More than just mindfulness

Meditation in The Park

September 06, 2018 Season 1 Episode 2
More than just mindfulness
Meditation in The Park
Chapters
More than just mindfulness
Meditation in The Park
Sep 06, 2018 Season 1 Episode 2
Robert Mitchell
In this session, Robert explores open awareness meditation in the natural context.
Show Notes Transcript
In this session, Robert explores open awareness meditation in the natural context. This is a recording I made when we meditated in the park just recently. When any of our venues are unavailable in the summer, we often meditate in the park. There is a different sense when we meditate closer to nature. We can connect with our environment more deeply and the meditation has a different quality.
Speaker 1:
0:01
Hi everyone. Welcome back to the more than just mindfulness podcast series. So for the second podcast in the series, what I thought I'd do is a session, the I recorded a couple of weeks ago, the weather's still reasonable. And so you can still get out and meditate out in nature out in the park outside. And what this is, this is just a
Speaker 2:
0:29
okay
Speaker 1:
0:30
session that I did in the park when we don't have access to the venues that I normally teach in sometimes in the summer. Instead we go and meditate in the park. And this was a nice introduction to meditating and open spaces and are in nature places like parks. It's a different experience and you'll discover all about it in this session. Don't forget to subscribe to whichever channel do you use to get here.
Speaker 3:
1:08
So the perfect meditation for outside is the meditation of no meditation. So it's better to not meditate. It's better to cast your mind to the furthest sound where wherever that is, whatever it is.
Speaker 2:
1:29
Okay.
Speaker 3:
1:30
And what that's doing is that's giving you an idea of the dome of all sound that you can hear. But not just in the direction of the distant sound, which right now is an airplane. But that dome of sounds spreads around us in every direction. The modern mind gets drawn from one sound to another. So there there's a bird, there's the wind in the trees, there's the airplane, there's the traffic in the distance, there's somebody clapping for it's trying to do is identify everything. The non UNMODERN mind is listening to all sound. So the difference is like the difference between listening to individually instruments while an orchestra is playing or listening to the entire orchestra. Well, my listening to the orchestra, we allow the composer to choose
Speaker 2:
2:37
weather.
Speaker 3:
2:39
Am I in this drawn to an individual instrument or whether it's aware of the sound that the entire orchestra mix, because it's playing the theme of the composition. I'm saw that meditation of no meditation for sound is listening to the theme of the composition of all sound.
Speaker 2:
3:06
Okay.
Speaker 3:
3:07
And then from time to time individual sounds become prominent and our mind might be drawn to it and then we can come back and we can know all the sound. So the meditation of no meditation of sound as just allowing all sound into our experience. I one thing that noticing all sound stars is it gives us a sense of being at the center of all of that sound.
Speaker 2:
4:28
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
4:28
A sense of place, which is here. Because if we close our eyes, which almost invariably people do when they're doing this, don't have to, you can look down at the ground and still not be distracted by anything. And what we do in is orienting ourselves in our environment through sound and saw the sound is like waves washing over us.
Speaker 2:
5:39
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
5:40
Because it arises and subsides. No two moments ever have the same sound in them.
Speaker 2:
5:49
Hello.
Speaker 3:
6:07
So this is an experience of openness, allowing our awareness to be open to all sounds and not fixed on a sound. Well, David's every so often to add to the sounds or sound the Bell, Huh? Josh? Last name. That's all. As Erin just let his name when I was saying my mind move to individual sounds and might not have seen yet, allowing an all sound
Speaker 2:
8:10
the instrument in the orchestra [inaudible]
Speaker 3:
10:22
and if you wish you don't have to, you can move over to noticing the movement of the ballet. So this is just another element or an alternative depending on how you look at it.
Speaker 2:
10:39
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
10:40
And then the same way we're just allowing all sound into our awareness and noticing that arises and subsides and noticing it passing through our awareness. We can also notice the movement of the belly just to the point where the belly meets the chest. And again, there's no instructions, there's no expectations, no goals. These exercises, which aren't meditations, then the meditation of no meditation, they don't bring us anything other than the ability to know that we can do something without an expectation or a goal or an outcome. So I thought all sound where a tuning area, so the sound of the orchestra, all the movement of the ballet, which is like a single instrument I know all about Aistear in is rising and falling. Nothing else.
