If you have watched the movie SHREK, you might remember the scene where Shrek and Fiona took on a 700 miles journey to Far Far Away Land and the donkey kept on asking the question “Are we there yet?”, the continuous questioning drove Shrek and Fiona crazy. Today we are going to learn about questions which hinder the journey of understanding the self.
In our journey of mindfulness, there are helpful attitudes which promote the “not-forgetting-to-be-mindful” task throughout the day and there are questions that are unhelpful. The following is a short list of unhelpful questions.
1) Are we there yet?
This question normally comes from an impatient mind of wanting to achieve something. And that is not what mindfulness is about. Mindfulness is about being aware of what’s happening in the mind and body without interference and with right attitude so that one can slowly gather data and learn about the mind and its workings. What you can do instead is to take note of the presence of an impatient mind.
2) So, What’s Next?
This question is about wanting to go towards the future being unwilling to be present to what is happening right now. In fact, this mindset is a fix-it mindset which wants to get a solution rather than learn about oneself. What is important in such cases is to check how you are relating to the situation, the eagerness that is being experienced and what Right Info could support you in getting some clarity.
3) How do I get rid of this unpleasant feeling/emotion?
This question may again come from a fix-it mentality and normally there is a great deal of anger and aversion being experienced with regards to a situation or person and all you want is for the unpleasant feeling to disappear. An important step to take when this question pops up is not to simply proceed to numb yourself but to pay attention to the feelings only and suspend the thoughts for a while. When the feelings become less strong, you can revisit the situation and maybe a fresh perspective may emerge.
4) How long more do I have to be aware?
Sometimes when we are unclear of why we need to be aware, it becomes a robotic exercise in being aware and this can easily bring about boredom or impatience. One important thing to check is the motivation or objective of being aware.
5) How come others seem to be doing better than me?
In our practice, we can easily go into the mode of comparing with others and judging our own progress. In another words, if someone gets praised by the teacher, we tend to compare ourselves to that person. An important thing to remember is that each person’s past conditioning is different. Hence, it is not a race or a competition with others but to keep on acknowledging what is coming up in our own space. After all, awareness is for us to learn about how our mind works so that we can start to understand ourselves better.
We invite you to come join WISE’s workshops to learn more about yourself. We are certain that with the right practice and guidance, the learning will finally lead to the arising of wisdom and understanding in your life thus making your life more easeful and fulfilling for yourself and others around you too.