Mindfulness

I have been thinking a lot about mindfulness.  As time seems to fly at an every increasing pace, it feels like I am on a train whizzing past each moment, grasping at the rails to slow down… 6 months…. teeth… pulling up to standing… each station flies past me at an unbelievable pace… 9 months… waving bye bye… eating with a spoon… too many milestones to keep up with… it seems that walking must be just around the corner and college just after that.  And my mind is way behind, on the caboose of the train, still sitting in a prenatal yoga class last spring watching the trees blossom and feeling a kick in my belly.

Children are a force.  They show us just how fast life is really moving.  With their ever changing needs, naps, and skills, they challenge the parts of us that want to cling to the past.  Phoenix doesn’t know that he’s changing fast.  All he knows is that he wants to stand, he wants to walk, he wants to explore his surroundings.  He wants to move in ever wider circles away from his mother.  And I watch, at one moment delighting in his new found independence, and at the same moment mourning the baby that he isn’t anymore.  Everyone says the same things…”It goes so fast… cherish every moment.”  But my question is, How?

Mindfulness.

An analogy Eileen shared with us in Mindful Moments class is that our minds are basically like dogs.  She explained how meditation is like trying to teach a dog to sit.  Sit. stay, good girl.  And how our thoughts are like balls being tossed over that poor dog’s nose.  Some thoughts are really enticing, and the dog (mind) wants to get up and chase the ball (thought), and the trainer keeps the dog sitting (meditation).  Sit, stay, good girl.  The mind’s thoughts will usually be in three categories:  Attachment (I want this, I love this, I can’t lose this), Aversion (I hate that, this needs to stop, that person needs to change), or… rarely,  equanimity (moment by moment awareness without ego or pride).  And even as Eileen spoke so beautifully about the mind and it’s yearnings, I felt my mind just trying to even take in what she was saying as the balls of my own thoughts were tossed repeatedly over my head.  Sit, stay, good girl.  Hmmm, I wonder if I should leave this class early and go to a party with my moms group? Oh, crap.  Sit, stay, good girl.  Breathe.  Good… What should I eat for lunch?  Oh, shoot.  Sit, Stay.   Forget it.”  And then I ask Eileen,  “what was that third state, not attachment or aversion, but… what was the other one?”   “Equanimity.”  Oh yeah, that one.  Of course I forgot that one.

Equanimity.   The quality of being calm and even-tempered, composure.

How often are we actually there?  The masters, Eileen said, are simply those that live the most time in equanimity.  I think our children are masters.  I think of Phoenix, in his last blissful months without language, without a running commentary about his own life.  I think of he and his buddy seeing a helicopter for the first time.   How he and his friend looked with terror and excitement at the strange new metal bird.  I think how lucky I am to be living with a tiny zen master in my house.  And I think… slow down. sit. stay… good girl.  Enjoy the teeth, enjoy the milestones, and trust each moment as it comes… and more importantly, as it goes.  The train is not going to slow down, but our minds can.  Stay.  Stay… One tiny moment at a time.   Ride the train on the front car looking forward.

I am so grateful for my child, the living teacher of mindfulness.

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