Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts and knowing you are not your thoughts. You are your breath, you are this moment, you are a separate ego-identity connected to the collective energies that are connected to oneness…
Collective energies coalesce in many ways, becoming more individuated beings like like Russian dolls inside of Russian dolls…the largest doll is Oneness, Source, God, Goddess, call this Force what you will.
You can turn Oneness into a human like being to help you feel close with it, you can feel Oneness as nature if you tend toward atheism. You can see Oneness as many gods and goddesses if you are earth based in the way you feel connected. Doesn’t matter, so long as you feel the connection to Oneness.
The intellectual word for Oneness is the transpersonal. Beyond self. Bigger than self.
The next Russian doll inside of Oneness could be a group soul, a star system, a galactic system of some sort. Doesn’t matter. Just a big fat system we are all connected with all of the time.
Keep going….Russian doll inside Russian doll and eventually you reach the bloodline. The collective dragon that is your ancestry. There is also the collective being that is the human race. There is also the collective being that is Earth.
This is not science and I am not describing these Russian dolls as facts. I am using metaphor to open your imagination and help you feel your connection to the collective nature of life that constantly individuates into specific forms and returns to Oneness in a continual infinity symbol of movement…
We are not separate beings having to do all of the work, shoulder all of the weight, and figure it all out. We can surrender to the larger forces. We can ask our ancestors, spirit guides, Oneness, whatever words work- to take our burden, to control our addictions, to bring support, to offer truth, to bring clarity, etc.
We can ask. Ask and ye shall receive is an infamous line that speaks wisdom. But in our American society we have a belief system that says if you ask for help, if you surrender to the transpersonal, if you admit you are powerless, that means you are weak and being weak is bad. I call bullshit on this belief.
The human ego succumbs to the forces of nature. We are supposed to succumb just like any Earth creature.
You don’t scold a little doggie for not knowing when to stop eating. You don’t expect a lab rat (I know, sad) to not get addicted to the thing being tested on it that is addictive. You don’t expect an abused animal to be strong and accept love like a well taken care of animal. Humans are the same. We are Earth creatures that are constantly being overpowered by nature and nurture. Be it a storm, a chemical reaction, cravings, fear, sickness, hunger, longing, our upbringing, conditioning, and the family system….all of the reactivity and and all of life’s powerful forces are natural.
Mindfulness is watching the thought stories that develop in the mind that tell you that you (or they) are bad, not enough, wrong, need fixing, etc. These thought stories develop based upon what we have been taught and also based upon what karma we bring into this life from previous lives. None of these ideas, beliefs, or feelings define you.
You are not your thoughts and feelings. You are this moment. You are breath. You are not the separate ego-identity that thinks you must shoulder everything, that avoids, distracts, tries to fix, solves, and figures it all out. You are larger than the ego-identity.
There is a line in the latest Star Wars sequel that I love. The Emperor says, “I am all of the Sith,” to Ray as he is trying to destroy her. Ray responds, “And I am all of the Jedi.” Both the force of pure evil and pure light know they are not separate ego identities. Ray and the Emperor know their ego-bodies are avatars of the present moment but that all of who they are is all of the Sith and all of the Jedi.
This reminds me of how I feel astrology to be true. I always say that human beings are the dreams of the stars and planets and astrology is how the stars and planets we are communicate with the dream ego pretending to be human.
Science is awesome for figuring out the world of the five senses that we experience. For prolonging health and life and understanding life. Science has its place in comprehending so many aspects about life. And it is important to remember that the five senses are human faculties. We see with human eyes. Hear with human ears. Feel with human hands. Taste with a human tongue. Know with human thoughts. Speak with a human mouth. Understand with a human brain.
The capacity to comprehend all of reality far exceeds our human faculties and science is limiting as a result just as spirituality is limiting. You would not want to perform surgery based upon spiritual knowledge!
The only way to know more about reality is to feel more. Experience more. Have a connection with more.
Some develop this connection with a spiritual belief that turns into a felt experience of faith. As Victor Hugo wrote, to love another person is to see the face of God. Some people feel the transpersonal connection through love and relationships. I feel my soul beyond this life. I feel my guides. I feel the other side. This does not make me crazy. This is not woo woo. This also does not give me super hero powers or make me better than you. We all have ways to connect with the transpersonal.
No need to glorify or make fun of anyone’s version of connecting with the transpersonal.
