Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Mind is an ally – really?

July 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured Posts, Observe

smiley meditating

On the long flight from Toronto to Trinidad, en route to Guyana, I read “The Mind is an Ally” by Sakyong Mipham, in preparation for my “Meditation and Writing” summer intensive this week.

So many insights about mindfulness by this brilliant and generous man. I completed it with renewed resolve to meditate every day, no matter how busy I am. That’s the first step – sit mindfully and watch your breath, even if only for a moment. Every. day.

How interesting then as I reflect on my absolute lack of mindfulness on the flight from Trinidad to Guyana. I was in a snit as I found myself seated in an emergency exit row. UGGHHH. I like to have my bag at my feet so that I can access my reading material easily. When seated at an emergency exit you have to place all belongings in the overhead bin. So I asked for my seat to be changed – flight full I was told. By the time I organized myself to store my bags (slowly of course to show my disgust – to whom?), the bins were full, so they were placed somewhere in First Class (which really bugged me – why not just put ME in First Class?).

I huffed and puffed and made up my face as the airline stewardess was explaining what I would be required to do in an emergency. So “huffed and puffed” was I that she asked at one point if I understood English! Then to make matters worse, just prior to take off she returned to tell me that the neck pillow in my lap would have to be placed in the overhead bin. AAARGGHHH! Now I was really all caught up in anger and general frustation. So as retribution, when they came around offering refreshments, I gave a dirty look and waved them away dismissively.

Oh Marguerite …. What was that all about? Did I really think that my response mattered? Was it really worth anything for me to behave in this way? Where was the ease, grace and joy with which I try to live my life? Lost in unmindfulness. My mind and “I” were not allies during this experience. Indeed, by being unmindful, I separated myself from my Self, and got wrapped up in some “other” place, which was very uncomfortable.

I have replayed the scene as if I were the star in a movie. Quite a comedy. But that movie is over now. And so I laugh now and release the experience. Back to mindfulness, one breath at a time. My mind is an ally, but only if I choose to be mindful.


6 Responses to “The Mind is an ally – really?”
  1. Carol says:

    Ah yes! I guess the lesson wouldn’t be quite so memorable if we didn’t make a fool of ourselves; but Lawd I’d love to try it once in a while. At least we can laugh about – that’s growth indeed!

  2. Carol says:

    Ah yes! Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could get the lesson without making a fool of ourselves? I guess it wouldn’t be nearly as memorable, (but I’d sure like to try…)

  3. Marguerite Orane says:

    So true Carol. Lifelong practice – observing ourselves. If we only stopped to look mindfully at ourselves we would save ourselves and others a lot of pain.



  4. Nigel says:

    Excellent post. How wonderful it would be if we could press pause and replay. Stop, like Tiger in full swing, and reload. “Me in First Class” inspired.

  5. Marguerite Orane says:

    Oh yes Nigel. If only …. and yes we certainly can, by training the mind to be present and observe at the very moment. We might still have to replay, but the time between would be shortened significantly. On my next trip (soon), I plan to do much better, no matter what happens.

    Love always



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