Speaker 2:
12:42
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
13:10
Are Your eyes closed? If you open your eyes, there's a sense of allowing the experience of the sound into our awareness that's very soft and gentle, and you can do the same with whatever it is you see. So if you're looking up, you see the clouds, you see the sky. If you're looking around you, you see the birds, crows and a magpie trees people. And we can allow that into our awareness in the same way.
Speaker 2:
13:50
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
13:51
So when you're doing this, because we've got the sound and we've got what we can see, and there's the physiological sensations feeling of sitting, the feeling of the wind, the smell of the park. This is known as open awareness. Meditation isn't really a meditation. It's an experience of allowing ourselves to be aware of what we can perceive.
Speaker 2:
14:28
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
14:31
And so now if, if, if the visual elements of your experience draw you into them so deeply that it triggers your mind in or train of thoughts in your mind starts wandering and so on and so forth, you can just close your eyes for a moment and notice all sound, which is a way of bringing yourself back to here. Very gently and then open your eyes again and notice there's a different quality to it. Oh, sound, the hubbub of sound on whatever it is. You can see whatever you can see has an urgency to it, the needs to see around us and what what you need to do is to become comfortable with that. You're comfortable with it and the experience of looking around you. The thing that we call resting and open awareness and perceiving all of your present moment experiences, they experience can become as gentle as noticing all sound as the meditation of no meditation for sound. Remembering of course, he can always come back to the meditation of no meditation for sound, but then you can open your eyes. So this works better in nature somewhere where there are no human artifacts because I have a tendency to trigger memories and thought processes.
Speaker 3:
16:24
Whereas if all you're looking at is something natural, light the sky, it's easier or you're in nature, and as you look around here, you can't see any human artifacts or even any human beings. This is one of the reasons that people visit solitary places to meditate as a not associations, so there's less chance of the mind being drawn into a cycle of thought about whatever it sees, judgment, comparison, memories, expectations, the future, the past, whatever. And so we're not trying to not think because thought is part of what happens in the present moment and the same way that the clouds are. You can look at all awareness [inaudible] Rinpoche, he says as the sky, and sometimes of course you can't see the sky because of the clouds and it's the same. Your awareness is always there, but sometimes you're not aware of anything external because the mind is busy. It's like the clouds in the sky,
Speaker 2:
17:56
but they all pass and the sky becomes blue.
Speaker 3:
18:02
I said, the mind becomes foggy.
Speaker 2:
18:05
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
18:06
And then the mind becomes clear and calm.
Speaker 2:
18:25
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
18:26
And this experience, open awareness, meditation. This is where we notice all of that.
Speaker 2:
18:33
Okay.
Speaker 3:
18:34
It's where we become familiar with it the most because it's so much like everyday experience, but a slightly different quality to it.
Speaker 2:
18:52
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
18:53
And so the thing to do with the internal experience is to allow yourself to become comfortable with however you're feeling and whatever thoughts are arising, but notice that that's only part of your experience. It's all the other parts of your experience. What you can feel the sensation of sitting or lying, the feeling of the wind, what you can smell, you can hear what you can see around you. And then there's the thoughts and the emotions. It's all one thing.
Speaker 2:
19:25
It's one
Speaker 3:
19:27
pricing within one awareness. They're all elements of our experience within our awareness and an insane wife. All eye gets drawn to something and it triggers a thought on the train of thoughts and the mind wanders. You come back and you notice all sound and notice the movement of the belly. The same thing can happen if you're drawn into an emotion or your mind just pops up with thoughts, with a train of thought.
Speaker 2:
20:23
Okay.
Speaker 3:
20:23
With memories.
Speaker 2:
20:25
Okay.
Speaker 3:
20:26
With the images of the future, with scenarios, whatever it does, you know, it's that, just keep coming back to being here, physical sensation, how it feels.
Speaker 2:
20:42
Okay.
Speaker 3:
20:44
Um, what you can here.
Speaker 2:
20:59
Okay.
Speaker 3:
21:21
And when ever you're ready.
Speaker 2:
21:24
No, fairly young,
Speaker 3:
21:31
just end the meditation.
