Noticing the Conditions

One of the great felt experiences that continues to stay with me over a year after my last seven day meditation retreat is what it feels like to lower the chatter in my mind. We are conditioned to live a certain way. We experience conditioning everyday whether we like it or not. There is a price to pay when we do not follow certain social norms. This is a form of conditioning. I'm not here to preach dogma, I'm just saying that I noticed that when I was on retreat there was a subtle, but fundamental lifting of that conditioning for most of the retreat and the freedom I experienced is something that continues to become accessible when I am able to sit for 40 minutes or more. This is a huge blessing in my opinion. Not only am I able to rest my body, I am able to rest my heart, and mind. When this settled feeling becomes the forefront of my experience, humor becomes the first, most genuine, and easiest reaction to life's minor annoyances. And compassion is easily accessed for those around me. The flow of life is no longer a fight. This is what I hope to experience all the time, but alas, I am still a young student, always a student of course of the practice. What better reason to practice mindfulness is there? There are perhaps more and better reasons, but for me this is plenty, and yet suffering continues to be a highly observable and reported phenomenon in the human experience. It is said in "Being Nobody, Going Nowhere" By Ayya Khema that suffering is something to appreciate because if we did not suffer then we would not be able to achieve enlightenment. We would have no reason to practice mindfulness and wake up to the true nature of human experience. For this I suppose I appreciate suffering, but for now I am still taking her word for it. Ayya Khema also quotes the Buddha who suggests not to take anyone's word for it. Never believe me, see it for yourself. And so, I continue to practice and experiment for myself and as the Buddha suggested, you should not believe me either. Try it for yourself and see if you experience this as well. It may be worth it. For instructions and suggestions read Ayya Khema's book, it's a great one for beginners like me:)