“Just take a moment to meditate, where you are. And as you breathe in and out, notice if there are any attack weapons or defensive strategies hidden in your inner bunker … and then gently disarm them with your breath.
Yes, in just a moment you can defuse yourself … and make the world a safer place. Think of it as a preemptive strike for peace.” - Martin Boroson.
Ahhh… Mindfulness, as a “preemptive strike for peace“. I love that.
I know how the mind works. It wakes up like a soldier, grabs its armor, and scans the horizon for threats. It just can’t help it. It is the nature of the mind to be on the defensive… part of our ancestral inheritance… habits of our older animal brain (limbic system) that was once responsible for keeping our species from being eaten. Thank you, dear brain, but I no longer need to be on the lookout for wooly mammoths. And I no longer want to start the day driven by the undercurrent of anxiety you create- thoughts of what I need to DO, what I might be late for, what might be wrong.
So, I have found there is a better way. A way to greet the day with mindfulness and “make the world a safer place”.
I have a new morning ritual. Before my feet hit the floor… I disarm myself.
When I open my eyes and look at the clock, just as the mind is getting locked and loaded to charge into the day, I pledge to stay in bed another 5 minutes. And for those 5 minutes, laying there, I survey what I am thankful for. I stay under the covers a while with GRATITUDE.
Head on pillow, still half asleep, I ask inwardly, “So, what am I grateful for?”.
Close-in things come up first- warm covers; soft sheets; a body that works; the rhythmic breathing of my best friend beside me. Then gratitude ripples out to include my surroundings- the ancient, green river over the hill; morning light through fall leaves; this farm and all the precious critters waking up with me outside my window.
I go slowly. Lingering on each item until I can feel the sincerity of it, the weight of it. Sometimes I don’t get past the very concrete… this body. these limbs. This breath… and this one.
Other times it all rushes in: my kids; my whole family; the gift of being Alive; Presence itself ; this whole frickin’ world!
All I know is that when I am touching into what I appreciate, there is no real estate left in the mind for worry, fear or judgement.
Gratitude slows it all down. Keeps the focus on the here and now. Calms the conditioned mind before it takes off blindly into the morning.
These few extra minutes… under the covers with warm thoughts of what I love … seem to put the heart in charge. And when my feet do finally slide into the slippers, the ground feels firmer… and I think I am more inclined to Receive instead of conquer my day.
Try it! Spend a few minutes with gratitude before you get out of bed and see how it shifts the energy of your morning. ”Think of it as a preemptive strike for peace”.
….“Gratitude is an amazing antidote to almost any negative feeling. Cognitively, we can’t actually feel anger and gratitude at the same time. The minute we are angry with someone is the minute we have momentarily tuned-out how grateful we are for having them in our life in the first place. And as soon as we turn back to gratitude, the anger disappears. It’s amazing! Try it out sometime and you’ll see that smiling is inevitable. ” http://www.buddhistbootcamp.com/2012/03/gratitude.html