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Mindful : October 2015
By Barry Boyce Illustrations by Brad Amorosino 5 things people get wrong about mindfulness room), our emotions (love this, hate that, crave this, loathe that) and thoughts (wouldn’t it be weird to see an elephant playing a trumpet). The practice of mindfulness—being curious about what’s happening in our mind—is freeing: we come to feel that the movement of mind is not so mysterious, so we can learn to navigate sensations, thoughts, and emotions more skill- fully. The voice in our head is less annoying. All the benefits of meditation arise from experienc- ing our mind as more workable. We can focus and guide it better and we can also let it go. More dance, less straitjacket. But it’s not fixing. Your mind is naturally capa- ble of mindfulness, awareness, kindness, and com- passion. It’s not in need of fundamental repair. Of course we stumble and stray and flail about in confusion from time to time and sometimes frequently. What we need first is a modicum of stability. By gently repeating a simple habit, returning to an anchor for the mind, such as our breath, bit by bit a steadiness emerges that allows a better view of what’s happening in our mind and more opportunities to make choices. The point of returning to the breath is not that thinking itself is problematic. When you’re learning to cook, you may turn the heat up too high and burn something. It doesn’t mean you’re not a cook. It means you need to adjust the heat. → October 2015 mindful 35