Mindfulness Presence: Pamela Weiss on Mindfulness

I’ve listened to a podcast from AudioDharma of Pamela Weiss on Mindfulness several times in the past few days. Here are some quotes and paraphrases that stand out to me:

“…in the practice of mindfulness, it doesn’t matter WHAT you are mindful of. This is the amazing thing … you can be mindful of a murderous rage, a sharp pain, calm and bliss. The CONTENT isn’t as important as paying attention to attention. Meditative practice helps us in cultivating a quality of attention which we are able to then attend to our experience. This is the heart of mindfulness.”

“Why is mindfulness such a great thing? How might it benefit me throughout my life? Mindfulness helps us to shift from REACTING to our lives, to being able to RESPOND to our lives. As internal or external events, people, experiences arise in our lives (every moment, every day) we immediately react…and usually not so skillfully. The practice of mindfulness helps us to insert a little bit of space between the event and the reaction. So instead you get: the event –> NOTICING –> response. Instead of habitual reaction, you get the possibility of choice. You get to choose how to respond. You can begin to live a life that is less reactive and more intentional.”

…Remembering usually connotates the structure of the past. But the practice of mindfulness can lend a kind of radical interpretation of remembering — which is to remember the PRESENT, remember NOW. (Editor’s note: Which is really the only truth. Now is all we got.) How much time do we spend remembering the present? Most of our time we are lost in thought, thinking about the future or rehashing the past. The word remember: “Re” means “again”. The implication of remembering is returning, coming back to again … making whole again. Remembering the present brings us into wholeness. The kind of fragmentation that happens when we are lost in thought, when we are spinning between past and future, doesn’t allow for wholeness. Remembering the present brings us back to wholeness.