Speaker 3:
21:37
There's two kinds of mindfulness meditation that's focused attention. So let's say we're doing following the breath, not what we were doing. The meditation of no meditation for the breath. That's not a meditation. But if you take following the breath where we're noticing the breath and then the mind wanders, we bring our attention back to the breath again and repeat that. That's focused attention meditation. And the other sort of meditation is open awareness. And that's what we were doing just now. And you'll notice the whole combination of experience is available to you, but the old patterns of what you focus on repeat. So for instance, if you think you've got something to worry about or something to do and then it'll keep popping up into your mind and your mind will keep being drawn to that. That's just an old pattern. Notice that that's happened. It's not about with the breath.
Speaker 3:
22:44
Anything that happens that stops you from noticing the breath. The answer is to come back to the breath. With open awareness. If the mind runs our thought pattern or dredges up a memory or an emotion, you're just aware of it happening. There's nowhere to go because it's part of your experience. So you're noticing it happening within your experience. But the key to it is to know is that it's only a part of your experience and it's not. Larry is the mind can be drawn into a difficult place and it's like that's all there is. And you forget you're in the park. You don't feel anything, you can't smell it, there's no sound, there's no taste. There's just that one thing. One of my students says her thoughts consume her, which I thought is a very apt way of putting it. Asphalts can consumers and we're not aware of being here. What's happening there. When the mind gets drawn into something that's on awareness and all we're doing is we're being aware of it. That's the answer. That's why unawareness is to be aware of it and assign why. That's the answer to unhelpful thought patterns, repetitive, persistent, uncomfortable emotions. It's just to be aware of it, but aware of it. Not as an all encompassing thing that draws us into it. But as part of our experience. So if I, if I have an uncomfortable emotion and I'll walk into the park,
Speaker 3:
24:28
I can feel the grass, I can smell the grass, I can see the trees, I can feel the wind. How can listen to the birds listen to the wind in the trees? I can do all of that. And part of my experiences, the uncomfortable emotions, uncomfortable emotion and the thoughts, they're like clouds as they enter our awareness and then I, they're there for a while and then they subside or rise, subside. The breath arises, subside fears and worries arise and subside. What were your worrying about five years ago?
Speaker 2:
25:09
No.
Speaker 3:
25:20
So one of the best solutions for warriors is to write them down for the sake of posterity so you can look back at it in the future. And what was actually worried about that?
Speaker 2:
25:32
Hi.
Speaker 3:
25:40
So one helpful. Why? So experience open awareness is by running through all of the elements of the present moment experience. So it's the thing of whole grounding. So what we'll do is we'll ground ourselves, and this is here, he's full because here we are in the park and there's a lot of sensory input. But you might be stuck in a dark room all on your own, you know? So how'd you do open awareness in a dark room? Well, this is how well it's in a park as well. Of course.
Speaker 2:
26:21
Okay,
Speaker 3:
26:28
I'm begin by noticing the force of gravity, which we never notice. If you're not sure about that, just ask your friends. Next time you see them say, did you notice the force of gravity or die?
Speaker 3:
26:45
It's like all this for a toll. How sign? No. Now is it pushing us down into the ground? There are a number of effects. One is is we need to balance to stay upright. So balance is part of our response to gravity. And then there's a sense of being pushed into the ground. There's the weight of the body being pushed into the ground and then there's the body being pulled down. And the best place to note is that as your shoulders. So if you're sitting up what you do, she just place your elbows by your side and tip your chin up a bit and you'll notice that you'll have been been pulled forward by gravity. Your arms probably in front of you, your shoulders dipping forward in your head, leaning forward. When we adopt a balanced posture, all of that becomes obvious.
Speaker 2:
27:44
Okay?
Speaker 3:
27:48
Size. There's the connection with the earth, there's the feeling of the body, the shoulders, the head been pulled downwards, there's balance. We've got a sense of place. So even with our eyes closed, we know where we are in the park. So as the children walk past talking, we know where they are, whether that's to the right of us, all the of us, or they're walking in front of us and we know where the tree is. And now with the entrances to the park where the call Paul keys, it's a thing called vestibular awareness. We're aware of the environment around us. It's a sense, and it comes from everything. Sound site bringing us this information and then we're aware of our body. So if we're sitting, we know one legs under the other, or whether we're sitting cross legged or we know where our body is, if we will move our hand up in front of us with the eyes closed, we'd know when it was a high height.
