Napa Valley Insight Meditation Message Board › The Power of Mindfulness: Reading for April 3rd NVMG
This Wednesday (April 3) I would like to deviate a bit from our linear progress through James Baraz’s book Awakening Joy and focus on a couple of earlier sections from Step 2:
• How does Mindfulness work? (page 47 - 49)
• Choosing Thoughts That Lead to Joy (page 49 - 52)
The reading can be downloaded by clicking on the link below:
Over the next couple of weeks I would like to review some of the key material covered in the earlier chapters of Baraz’s book. Many of those who have been attending the Sangha the past couple of months joined our group after we had covered a good portion of the material. I thought it might be instructive to circle back and hit on some of the important themes of the program.
This week we will focus on the role mindfulness plays in helping us cultivate greater joy and awareness in our lives.
Mindfulness: Being Present for Your Life
The secret to awakening joy is being present with whatever part of life is happening right now. Over time this leads us to the realization that connecting with our deepest joy isn’t about fulfilling goals or changing particular circumstances, it’s about living in a way that allows us to be truly happy with our life as it is right now.
The journey towards greater joy begins with the development of a mindfulness practice – i.e. learning to be present with whatever is happening in our life in this present moment. We can’t make joy or well-being happen, but we can help create the conditions in which those states naturally arise. Becoming more aware of our thought processes helps us understand our habitual patterns of behavior. When we’re blind to our thoughts and impulses, they run our lives. Becoming aware of our habitats and the automatic ways we react when we’re confused or upset is a necessary step to freeing ourselves from their power over us.
The important point about mindfulness practice is that we don’t have to change anything about ourselves. By simply becoming aware of what is actually going on in our mind and bodies, we begin to change the way we react to the world – we begin to increase our propensity for happiness. Even when we lapse into negative feelings and judgments, if we can become attentive to these feelings, we are still training our minds, we are still growing.
We will explore this topic future during our discussion on Wednesday. I look forward to seeing you all then.