What is it that is reactive? Our minds are reactive: liking and disliking, judging and comparing, clinging and condemning. Our minds are like a balance scale, and as long as we’re identified with these judgments and preferences, likes and dislikes, wants and aversions, our minds are continually thrown out of balance, caught in a tiring whirlwind of reactivity.It is through the power of mindfulness that we can come to a place of balance and rest.Mindfulness is that quality of attention which notices without choosing, without preference; it is a choiceless awareness that, like the sun, shines on all things equally.
Can we make our awareness so inclusive that we’re willing to be attentive to the whole range of our experience? It’s somewhat like going on a long journey in a strange land, a journey that takes us through many different kinds of terrain—through mountains and jungle, desert and rain forest.If we have the mind of a true explorer, when we’re in the mountains we’re not thinking, ‘‘Oh, if only I were in the desert now.’’ And when we’re in the desert we’re not daydreaming of rain forests.If there’s a real sense of exploration, we’re interested in every new place that we come to.
The experience of our meditation is a similar kind of journey; it’s the journey into ourselves through every aspect of our experience.There are ups and downs, highs and lows, time when it’s pleasant and times of pain.There is nothing at all that is outside of our practice because our practice is to explore the totality of who we are.This takes a tremendous amount of willingness. Are we willing to be with the full range of what’s going on?
There is a line from a song written some years ago that relates to this: ‘‘Some people say that life is strange, but what I’d like to know is, compared to what?’’ It’s all part of it. There is nothing that is outside of our practice.The different experiences of physical sensation, of pleasure or pain, the different emotions of happiness or sadness, depression or elation, interest or boredom, all are part of the journey.Is it possible to open to each one of these states, to become mindful of each one in a balanced way so that we can begin to understand their true nature?
This excerpt is taken from the book, “Seeking the Heart of Wisdom”JACK KORNFIELD.