Mental Gardening

28 July 2015

We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.

~Neil deGrasse Tyson



This morning, in the middle of a yoga pose, I found myself stewing over a past interaction, steeping myself in a tea of criticism when I could have been, and wanted to be, immersed in a constructive activity.

I do this a lot.  I clutter my awareness with unproductive thoughts that make me feel small and tight.  I let other people, other times, or the worry of the day run the show in my head.

It’s so darn easy to misuse mental space.  And, to lose track of the fact that mental space is a precious resource–a garden we can let get overrun by weeds or a landscape we can tend with care.

What’s going on inside of our heads affects nearly all of our reality.  Mental space is a place worth curating and cultivating.

One aim of Buddhist meditation is to develop an ability to step back from our thoughts and emotions in order to observe them.  From this witnessing vantage point, we realize that we extend beyond the preoccupations of our brain.  Understanding we are larger than the racetrack of our thoughts presents us a door beyond them.

There are doors every where and every time.  In the midst of sorrow, we might find comfort in the beauty of a bloom.  In the midst of anger, we might step away from a hard-held viewpoint long enough to take a breath and enter a place vaster than that of clashing opinions.  The bees buzz.  The earth, miraculous place that it is, spins around the sun, doing what it does to support an incalculable diversity of life.  In each and every moment.

Our lives spin with the earth, constantly closer to that final moment, when our participation here as we know it will come to an irrevocable end.

In each and every moment leading up to this, there are a host of dimensions, legions of footpaths.

I will continue to forget this, to get snagged in a worry, caught up in a hurry, marshaled by a list of chores.  I cannot control my thoughts, or actions, all the time.  But, again and again and yet again, I have the opportunity to notice where I am and reset my compass toward compassion, creativity, delight.

Our minds are like kaleidoscopes—even if all the bits remain more or less the same, one degree of rotation can alter the picture dramatically.

Be on the lookout today.  Name what you’d like to find more of within yourself, and see if the bits in the kaleidoscope begin to align accordingly.  Start a list even if you don’t write it down.  Catch yourself in a mental rut and root around for a bigger, more expansive thought.  Be an explorer searching your own fertile soil for an opportunity to be truly satisfied.  Tonight, review your list.  Did you uncover an unexpected pleasure?  Did you notice unproductive brooding and turn the earth into creative territory?

This morning in yoga, the kaleidoscope shifted.  I tuned back in.  Connecting to a moment of delight was as simple as drawing in oxygen and feeling it saturate stretching muscle fibers.

I think often finding delight is as easy as this.  Both as easy, and as hard, as the willingness to inhabit the moment that is and to apply our selves to it.




About Lisa Sorensen

I'm an architectural designer with a passion for exploring the stretch beyond, the lean toward what we yearn for.
This entry was posted in Connection, Curiosity, Finding Enough, Mindfulness and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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