Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mindfully Aware of Impatience

This whole mindfulness thing intrigues me, I feel strongly that there is something very significant to it. Well of course there’s something significant to it – it brings us in touch with ourselves, and there is a hell of a lot going on in ourselves. Mostly we go through our days not paying the least bit of attention to ourselves. All day long we respond to the external world. Sights, sounds, commands mostly, come to us from without and we spend our days reacting to all of those things that come to us from without and we rarely give a moment’s notice, ten seconds of consideration to that which is coming to us from within. What comes from within requires just as much attention, if not more than that which comes from without.

My, myself and I have ignored everything – for the entire span of my life – that comes from within. Actively ignored I should say. I have spent my whole life responding only to that which has come to me externally. Any time a thought or a feeling arose from within, especially a thought or a feeling that was in confrontation to that from without the internal lost out to the external. Each and every time. I have never stopped during the course of my day for five minute to ask myself “what is it that I want?”, “how is it that I feel?”.

I’ve been thinking this morning about the practice of meditation. For the past few days I have forgotten to set aside those fifteen minutes each day to spend in mindfulness practice. Of course I remember the next day and I resolve to remember in the coming day to set aside that time and then life happens and I remember the next day that I forgot the previous day.

Not only that but in those few days that I did manage to set aside the time the feeling that prevails as I sit with myself in quiet is impatience. To think that the idea and practice of setting aside fifteen minutes out of a twenty-four hour day in mindfulness meditation, fifteen minutes to turn our focus to ourselves causes impatience is very sad. It’s sad because that time spent in meditation is an opportunity to focus on myself, focusing on my inner world, my thoughts and my feelings and why is that not something that I would welcome in my day? Why would I not be intrigued by me? Why would I not really look forward each and every day to find out what’s going on with me?

I spend all day, every day responding the needs of others. My family, my job and now my dog. I watch TV, I listen to the radio, I read the newspaper, I read a book… I am responding to the external stimuli in my environment and I don’t give it a second thought. These things don’t make me impatient. Well… ok sometimes but I do them… generally without a second thought. Somebody needs something? Do it. Go to the store, clean up a mess, take the dog for a walk, answer the phone and solve the problem, make dinner, turn on the TV, do this, do that and the other thing. Reacting and responding all day long to everything that comes at me from without. And all I can do when I manage to even REMEMBER to give myself fifteen minutes of quiet, reflective time all I can do is be impatient. This is un-natural. THAT is natural, that responding to the external. THIS is un-natural, reflecting on the internal.

How did I ever come to this?

This cannot be and now that I know it I will do my best that it will not be so. What I think and feel is most important to me and I want to spend time each day to investigate me, find out what’s going on with me. What do I want? I want to know me, that’s what I want.


  1. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Boy, I'm a master of keeping busy and ignoring everything that really matters. As you know I recently took up running and I was just saying to my husband that I feel like I should be "doing something" while I'm running -like working something out in my head. I even thought about trying to memorize a poem! My husband said to me, "why not try to just be -to clear your head!?" Now that's novel.

  2. I'd say your husband gets it. Just run... and maybe listen to music. Forget the damn poem.

    You just gave me an idea for another post. Thanks.