Mindfulness Meditation
    • Learning how our mind creates our world

Living in Harmony With Reality

by on 06 October

Six years ago, I established a website on mindfulness meditation and chose a tagline to explain what it was about. After dozens of tries, I think I’ve finally got it. The new tagline is Living in Harmony with Reality.


The dictionary defines harmony as music producing “chords and chord progressions, especially as having a pleasing effect”. An alternate definition refers to “agreement or concord”. Harmony, therefore, refers to a situation where there is no difficulty, no resistance, striving or wishing. Everything belongs. A situation which not only has nothing wrong with but can be pleasant. While this is quite an ideal way to live our lives, it is the path we set ourselves upon when we begin a practice of daily meditation. To live as best we can with the reality of the moment, the reality of our life.


In meditation, we practice focussing on reality - the physical sensation of breathing, for example - and gently let go of thinking and thoughts which are not reality but just concepts and stories we tell ourselves.


Through meditation, we train our mind so that - in our dally life - we are more aware of what’s happening in our inner life and we can respond to events with greater understanding of our mind and heart. Most importantly, we learn to feel the tension in the body of negative emotions and investigate the negative thoughts which cause the emotions.


The strongest negative emotions we all experience are irritation leading to anger, or anxiety. Emotions are extremely useful because they warn us of possible danger or injustice, but we don’t want to let them send us into habitual, unconscious reactions - thoughts, speech or behaviour - which are harmful to us or others.


We all have emotional baggage we picked up in our lives, unhelpful habits which we act out under certain conditions. These are just the result of our particular conditioning. Through increasing awareness, we can learn to recognize these negative habits, honestly describe them to ourselves, acknowledge what’s happening in the moment and - like a parent with an upset child - just hold them in awareness until they subside. The practice of awareness is healing.


Every time we recognize and befriend these negative emotions - the results of karma we have experienced during our life - we weaken their traditional power over us,


In this way, we very slowly train ourselves to live with greater wisdom, in greater harmony with whatever difficulties arise in our life: heavy traffic; an argument; an unpleasant memory; a traumatic event; a parent, child, partner, friend or job not meeting our expectations.


It’s not easy to live this way - it takes courage, patience and self-kindness. But compared to experiencing irritation, anger or anxiety, it’s a relief, a healing practice.


We have a choice. We can live with dis-cord and dis-comfort or we can pursue a path of increasing harmony with our personal realities.

Peter Black

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