Speaker 2:
29:16
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
29:17
So that's a thing called proprioception. Vestibular awareness is an awareness of the environment. And proprioception is an awareness of where the body is in that environment. What's around us all adds up. And then there's Arizona state, whether we're warm or cool. And with a reasonably warm day you put a cool breeze. So parts of our body are called and parts of our body a warm notice. The difference. Cool part. Warren Park. Notice if we're relaxed or tense. So release the tension. Breathe in. Normally when you breathe out, relax the eyes, tongue against the back of the front. Teeth against the sharp part of the bottom. Teeth. Relax the jaw. Relax the shoulders and hands all on the out. Breath. Breathing in normally breathing out, relaxing the body. So we become aware of attention by relaxing it. And Are we comfortable or uncomfortable? If we are uncomfortable, where's the discomfort and why is the comfort? What parts of the body are comfortable and know we tired or alert. And there's also the sensory experience of the ground, the grouse, the wind. And then again back to listening cost the mine. So the further sound, and then allow all sound, inspire, awareness, [inaudible] sound.
Speaker 3:
31:53
I'm whatever it is we can smell and what ever we can taste. I won't ever thoughts there are so notice the thought isn't different. It's part of our experience. We can notice the wind, we can notice a thought. We can notice the sound of the airplane. We can notice a thought. We can notice our comfort or discomfort. We can notice this all.
Speaker 2:
32:38
Yeah. Notice the sound of the bud. Yep. Now is the soul
Speaker 3:
32:48
and if there's any emotion, how does it feel? Notes. It's a feeling in the body.
Speaker 2:
32:55
You can fail the coolness of the wind. You can fail the emotion, wind, emotion, comfort or discomfort and motion, tension and motion, smell, emotion,
Speaker 3:
33:22
whatever you can see and all of this added up together. That's the orchestra playing the theme of the present moment.
Speaker 2:
33:50
Okay?
Speaker 3:
33:54
It's a combination of all of the elements of our experience.
Speaker 2:
33:59
Cool.
Speaker 3:
34:05
What happens? Of course, we're drawn into one, whatever it might happen to be, what we're looking at or what we're thinking about or you know, maybe very rarely what we can smell or taste or here and nothing else, but there's so much.
Speaker 2:
34:25
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
34:30
I don't let tars walk. The good old Castrol theme is it arises and subsides.
Speaker 2:
34:39
You said he's not. Why? Why is it still right?
Speaker 3:
35:26
How's are the most useful place to come if the pull of the mind is very powerful? His back to the breath, wherever it's most comfortable for you because the, because it's part of the body is what Eckhart Tolle calls portal into the present moment. There's the mind is taken us somewhere past or future judgments, comparisons, whatever it happens to be doing.
Speaker 2:
35:57
Okay,
Speaker 3:
35:59
looking for approval. Usually somewhere
Speaker 3:
36:07
in some way, one interface in whatever is going over things in the past, what's going to happen, what people are going to say, what they're going to think, all of that. So the puller, that's very powerful, but to get back in, so this experience of now that's where the breath comes in. So when you find the pull of the mind to be very powerful, this is why we do follow in the breath while we do focused attention is to try and our minds to become aware that life been drawn into a scenario within the mind. But the breath is part of the present moment, the sensory bubble of the present moment. What we can see, hear, smell, touch, taste, feel and all these other elements of the present moment. And so to do open awareness, you're allowing your mind to go free and noticing if it becomes pulled into something. And if you chose, you can come back and notice the breath. So you can end the meditation very, very on time. But when you in the meditation, there's no need to change your state. If you become familiar enough with open awareness, you can do it wherever you all seem to be talking to somebody. You can still be aware of everything they're saying, but you're a, or you're doing it from being within your experience rather than in the mind where the mind is trying to interpret what they're saying. For whatever reason it chooses to interpret it in, we'll ever why it chooses to interpret it. And instead you're aware you're here and you're listening to what somebody is saying and that's part of your experience.
Speaker 3:
38:51
So now it is, this is where meditation becomes life on life becomes meditation with open awareness. The meditation of no meditation's great way into it, but getting comfortable with open awareness is probably more useful because it's closer to what it's like for most of us. Most of our lives. It's like what happens in the day? Just were aware in a different way.
Speaker 1:
39:32
So hope you enjoyed that podcast. Don't forget to subscribe to whatever channel you use to get here. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to send them to me. Info at Bromley, mindfulness.org.uk or through any of the usual social channels flakes.