Just as physical exercise increases strength, flexibility, and endurance to support the regular activities of your life, mindfulness exercises develop skills of attention that nurture a deep and mature level of personal contentment.
To feel better physically, you can try to move a little more and eat little less. To prevent your satisfaction with your life from being determined solely by possessions, moods, thoughts, situations, other people, and the weather, you can try to notice more, struggle less, and maybe even help make the world a little better in the process.
"I’m really attracted to Shinzen Young's model of teaching because it really articulates a very specific way of mental noting and labeling. And because he’s sort of integrated a little bit of Zen, a little bit of Theravada, and a little bit of Shingon into his model, his way of teaching mindfulness. He’s created a very specific framework that is easily testable in science.
And so that makes it easier for me, for someone who’s trying to dismantle these processes into component parts to really understand, well what is it – how is it that when we’re resting and for example, he has a mental noting or labeling technique that allows us to know and label the arising, the experience of, the passing or the absence of multiple modalities of inner or outer experience."
"Everything else emerges from this intimacy with your own life, this opening into attention. We become the instruments of our lives and become part of the orchestra of the larger existences that our lives in turn are part of.
The same basic attention and permeability are the beginning of poetry writing. Whatever I’ve done in both practice and poetry is a search for ways of seeing and speaking, of feeling and understanding, that draw from the limitless well of the limitless real."
~ Jane Hirshfield, from Unleashing the Mystery of Existence
"There is such a thing as natural community, not contrived to support your fondest wishes but to commiserate with on life’s hard byways. There is no preexisting group out there waiting for you. Real community forms organically, spontaneously. Prepare yourself for it by traveling light. People of like mind are not found in any particular monastery, school or social group. It’s rare to meet others with whom we truly commune. We know that. You know that. Locking yourself into a gated community, pretending you’re safe and sound, is a sure way to not bump into anyone intimately."