I cannot remember which Buddhist teacher wrote about “resting in Mindfulness,” but it is a perspective I have been working with lately.
In meditation on the breath, there is the in-breath, the out-breath, and the pause as they switch. For me the in-breath represents drawing the outer world into my being. The out-breath represents my inner self rejoining the external world. And that moment of silence between breaths, can be resting in Mindfulness. There is such peace in that inner silence.
In ordinary life, when tasks are done or at least put aside for the time being, my mind if not my body goes quickly off into something else. Checking e-mail, planning what will come next, playing with the dog, double checking on other tasks or expectations, doing rather than just being. Yet even momentary pauses between events can also be opportunities to rest in mindfulness, the peacefulness of just being fully present.
When I am tired, late in the evening, I will often read some fiction, perhaps play a simple game, usually some form of mindless pursuit since I don’t want to become agitated before bed. Yet there is an alternative, to meditate, to rest in mindfulness. I still struggle to make this part of my practice.
I make my living as a psychotherapist. While I am not the traditional silent, occasional uh-huh, analytic presence, the core of my practice is my ability to be present and attentive with the Other. Being mindful, aware of the Other’s expressions and statements, and of my own internal reactions, allows us to explore what comes up in a way different than in most ordinary interactions. I often feel the pressure to do something, fix something for the other. While I am willing to share information that may be useful, my role is not to change or ‘fix’ the Other, that is their choice. I work to help people deepen their awareness of themselves, how they make choices in their lives, and become conscious of options they may not have considered.
Resting in mindfulness, being fully present, is both easy and the opposite of easy. Incorporating it into my meditation practice, continuing to rediscover it in my psychotherapy practice, and bringing it more into my everyday being is both freeing and soul soothing. So easy to say, sometime easy to do, but all too often so easy not to do; after all, being seems as if it is the opposite of doing, and there is always so much to be done!