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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Focus as a Gateway...


Still feeling a little foggy – functioning from a conflicted mind – consistently sending me into emotional tail spins.  So, I have been asking to be shown the way through to an undivided mind, to stillness and peace.  Yesterday I received 2 emails that seemed to show me “the way” through this latest dip into darkness.  We all have to find our own unique way that resonates for us, the “medicine” that restores us to clarity, and a sense of congruency of Being, so this probably pertains to my specific needs at the moment.  But it resonated so deeply that I wanted to share it.

The first was a video of a guy by the name of Michael Grab who balances rocks in a creek in Boulder, Colorado, which requires an enormous amount of focus.  He calls it “nurturing meditative presence” and “contemplation in non-attachment.”  It was fascinating to watch this guy balance these rocks in the midst of a flowing stream, to see him focus his full attention on what he was doing in the moment.   And I noticed that as I watched, my body-mind completely relaxed and I became peaceful – because my *mind* became undivided, completely focused on him balancing rocks, creating a pause, which then allowed my mind to experience stillness.   Ahhh – my first hint…  You can watch the video here.

The second was an email newsletter from Joan Ruvinsky about taking time out from meditative practice to play in the beauty of nature.  She had been conducting a month-long intensive retreat in the wilderness, mostly in study, contemplation, meditating, Yoga and chanting…  And then it snowed and she and her retreatants went for a day-long hike through a winter wonderland – absorbed by its beauty.  In her newsletter she quoted from the Vijnani Bhaivava: The Manual of Self Realization, a piece of literature written in the 7th century from the Kashmir Shaivism tradition of Hinduism.  It says: “Wherever your mind becomes peaceful, put your mind there.  If your mind is situated peacefully working in the garden, put your mind there; do not go into the prayer room for prayer…..at that moment….as working in the garden is the right way for you.  Wherever your mind is appeased, in peace, there and then ananda (peace, joy, bliss) will appear to you.”  In this I heard that it was important to listen to the mind, as well as the intuition, and my mind and intuition have been telling me lately that my mind needs “focus.”  And apparently it is the focus on what we are experiencing in the moment that gives peace of mind – whether it be gardening, some art form, or nature itself.  Obviously there are many gateways into the realm of meditative Silence – without dismissing the mind as an obstacle, or getting *lost* in the mind, but focusing the mind…  So I am paying attention to these little messages that appeared seemingly pointing the way… 

Which led me to sign up to take a free on-line course to learn how to create and paint the Seed of Life Mandala over at Guada’s Circle, to give me a sense of focus and structure, as well as creativity, hopefully bringing the mind to a place of inner stillness.  You can watch a video of Guada creating a Seed of Life Mandala here.  Stacy Wills also creates some wonderful mandalas on her blog – A Magic Mom and Her Mandalas

Apparently “focus” can be a gateway into relaxed Presence, into peace, stilling the mind and finding a sense of connection with the Divine again…    Most of us on a “spiritual path” of “awakening” or “enlightenment” try to depose the mind, or bypass it in order to enter a state of pure Being through a meditative practice.  But it seems that *allowing* the mind to do what it does best, to creatively focus, is yet another way of losing one’s self and finding inner Peace…   We shall see J



Photo: Reflection of chair in window




14 comments:

  1. YES!!! Yes...and (more) YES!!! focus...on whatever you like that offers peace, freedom, beauty, focus (itself), expansion, creativity etc. I find 'attention' naturally draws itself unto that which IS itself. :) Usually something pleasant. And why shouldn't the Gateway be pleasant?! Thank you for such a sweet post Dear Christine...xoxo
    (♥)

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    1. Hi Leslie! Thanks! Funny that I am just now discovering this.... :) (♥)

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  2. Lovely foggy image Christine, I think that is why so many of us are passionate about blogging, first the mind is completely absorbed giving attentions to other's words images, in-turn stimulated to respond and perhaps sparks posts of our own creativity as a continuum. Then of course the mind needs rest so we retreat into the Silence as you have said many times. I find some creative activities are more restful than other, the repetition of knitting, crochet for example is soothing on the other hand striving for some 'masterpiece' painting can although focused, be very taxing.

    I hope you find a focused peaceful distraction through mandalas for this time of uncertainty. x

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    1. Thank you Sue :) Yes, I have found that to be true too - that some creative activities are more restful than others. I used to crochet afghans and you're right, the repetition was soothing, allowing the mind to focus in a relaxed way... And yes, the "striving" to create a painting at this point is definitely stressful for me, which is why I had to let go of the other more free style of painting for now and turn to something more structured, repetitive and focused... Paradoxical :)

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  3. yes. for me, i partly discovered it in the psychological concept of Flow. peace and joy that comes from doing your heart's truest desire, your soul's work.

    i'm also infinitely awestruck by non-attachment art. like the non-permanence of the Tibetan sand mandalas.

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    1. Thanks Monica :) Yes, so many Gateways that allow us to experience the Flow of Being... I came in through the psychological door as well :) Love those sand mandalas too...

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  4. thanks for all the links. it takes a lot of patience and focus to put together a post like this. the photo is lovely. Hope you have fun with the mandala.

    currently i am longing to do some free flow focus work but i am having to try to do some left brained number burdened work of putting together my brother's tax information for the CPA. This organizing is not fun and very hard for me right now. I am finding it hard to focus but I must.

    thank you for your thoughtful post. hugs, suki



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    1. Thanks Suki as always for your support! I like the idea of "free flow focus" :) Don't know that I would be good at the left brain function of crunching the numbers either! - the left brain stuff. Am wanting more of a creative, meditative Flow of focus that helps bring the mind into the undivided state from an intuitive space.... Heart Hugs back :)

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  5. Hi Christine...yes yes and yes again. In our attempt to find peace, it is sometimes easier to dismiss the parts of us that are the most challenging - mind and ego. We understand to follow our hearts but at least in this lifetime we have to incorporate all of our wholeness. Writing haiku and poetry and painting focuses my mind. Gardening seems to gentle my heart and soul. So many paths. Andrea

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    1. Yes! the holistic approach, embracing everything, allowing the mind to do what it does instead of resisting it, not seeing it as an obstacle to our well-being. On some level I know this, but I guess I needed to experience it in a different way, to see it from a different perspective...Thanks :)

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  6. Thank you for these insights that feel bountiful and expansive! I find that the less I attach myself to things, the more freedom and flow I feel. Not always easy. But when it's happening it feels like my heart's truth appearing. :o) LOVE your photo image today too, Christine! ((HUGS))

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    1. Thanks Tracy, Yes, non-attachment definitely. And how easily the mind comes in and wants to cling to something, even an idea or a feeling, even happiness... But just letting it all go and being open to what arises. Happy Nirvana Day :)

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  7. Art-making is definitely a means of being focused. I suppose it is my own form of meditation; certainly the one I consistently return to. It is not necessarily a place of peace and bliss, but it is definitely one of being present and open to what is happening in the moment.
    I think your picture of the chair reflection is lovely, even if not really focused.
    ;-)

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    1. :) Yes, I can see where certain types of art would be a meditation - in the sense of bringing inner stillness - and as you say bringing us into a sense of presence with the moment.

      No matter how I try I can't seem to get that reflection focused ;) Through a window and a storm window there's always multiple images... :) lol

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