en español

I will start a workshop on mindfulness next week. Some ask what is it that many people are talking about mindfulness.

Well, there are many good things about practicing mindfulness, but I can tell you that one that amaze me is the “oh!” or the “aha!” moment.

Let me explain. The continuous practice allows you to be more conscious. Conscious about what you’re feeling, how you are confronting situations in your life.

That’s when the “oh!” moment gets in. Suddenly, a situation makes you feel bad, or angry. But you realise that. So, instead of reacting to the situation, you are conscious of how it makes you feel. You make a pause, could be a small but conscious pause, and then you say to yourself: aha! I’m feeling angry, but – for example – it’s not the person that makes me feel angry, but what he or she said. So I can act according to the situation. I may say: I don’t like the way you are talking, I feel angry.

In doing that, one can approach the situation without an angry reaction, but knowing where you’re standing, and find a better way to solve it.

It could be a situation in which I am judging someone. The “oh!” moment gets in, and I can see that it is my own perspective that gets in the way of understanding other.

So, besides being a practice that help me with my attention, my health, my wellbeing, for me the “oh!” moment is a treasure.

A cultivated habit

En español

I was reading recently that “Rituals bring comfort when we stumble under the pressures and demands of everyday existence… Knowing how to live well is a cultivated habit, and rituals can help.” (L’art de la simplicité, Dominique Lorean.).

With this I remembered the practice of daily meditation, a ritual I adopted as part of my life. A ritual that, by being such, stops to be a repetitive action.

How is possible that the habit of meditating becomes something so useful for a good life? Well, this simple act let me be attentive to myself, attentive to what happens, attentive to what I perceive. It allows me to accept myself, as I am, and work from what I know, to live well. It gives me with what I need to be able to decide and choose. It let me live from a perspective of someone that is not in a rush, in a pace that makes me savor what I live.

It doesn’t make me a different person, or a better one. It’s as if I can function within my capacities and potential. So rituals may turn a simple chore into something important, that you live consciously.

What kind of rituals do you have in your life?

Can you see it?

en español

I’m staying, for a few days, in a house in Dechantskirchen, Austria, up in a hill. In the morning, I usually watch outside my window, to get the feeling of the new day. And having a different view is interesting.

But even if I see through the same window, every day I can see something different. The light, the tree leaves, the weather, all have unique characteristics that can be appreciated.

So today, I looked out of the same window for the second day in a row, and had the chance of see the image presented here. I can see the trees near the window, down the hill, and to the horizon. The beauty of the clouds, a pale orange light between them and the horizon line, and some rain far away.

I take a look out of my window every morning, and I can see a different view. If you let yourself to watch what is outside, with attention, you may appreciate the small differences, with awe.

You may be wondered by a new view, and I thank the opportunity, but we don’t need it to be amazed by what we have in front of us.

What riding can teach us

(en español)

Sometimes I think that there may be people thinking: what is he talking about, bicycles and zen, or meditation?

Well, let me tell you that back in the 70’s there was a very popular book called “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, by Robert M. Pirsig. I didn’t read the book, since I was not interested in motorcycles, but the idea got stocked in my mind.

Then I discovered that zen was not a thing of the temple only, but a way one sees life, and the way we do whatever we do. And bicycling, not racing, but riding a bike, was an activity that allows you to be in the present moment, now, with full attention.

When I started with meditation, and trying to have a rich spiritual life, what I constantly found was the reference of a path. So I had to move, in a direction. Well, I thought, what a wonderful thing! I have a bicycle, I can ride the path. And discovered that, like practicing martial arts as I did, or drawing, I could bike the path.

A few months ago I was in the bookstore, wandering after picking the book I needed, when I spotted a little book: Mindful thoughts for cyclists, by Nick Moore. What a discovery! I was very excited. I bought it and started to read. I have given the book to other three bicycle enthusiasts. I gave the first one, even without finishing the reading, to a new friend, Cecilia. It’s a beautiful book.

At the end of the book we can read: “The awareness we can cultivate on the bike can help us to detach ourselves from desire and entrenched thought patterns and view things more objectively. It’s raining. It’s cold. This hill is steep. I am traveling at 25 miles per hour. That’s it. No value judgement, no good/bad, right/wrong. The moment is sufficient unto itself. Does it need to be about anything else?”