The thoughts go to extremes of glorifying or ridiculing because the feelings feel scared, threatened, hurt, betrayed, desiring, needy, on and on. The feelings when not accepted, turn into extreme black and white thoughts. All good. All bad. Religion bad or stupid. Metaphysics woo woo or crap. Atheism reality or cut-off. And this goes with everything.
Mindfulness is observing the feelings and then learning how to accept the thoughts that rise up without believing in them. Eventually you can accept the feelings too. Mindfulness is really about tolerance building. You build tolerance to accept heart break without believing a story that you or they aren’t good enough or that the world is doomed or that love is crap or whatever the story may be.
Tolerance building is for the ego. We have egos because we are creatures. Ego allows us to function as creatures in this world. Mindfulness is ego training. It trains the ego to continually turn toward presence and not the story. Presence is another name for Oneness too.
The whole shebang is constantly about connecting to the transpersonal so you don’t get stuck in finding who you are, who others are, and what life is, in the mind or in the thoughts or in the story. Same same.
Letting go is accepting and accepting is mindfulness. Letting go does not mean you no longer feel the hearth break, anger, sorrow, or whatever difficult feeling you wish to be free of. Letting go means you accept the feeling and build tolerance for it happening inside you without believing the thoughts you are telling yourself about the feeling.
This is why the practice is key. Be it meditation or yoga. Practice builds tolerance for the feeling of discomfort in the body while not giving in to the thoughts that want to stop the practice.
So much of healing is about consistency of the practice to build more tolerance and awareness so you can have the choice to not buy into what the thoughts are selling that stem from painful feelings you are attempting to avoid. Feelings come first and then the thoughts arise which exacerbates the feeling which then intensifies the story and ego’s sense of self lives in this vicious cycle when not mindful and connected to the transpersonal in some way.
Sometimes we have epiphanies in the practice. I had a mindfulness a-ha moment that changed my life forever…
I had only meditated a handful of times so I call it beginner’s luck really. I began mediating the Vipissana way, focusing on my breath and watching my thoughts float by in sentences as clouds because I am very visual person. All of the sudden, I felt a strong feeling. The only way I can describe it is that it was a feeling of my me-ness. I felt this feeling of being me in my breath. At the same time, the thoughts rising up did not feel like me. In that moment, who I am reorganized itself within me. I knew I was my breath and not my thoughts because I experienced it.
After this meditation I no longer needed to meditate as much anymore because I no longer sunk into my thoughts to the point where I felt my self as my thoughts. Don’t get wrong, thoughts still have great power over my ego. I think all the time and I react to my thinking at every turn but at the same time I am witnessing myself doing this.
The witness watches the thinking mind.
This is why yoga is my practice. Because yoga builds my tolerance to have thoughts without reacting to them. My witness is strong since that a-ha moment but my tolerance for the thoughts that rise up needs building because I still desire avoidance and escape from discomfort.
We are all different. You may need to meditate every day for life to not sink who you are into your thoughts but you may have a natural ability to tolerate discomfort and face fear. Every ego struggles to find equanimity in different ways.
I can very easily watch my thoughts, knowing I am not my thoughts, while still reacting to the discomfort in many ways and losing equanimity. I accept this and this is why I practice every day or most days. This is why I also surrender every morning to the transpersonal.
Each morning, I open the directions, call in the names and all of my angels, ancestors, and allies and say a prayer/intention for myself, all of my family, all of my friends, and all of humanity. When I do this I find my anchor, my truth, my strength, and my love in the transpersonal. Ego on her own is way too fearful!
We all have different ego personalities. I like to compare them to litters of puppies because this metaphor helps to understand that our temperament is our temperament.
My ego is the scared runt in the litter. I know this about myself. I know I avoid fear to find comfort. I am the pup hiding behind the couch while some of my brothers and sisters are in the front lines barking and being tough. Other brother and sister pups are just following along, not leading or hiding. And so forth, you get the idea.
I know that yoga is what helps my ego learn to be more brave and equanimous in each moment of scary life. I know that surrendering to the transpersonal every morning gives my ego strength.
I rely on my connection to the transpersonal every day. Every single day. I stress this point because spiritual and mindfulness hygiene is as important on the daily as brushing the teeth. You go one day without brushing your teeth and they get gross. You go one day without connecting to the transpersonal and practicing mindfulness and the ego can fall into the rabbit hole of whatever is your personal hell hole. We all have our personal hell hole and it’s alright. No problem.