Joseph offers practical methods for maintaining a continuity of awareness that promotes joyful and sustainable dedication to the practice of mindfulness.
There are a variety of motives that bring one to the meditative process, but for all of us the journey really begins with the simple steps of calming the mind and collecting our attention. We can never underestimate the value of seeing the mind in its unadulterated state of hurried distraction and unconscious reaction. Without this basic insight into how often we are lost in thought, there will be little motivation to wake up from it. We have to observe before we can begin to understand. This is what Joseph illuminates as “The Gift of Awareness.”
“How we relate to our own bodies can often reveal how we relate to the world”
Opening – How do we experience the different kinds of knowing and understanding in our practice? Joseph starts at the beginning of the meditative process; calming the mind and giving it an object of meditation. Despite how simple it sounds, it is actually incredibly difficult to accomplish this task without much practice.
12:35 – We practice by recognizing the moments when our mind wanders and return by coming back to the breath. Slowly the mind becomes more calm and collected. We then begin to experience moments of clarity and stillness. This provides us space to further our awareness of the experience.
25:00 – Joseph addresses one of the most difficult hurdles of the practice. Physical pain and discomfort are barriers that we must deal with in meditating. We must focus our awareness to this without reaction, though. Learn to discern where that pain is coming from and why it is there within the stillness of meditation.
42:35 – Joseph shares an insightful story from his early days in the East. It is an interesting lesson on how our minds get caught in patterns of self-judgement and narcissism. We do not invite these thoughts, the thoughts just come to us. Through a growing mindfulness, we can discern the critical difference between getting lost in thought and being aware of the fact that we are thinking.
50:40 – As we begin to divest ourselves from our thoughts, we are able to directly investigate the nature of our thoughts. We focus so much of our attention to the content of our thoughts and emotions that we are unable to see the true source and nature of them. In the moment that we are aware of a thought, we see that they are nothing. So do not let them hold so much weight on us, and we can truly receive the gift that is our own awareness.
Image via Space Wind