Bhante Sathi and attending meditations talk about their practice and experienced observations (from previous day instructed practice, about observing in which ways we tend to abuse our minds and bodies. As a mindful person and a meditator, it’s important to understand why we do the things we do. It is also relevant to be conscious about whether this ‘things’ support and nurture our minds and bodies or instead they are unbeneficial for us. Close observations of our daily routines and habits can help us identify and mindfully understand the reasons behind our behaviors and how to improve ourselves through our daily meditation practice and its application to the rest of our day.
Recorded on April 3, 2020 during a session on Zoom.
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Background information Bhante Sathi asked about daily meditation practice from the previous day, about observing in what ways we abuse our minds and bodies due to the lack of mindfulness (not captured in the audio recording)
[Meditator] I was going for a walk with my kids, and I wanted them to come with me so much, that during the walk and the time that I was there I needed to go to the bathroom so bad during the walk...so the whole walk was so painful [laughing] and so hard for me. and I thought "if only I [had] listened and connected with my body before going for a long walk, that would have not happened. So I notice that I have to be a little bit more in tune with myself when I'm with my kids, rather than wanting them to be with me all the time or wanting to do stuff with me. [Sathi] Good observation. So do you have [a] solution for next time?
[Meditator] Next time I go to the bathroom [laughing] I connect with myself first, and then whoever wants to come with me, great...and whoever doesn't want to come for a nice walk that's fine too.
[Meditator] I have noticed that there's two things or three things that I wrote down, well two that I wrote down and one that I noticed this morning, and it relates to the previous practice also, regarding habits and how we tend to abuse our mind and our body based on those habits. One of the things I have noticed is with food, where so many times...and it has taken me a while to realize of this...there so many times that we eat out of habit, or anxiety, stress, boredom, to be social, to fit in, to comply with subconscient cultural normatives or family traditions; and to know when you are hungry truly [that's the challenge].
Who says that you have to have breakfast when you get up? Who says that you have to have lunch at noon? Who says that you have to eat a big meal at dinner? And that's the norm for how I grew up. So, the interesting thing is that by me trying to be aware of that and trying to change those habits (yeah I don't need to eat that much [laughing] is so interesting when you actually observe yourself: "If you are hungry, go and drink water, if you are still hungry after you drink water then you are hungry...maybe? [laughing]).
But, the interesting thing is how that tends to influence the people around you...because I noticed my husband is being a bit more aware of eating when he's actually hungry not when someone else is eating...and he's realizing: "oh, at work I just ate because I just feel the smell of people's food, and it makes me feel that I'm hungry, but I'm not really hungry". So he's actually [now] having lunch at 2[pm] without having any breakfast. It's so interesting how we just put food in our mouth, sometimes even to please someone...if someone made a big meal and you want them to like you and you like them, and you don't want to make them feel bad and been ungrateful supposedly...It's very interesting all the different dynamics around food, for example.
[Sathi] Thank you for sharing that. Now, actually, when Faye was talking and sharing, she was saying how we are abusing our body because of the need of the mind, of your desire. And you have [the] desire to go for a walk with your kids, and then sometimes you don't want to tell others our discomfort, and because of that, we abuse our body. In your case Evelyn you were talking about, because of the desire for taste how we are abusing again our body...Anybody else wants to say anything about the practice from yesterday?
So Kim, yesterday after meditation, now with daily meditation I'm trying to give us a daily goal, the daily goal is [for] that given day focusing on one thing to learn about us. Yesterday our daily practice was noticing how we are abusing our body or mind because of emotions, or because of our desire, or because of our habits...or because of something else. Like an example, I mentioned sometimes we have [the] desire to watch a movie then you stay up late and you are rubbing your eyes, and still you are staying up because you have [the] desire to finish it, you desire to know what's the end. But you are abusing your body, or you are abusing your mind... that's why people get stressed about [their] job and you are abusing your mind. But as a mindful person, just notice those things, training our mind to catch the way how we are abusing ourselves...that was the practice for yesterday.
[Meditator] I was just reflecting, and I did this morning. What I observed yesterday was that I'm spending more time than I think is beneficial, reading about all the different aspects of this virus going around. And I was reflecting: "What is it that draws me? What is it?". I'm not feeling particularly anxious about it in any way, I'm respectful (I suppose) of it, but not anxious. But it's like I have this desire to want to just know everything, and it was interesting to just be in touch with it. "Why do I have this desire to know so much about it?". Because I don't think it's something that is informing me, to be beneficial for myself or someone else, it's way beyond that.
[Sathi] I'm glad you catch it!
[Meditator] Me too! [laughing]
[Sathi] That's the trouble of ourselves. Just think about how much [the] market has [been] designed due to those weaknesses [unintelligible statement] they are looking for certain satisfaction. Sometimes we are looking for something, we want to know certain things [but] there's no benefit of knowing it.
[Meditator] Yeah, exactly [laughing]
[Sathi] Even in that particular time, and sometimes we can do something tomorrow but we are trying to finish this day before night but there's no reason. If somebody asks: "why do you want to finish it now?" and you say "well, I'd like to finish this". Even the movie "why do you want to finish this now, can't you finishing watching tomorrow? No, I want to finish it now". I mean, there are certain things there are benefits on doing it 'now', but there are some other things there's nothing you lose by postponing them.
[Meditator] Yeah, and it isn't that I was observing that I was somehow not...I mean I didn't feel like I was denying myself something that I wanted to be doing more important, but it just felt like it's of no benefit to me...and so why do I drift there...so I want to be more content of letting go, it doesn't serve me in any way. It's not like it's hurting me, other than it's just not particularly benefiting from spending so much time on.
[Sathi] Thank you, Ralph. So I think…why don't we again do the same practice today? Just be mindful [of] the way how am I abusing my mind or my body, or something else...just notice it.
[Meditator] There's a lovely opinion piece in this morning's newspaper, regarding Emily Dickenson, the poet, very much around...she had isolated herself in her own home, and just basically become a hermit. I mean, she'd have visitors occasionally but it was about how the author [explains that this] allowed her to become so much more mindful of everything of every detail, of which he wrote her poems around [the] details of movement and light. So, just reminded me "here's a time for"...and the author of the article was about: "this is the time we can do that, we have this time we can... we are more drawn into our own homes and how we use that time". So, it was again, reflecting about how I use my time for useless things instead of things that'd really benefit me. It was a good article if anybody has the paper access.
[Sathi] So which paper, Ralph?
[Meditator] It was the Minneapolis Star Tribune, an opinion piece, [a] very well written article. Reference link to the article cited above: A lesson in self-isolation from Emily Dickinson" https://www.startribune.com/a-lesson-in-self-isolation-from-emily-dickinson/569333692/.