Flashes of Insight: Gateways to Mindfulness

Flashes of Insight: Gateways to Mindfulness

In a sound-bite world of tweets and snaps, where do we turn to find depth? Here are fifty-two gateways to mindfulness that will each take you about five minutes to read. They will provoke thought and awareness, drawing back the curtain of illusion, inviting you to transition deeper. Read them while you are waiting for a train, standing in a supermarket queue, when you are early for an appointment; use them to open a time of meditation.

Read them as they were written: all the way through, without stopping. Then pause. Allow each flash to wash over you, then step through that gateway you have created in doing so, into mindful awareness.

Clutching The Butterfly

Starship Taoists

Only The Mind Is Moving

Elastic Banned

Chewing Old Lettuce

The Stars Wait For No One

Wounded Surgeons

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read an excerpt

Go Wrestle

What do you fear most? I stared at the question on my screen. There was no one here asking it in person so no one to impress with a clever answer. This was an opportunity with no impurity – nothing to distract me from honesty, nothing to prevent me from seeing my own truth. I sat, looking at that question for several minutes, searching through my undisclosed fears – all those nightmare possibilities I will not discuss with anyone, for fear that they would think less of me.

Was that it? I wondered. Was my greatest fear that I would lose status, lose face, as a result of honest disclosure? I thought not. In this world, in this time, there are and always will be people who think highly of you and others who are dismissive of your worth – commonly
because of what they feel about themselves, their own issues that they are here to deal with in this particular lifetime. And those high and low opinions, they will rise and fall like the passing of the seasons. Treat those two impostors just the same, wrote Rudyard Kipling of
triumph and disaster in the poem ‘If 11 .’ For opinion is empty, illusionary – here for a moment then gone with the generation. There are deeper concerns to fear.

I delved deeper inside myself in search of an answer to that most searching of questions. I wanted to get up and walk away from the screen. No one would know if I decided to avoid the issue – if I stuffed it back down into my psyche and pretended I had never seen it. Heck, I could probably even convince myself that I had not seen it or could not think of an answer – at least for long enough to forget while some other preoccupation rose up to distract me. But if I failed to answer it now, it would always be there, sitting like a monk in the lotus position, assuming nothing, waiting until I decided to return to it.

If not this question, then which other is more important? If the time to address it is not now, then when? I did not get up. I sat, staring at the screen, wondering what the answer might be. A vicious dog cornering me? A random madman with a knife bursting into the room where I sat? Staring down the barrel of a terrorist’s gun? I do not know how I would react to any of these were they to happen. I am not easy with the possibility that I might well not conduct myself with honour when confronted with something life-threatening. But I do not know and will not know until such a moment occurs, if it ever does.

So I sat on, finally facing the question I did not want to face, finally taking that question in an arm lock and wrestling with it, finally stepping past my fear of the answer in my determination to know what that answer was.

Tell me your name, I might have cried, as did the biblical Jacob, when he wrestled with that unknown man through the night. On they fought, grappling with each other until the sun began to rise over the horizon. Sweat drenched and ragged, battled to the dirt in the weariness of it, the unnamed man touched Jacob in the hollow of his thigh, such that for the rest of his years he limped, always reminded of his greatest battle. Every external conflict he ever faced during his long life after that was as nothing, a mere distraction from the great business of discovering and naming the man. Finally, when they were done, just as the sun’s rays licked at their feet, the assailant left him, and Jacob knew he had wrestled with God.

And me? Oh yes I got my answer, sitting in front of the screen. I even typed it, watching the letters form a single word that I looked at long and deep, touched in the hollow of my own thigh by the awareness that I had gained. And no, I will not be sharing the answer with you today. I have a much more important question to leave you with instead:

What is it that you fear most?

Go wrestle.

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