Meeting our Mental Malware
Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
and stand firm in that which you are.
--Kabir (15thcentury poet)
This week we’ll spend time listening to the body. The act of listening to our bodies is healthful in and of itself - when we integrate our minds and bodies we feel better than when we live just in our heads. But it’s also an opportunity to meet our “mental malware”. For example, as we move attention systematically through the body, attending to any sensations that arise in each area of the body, when we get to the left knee we may find that there is no discernible sensation there. And then we observe the arrival of a thought “But I am supposed to feel something.” And then “I’m no good at this” and then a whole train of thought around how maybe we are dissociated from our bodies, or maybe we’re too distracted to ever be good at meditation and how it was the same way when we tried to learn how to play piano, and it’s just how we’re hard-wired… And then we may notice ourselves seeking a sensation, grasping for anything that might qualify as a sensation and if still none arises, we may find our mind simulating a sensation just to fill the void that we have imagined exists. And at the same time, maybe the right foot is teeming with sensation, and we get frustrated, wishing away and then pushing away those sensations because we are not supposed to be feeling anything in the right foot when our attention is on our left knee, or maybe we say “Forget it. I’m going to the right foot because there is something interesting over there”. And then you imagine all the other people in the room who look so peaceful doing their body scan meditation and compare the smooth waters of their outer countenance with the rolling waves of your inner experience and an overall sense of “I want this to be different” takes hold.
In our daily lives, these thought processes often are running in the background without us even knowing it, like the malware on our computers, slowing down our processing speeds, taxing our bandwidth and energy. When we practice paying attention to what arises when we pay attention, we can begin to challenge some of the limiting beliefs, reflexive thought patterns, mental and physical habits. We can learn to relax into and open into our experience and create some even-minded and even-hearted space between us and our experience. And in that space will lie wisdom and choice.
We hope that you will join us this week as we pay attention to what arises when we pay attention to the body. You can join us in person at our community sits, or virtually, by listening to the Intro to Body Scan Discussion and the Body Scan Guided Meditation on our website (finally!). None of what is described above may be part of your experience; something completely different is likely to happen - but you won’t know until you pay attention!
Community Sits this Week:
Monday 6:30 PM Ridgefield Library 472 Main Street Ridgefield
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga 45 Grove Street New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM Ferguson Library 1 Public Library Plaza Stamford (made possible by a grant from Bankwell)
Wednesday 12:00 PM New Canaan Library 151 Main Street New Canaan
Wednesday 7:30 PM Grace Episcopal Church 5958A Main Street Trumbull
Check out our newly enhanced Resource Page at the website www.communitymindfulnessproject.org. We’ve got book recommendations, guided meditations, discussions of practices and links to other relevant websites. Let us know what you think!
Upcoming Events: One Day Silent Retreat Saturday September 29th, St. Paul’s on the Green in Norwalk. Here is more information.
CMP survives on donations. All of our weekly sessions are free and open to the public, but donations are essential to our sustainability. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted and donations are tax deductible.
May all beings everywhere without exception gain insight from listening to the body,
Your friends at CMP
Stay up-to-date on all CMP news and happenings by visiting our website CommunityMindfulnessProject.org.