support me. I experience whatever is here. I stay.
That’s on the seat.
In the rest of my life?
Trickier. Conflicts with loved ones arise, driving in traffic raises blood pressure, challenges at work feel insurmountable. How to stay steady? How to let the breath support me, then? When it’s so tempting and typical to lash out or check out, suppress or avoid? And why bother, anyhow? Because basic mental and emotional wellness are about building our capacity to be with what is here, one event at a time, with some degree of clarity and equanimity. When we ‘get with’, whatever is here, we feel better. Even in difficult situations, or while experiencing big emotions. Resting in the breath naturally brings with it ease, compassion, and clarity. It also gives us a moment to remember how we want to be in our exchanges with others. Everything naturally shifts, changes, and dissolves, everything. When we get still, we can see more clearly, we can see beyond our fixed views, we can see beauty, we can see more of what is there. Flying off the handle in reactivity wreaks havoc in our relationships and messes with our biochemistry.
When we firmly decide we want the wellness that steady presence practice brings, we have a path, through whatever life presents. We know where we want to go. We re-orient. We suffer less.
There are moments to draw the reigns in, and moments to let them go slack, in both seated and informal mindfulness practice… in life!
Seated practice asks that we cultivate focused, but relaxed attention. It takes some vigilance to not follow thoughts and storylines, and to bring our awareness back to the body, back to the breath, and to the changing conditions of this moment. Sitting still also asks us to let go, and trust.
To say OK, I’m not going to handle this or that situation right this instant. I am here now just to rest.
Drink from the breath, get totally nourished by steeping in the ground of your own being. Allow things to be just as they are and where they are. Something perfect in getting to see life that way, it’s a direct encounter. No bias. No deception. When we sit down, we see the lens through which we normally view our lives. Part of practice is setting that lens down, too. This comes to bring great relief, with time. Eventually we don’t even want to carry around our well-founded points of view wherever we go. Life is more beautiful when we just look at it straight on, without our projections on top of it. Eventually, we want to open, we want life, just as it is, to touch us, to change us, even. Eventually, we want to feel. Because we learn that feeling feels better than not feeling or trying not to feel.
Getting still, landing within, in silence, in breath, not following well-grooved storylines, is one single, scientifically-proven way to find some clarity and peace. To say nothing, do nothing, know nothing, and just breathe. Rest, and ‘be with’. Hands off the reigns, for a little while. Gaze relaxed. Coming back to rest in our own essence, in the essence of life itself: this moment, this breath, this body, this heart: in this basic place, we are totally nourished and re-vitalized. And the wisdom, creativity and love that are available to us there are abundantly flowing.
In meditation, everything finds its place, a natural order emerges and healthy flow can be re-established.
In the Dhammapada, it says, “The one who keeps anger in check as it arises, as one would a careening chariot, I call a charioteer.” Not only anger. This Life is often a careening chariot, isn’t it? Surfing takes such inner-steadiness. Let’s be great charioteers! Let’s remember where we want to go.
Je dois avouer que Leah a … changé ma vie. Je me souviendrai toujours de la soirée de notre rencontre. J’ai déroulé mon matelas timidement pour m’installer dans un coin de sa classe. J’ai eu l’impression de m’y effondrer. J’étais perdue et cassée en mille miettes. C’est la peur au ventre que j’ai fermé les yeux au son du gong, terrorisée à l’idée de me retrouver seule dans ma tête, seule avec moi… Mais la curiosité était plus forte…
Une pièce à la fois, un souffle à la fois, une parole à la fois, elle m’a ramené à la maison.