正念--记下你的每个时刻

我的正念定义就是记得清楚觉察当下。有些人可能想知道,与记忆有关的 "记得 "是如何与正念联系起来的。

习性

你是否曾经开车回家,却发现你没有注意到旅途本身?是否有这样的例子,在吃完饭后,你发现你没有注意到食物的味道?或者你是否忘记了你的手机放在哪里,因为你在放下手机时没有注意到?这些都是处于习性的例子,也就是没有意识到我们体内或周围正在发生的事情。在这种情形下,我们的身体在进行着各种活动,而我们的心可能在其他地方。有时,这是由于我们在胡思乱想,沉浸在回忆里和对未来担忧中. 这使我们不快乐。在其他时候,我们可能心不在焉。这会影响手头上的工作。这是我们的习性。也就是说我们经常处于这种状态。

与习性相反的是正念。如果我们选保持择正念,我们应该多久练习一次?答案是每时每刻。正念练习不应该断断续续。我们应该在任何时候都进行练习。换句话说,我们永远不会有太多的正念。每时每刻的正念都能建立起能量和定力,从而更清楚觉察当下的感觉。

记得

那么,我们如何才能改掉习性,置身于当下?唯一的方法是记住要做的事。例如,你需要去自动取款机提取一些现金,或者你需要去网上完成一个注册。这些事件需要你记住并采取行动。

在练习正念时,当我们发现我们分心了,我们要记得我们的意图,那就是清楚觉察当下最明显的感觉。每次发现分心了,我们都要觉察心在哪儿。因此,记住我们要觉察当下的意图是引导我们的注意力回到当下的动力。我们不仅需要在正式的练习中做到这一点,比如静坐,也需要在日常活动中做到。一种方法是不断提醒自己问自己是否意识到当下,在心理上说 "意识到"。我们也可以把日常活动设定为提醒。比如每次推开门时,清楚地注意你的手臂的动作。每次站在红绿灯前等待时,要注意自己的站姿。或者在每顿饭中用心地吃一口食物。

总而言之,正念练习是困难的,因为它与我们的习惯行为背道而驰。所以,如果你努力记得活在当下,你会得到很好的回报。

Mindfulness: Know Clearly

Mindfulness is remembering to know the present moment clearly. The present moment refers to whatever object that is most prominent at the moment. The object could be a physical sensation like itchiness, pain, warmth, touching, seeing, hearing, tasting or smelling. It could also be an emotion or a thought. Here, we use the expression “know clearly”. Other expressions that mean the same thing are “see clearly”, “see precisely”, “be aware”, “observe”, “note clearly”, “notice clearly”, “comprehend” and “pay attention”.

Let’s examine the technique to “know clearly”.

  1. To know an object, bring awareness to the object and acknowledge it with curiosity and kindness. Without curiosity, interest will wane and the mind wanders off quickly. In addition, we can label each object silently as it happens, to perceive more clearly the qualities of the experience.
  2. See the object correctly. Don’t confuse with other things. The analogy is like seeing A but the hand reaches out to grab B instead. When you see the object correctly, there may be a shift. It could be the object disappear, or it changes to something else, or a sense of clarity arises, or a sense of release arises. You may need to try a few times. Firstly, shift slightly from where you perceive the object is located. Next change the way you look at the object by labelling it, instead of just noticing it. And even change the label itself, because maybe the previous label is incorrect.
    When the object is not seen correctly, the sense of cloudiness or confusion may continue. I recall many years ago during a retreat at Kota Tinggi, there was a sitting session, which for a long duration, I saw colourful patterns in my mind eye, evolving into different shapes, like a kaleidoscope. What is even more special is the usual numbness and leg pain when sitting cross-legged for a long period didn’t arise. I was ecstatic when reporting to the teacher about it. Only to have the teacher reminding me that the mind had played tricks on me. Meaning I had not seen the object correctly.
Eyes close. Clarity arises
  1. Acknowledge the object promptly. Otherwise, you end up acknowledging an object that has already passed away and no longer present.
  2. See the object in its entirety, and not partially. See beyond the physical aspect. Include the corresponding emotion or mental aspect as well. Know the characteristics and manifestations of the object. For example, when there is a pain, don’t just observe the soreness, but the accompanying aversion for the pain to go away.
  3. Pay attention with a balanced effort. Without enough effort, dullness may arise, the object is not clear, or you feel distanced from the object. At this point, you should change to notice the “dullness”, or “not clear”. When the effort is too much, agitation may arise. At that point, you should change to notice “agitation”. Be patient with whatever experience that arises. Have a sense of acceptance if the sensation is unpleasant. And have a sense of letting go if the sensation is pleasant; not holding on it.

Mindfulness is a skill. Skill needs to practise. Put these techniques into practice during breath meditation, and other mindfulness practices to experience the result.

Mindfulness: What is being in the present moment?

In my interaction with people, the general understanding of mindfulness practice is about being in the present moment. Even though when they may not have in-depth knowledge nor practise it.

On the surface, some may interpret being in the present moment to mean be aware of what is in front of you, not doing anything or not thinking about anything else.

The mechanics of being in the present moment is much more rigorous. For some people, it may not be apparent where they should pay their attention. And when it feels like many things are happening concurrently, which particular thing should they pay attention to. Let’s take the case of myself sitting here, typing this article. When I am typing, my attention is on the typing itself. Halfway through, an itch arises on my face. I know it and I reach out to scratch the itch. I continue to think about what I want to write next and I purse my lips. Those are the things that I pay attention to. I am also aware that I have crossed my feet. Then I notice the intention in the mind before the actions are carried out.

Most prominent sensation

So if we want to practise “being in the present moment”, what should we pay attention to? A rule of thumb is to pay attention to whichever sensation that is the most prominent. This prominent sensation becomes the object of attention. The object could be bodily sensations like itchiness, a pain, warmth, release, hearing, tasting, smelling and seeing. It could be emotion like anger, joy, frustration, sadness, anxiety, dullness, love, calm, fear and disgust. It could also be a thought like still images, moving images, regrets, planning thought, rumination and worrying thought. Investigate this object with curiosity and kindness. If the object is a pain, then how does it feel like? Is there pulsing? Does it come and go or is it constant? Is it associated with an emotion, like irritation, or aversion? When the irritation that arises due to the pain becomes prominent, the attention should switch to the irritation.

For the case when the object is a thought, know whether it lingers on or disappears after you become aware of it. When you don’t know where to put your attention on, then you should notice that ‘doubt’ has arisen – that is the present object. If you feel bored reading all these, your attention should be on the ‘boredom’ that is present. You may switch attention to accompanying thought, like the wish to stop and walk away. Noticing each sensation may sound very mechanically. It feels like you are doing a drill, but practising this way will sharpen the mindfulness skill.

In conclusion, ‘being in the present moment’ is to be aware of the most prominent sensation at each moment, be it a physical sensation, an emotion or a thought.