In this moment
Yesterday morning I took a continental knitting class with Laura at Lettuce Knit. Ho-ho! I wish it were easier to pick up speed knitting - for me it's cautious, tense, sweaty-palmed knitting - like learning to knit all over again.
At quarter to two I biked home to listen to Tapestry on CBC radio one - Jon Kabat-Zinn was talking about his work in mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a term that's been kicked around more and more in my family over the past few years. Some members of my family have done a couple of retreats with Buddhist Monk (and Nobel Peace Prize-nominee) Thich Nhat Hanh. I had a life changing experience sitting a ten day Vipassana Mediation intensive last fall. I've had trouble keeping a regular practice, even though I'd like to, so I'm often excited to talk about it, or read or hear little morsels here and there.
Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as moment to moment non-judgemental awareness. Mindfulness sounds simple, but what a struggle it is for me. He confirms this by explaining that we spend most of our thoughts on worrying, planning and reminising instead of being in the moment - being aware of this moment, this breath, even though that's all we really have.
He has a book called Full Catastrophe Living. He defines catastrophe as the poignant enormity of our life experience - he encourages us all to really participate in these experiences, to be aware. This coinsides with my recent learning about suffering -
Kabat-Zinn also talked about spirituality. I liked his take on it - it sounded very real, and non-authoritative. What's spiritual? he asked. Parenting, making love, washing dishes? What isn't spiritual if you show up for it in its biggest incarnation?
So what do you think of all this, dear readers? Does this interest any of you? (A little divergence from the knit, purl, chop, saute talk that usually goes on in these parts.) Do any of you have any sort of meditation practice? Do you think you spend a good amount of your time being mindful? What about when you're knitting? Are you present?
PS. I am working on a way to make it easier to reply to your comments individually - I'm reading them and they're certainly appreciated!