The Miracle of Mindfulness

When I part with members of my family after visiting them in the UK (I live near Madrid), as I walk away with my bags, I feel a strong pull in my chest, and it really feels as if invisible strings were linking my heart to theirs, that the atoms in my heart  are being physically stretched to the limit of my chest as this close heart-bond is being pulled away from the loved one in question.

I have the same feeling sometimes when I’m sad about something. The other day it was because one of my sisters had recently given birth and I’m 1500 miles away in Madrid, and was desperate to see her and the new baby. I’ve arranged to go in May, but those invisible heart strings were feeling stretched in that direction now, and it was a hard, heavy feeling.

So I decided to try some walking meditation. Just a long slow walk from home to a neighbourhood park. I remembered the idea of embracing difficult emotions like a mother embraces a crying baby, and I put all my concentration into embracing and feeling the heavy feeling in my chest as I walked slowly.

It was surprisingly easy. Easy to have something to focus on. Easy to be there lovingly for the feeling in my chest. And slowly the heavy, sad, stretched-heart-strings feeling began to diminish, feeling lighter and lighter all the time.

By the time I got back to our street I felt completely fine, happy. I’d decided not to go rushing off to the UK in a huge hurry, as I knew it would put stress on the rest of my life, and that I don’t want to live in that rushing-around mode any more, as I have done for years. I can happily wait for May.

This for me really was a miracle of mindfulness. From a depressed, sad feeling, to light and free in the space of an hour’s walk spent embracing a difficult emotion. It works. Since then I’ve gone back to doing a little walking meditation every day. I’m no good at sitting on meditation cushions, but taking my heart for a walk, especially in spring, is a real joy.

9 thoughts on “The Miracle of Mindfulness”

  1. Hey Ben,

    It is always so lovely to read your posts. You really take the teachings of the Buddha and aply them in your every day life. And this way you are offering me a huge motivation and suport, to know that there are doing the same thing and experiencing similar things. I really thank you for having this blog and sharing your experiences with us. 🙂
    Kind regards from Austria! Lehel
    P.S. i also loved your photography post. I also own the A6000 with old glass.

    1. Thank you Lehel, when I do apply these teachings life is so different to when I don’t! Much better. I enjoy sharing my experiences like this, so it’s wonderful to hear it’s motivating for others. Thanks again.

  2. It feels great when you manage to make yourself happy!
    The feeling you described reminds me of this book store I love. It is quite far from my home, a long ride and a long walk away,almost an hour combined, in a neighbourhood that my senses aren’t used to so they are more alert, and whenever I need to take care of my heart and mind, I go there.It is more about the journey that the destination. And somehow every time a great book manages to find me there and come back home with me!

  3. Ben, do you think if you still lived in the UK and didn’t live so differently from what you were used to, that you would write in this open and honest way? Just curious, as sometimes I don’t feel like I can be myself in my home environment. Great post by the way. 🙂

    1. Hi Melanie,
      I have no idea, but I think it’s quite likely I would have ended up following the same path, and quite likely writing about it, but who knows! Perhaps being far from where I started helps, or helped, me to cut through certain blocks or barriers. But I think it’s more what’s going on inside than what’s going on outside that counts, so one can feel trapped anywhere really. There is a book called “Be free where you are”, just the title says it all I think!

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