Dec 312012

…the more mindfulness we have, the less compelling sense-objects seem, until at last we lose all desire for them.
- Cynthia Thatcher, “What’s so Great About Now” in Tricycle Magazine

I know that losing my desire to hold on to aversive sense-objects (anything in my world that catches my attention in a negative way) offers me great potential for practicing self-understanding, worldly awareness along with my ability to accept change. But how do I practice that in the real world?

Last night, getting ready for bed, as I turned on the kitchen faucet for a glass of water, the water only trickles in. This means that there is no water in our 2500-gallon water tank, with a fairly significant leak somewhere outside the house. In this midnight hour it is freezing, snow and ice blanket the ground and my aversion to “no-water” (my sense-object) is especially felt. Losing the pull of my “desire” to hold on to “no-water” and its resultant sense of creating worry, concern and yes, fear in my mind, is a difficult challenge and one that could keep me awake for hours, ruminating on the what-if possibilities – unless I can let the aversive thoughts go.

How do I do this? With mindfulness; being mindful of the moment and letting go of my desire to hold on to my aversion. Being mindful of “no-water” gives me pause to find a space where I don’t need to dwell or to put my focus on “no-water” as a problem. Being mindful allows the thought of “no-water” to glide through my mind as clouds glide through the sky. My mind can rest along with my body as my head hits the pillow sending these thoughts out and away from consciousness.

I enjoyed a peaceful slumber to awaken to a beautiful brisk sunny morning. Water is now coming through my house water pipes (which means the pump is still working), so “no-water” can wait for a cup of coffee and a perusal of my email. My mind is focused, not worried, not dwelling on the what-if of being without water on a cold winter morning.

As I leave my warm house to feed my horses in the crisp morning air, I stay mindful of each moment, enjoying my task while observing for any aspect of what might be creating “no-water”. As I make my morning rounds, I notice a large puddle of standing water in the arena, more than what was left over from our latest rain and snow, and it’s not frozen like the other puddles I encounter. I hear a hissing noise coming from under the insulation cap over the spigot feeding the arena hose. Ah ha! I left the water running in the arena! One full turn of the spigot and my water problem is solved.

Now, if I had not been mindful, had been thinking, ruminating and fretting over “no-water” (which is so often what I do), my mind would have led me into mind bending chaos, most likely still solving the problem, but with little sleep, and a great deal of suffering along the way. This practice of being mindful of letting go of my aversions has led me down a clear path to a greater sense of well-being. I hope for you to find mindfulness in your aversions so that you too can lose your desire to hold on to suffering.


Dec 092012

Fall is waning as winter solstice comes to us on December 21st. To honor fall, this bit of poetry and art  remind us of transitions into seasons of life.