The Practice of Mindfulness and Refraining

“Refraining is the quality of not grabbing for entertainment the minute we feel a slight edge of boredom coming on.  It’s the practice of not immediately filling up space just because there’s a gap.  An interesting practice that combines mindfulness and refraining is just to notice your physical movements when you feel uncomfortable.  When we feel like we’re losing ground, we make all kinds of jumpy, jittery movements.  You might notice that when you feel uncomfortable you do things like pull your ear, scratch something even though it doesn’t itch, or straighten your collar.  When you notice what you do, don’t try to change it.  Don’t criticize yourself for doing whatever it is you’re doing.  Just notice what is.  Refraining – not habitually acting out impulsively – has something to do with giving up the entertainment mentality.  Through refraining, we see that there’s something between the arising of the craving – or the aggression, or the loneliness, or whatever might be – and whatever action we take as a result.  There’s something there in us that we don’t want to experience, and we never do experience because we’re so quick to act.  The practice of mindfulness and refraining is a way to get in touch with basic groundlessness – by noticing how we try to avoid it.” ~ Pema Chodron


Shadow and Light Source Both

How does a part of the world leave the world?
How does wetness leave water?

Dont’ try to put out fire by throwing on
more fire! Don’t wash a wound with blood.

No matter how fast you run, your shadow
keeps up. Sometimes it’s in front!

Only full overhead sun diminishes your shadow.
But that shadow has been serving you.

What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is
your candle. Your boundaries are your quest.

I could explain this, but it will break the
glass cover on your heart, and there’s no
fixing that.

You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

When from that tree feathers and wings sprout on you,
be quieter than a dove. Don’t even open your mouth for
even a coo. ~ Rumi