Yes, no or it depends? A mindfulness teacher with a strong emphasis on a scientific approach to practice, Shinzen Young, says that it depends. If you look at a mountain in small enough detail, down to the atomic level, then you will see movement – the protons, electrons and neutrons are continually moving. If we go smaller than this then the proton and neutron are made up of quarks that are moving even more. The mountain, at this level, is definitely moving.
If we took a picture every 100 years and then made a time-lapse film of them, we would see the gradual decay of the mountain over a long period of time. It would erode and very slowly fall apart. Over a long period of time, the mountain is also moving.
We can apply this insight into our own experience. If we look closely enough, at a fine, almost microscopic level, at some pain or other discomfort, we will find some movement, some change. Our perception often ‘fills in the gaps’ of discomfort and it becomes ‘my back ache’ or ‘my stubbed toe’. Really close inspection, with an open and curious heart, can start to find movement in the sensation, see changes and what it really is, namely an aspect of our experience that is always changing. The same can be said for looking at things over time. With patience we can see change. Our experience is no longer just a thing that is happening to us, and always does – ‘Why do I always feel sad?’ ‘Why am so unlucky?’ – and part of everyday experience. Some good, some bad. Our practice can allow us to see a bad time with equanimity and take note of good things even when it seems as though all the troubles of the world are on our shoulders. This in turn allows us to reappraise our experience.
Drop-ins: The next ones are 5 Sept, 3 Oct & 7 Nov 2019 – 7 to 8.30pm at the Dorchester Yoga and Therapy Centre.
There is a new MBSR 8-week course starting on the 1st October. If you are interested please click here for more information. There will also be an All-Day Retreat on the 24 November. Please email me for more information. Thank you.