Watching Out for Imitation Mindfulness

As we progress with the practice, one of the dangers is that the ego co-opts the language and framework of awareness as a way to create “imitation” versions of the practice. What this looks like in reality is that we are “going through the motions” of practice, talking about it, using the right vocab, but we are nowhere near the felt-sense, direct-experience of what is happening. We’re basically in our mind telling ourselves we’re not.

We want to become more adept at distinguishing…

  • Thinking about it.

  • “Sort of” being with it.

  • Really being with it.

One of the major aids to getting clearer about when we are operating at the surface vs. deeper in awareness is formal sitting. Why? Because one of the main causes of staying on the surface of a thought, sensation or emotion is the fact that we are ungrounded.

One of primary functions of daily sitting is its grounding and clearing function. Our session can start with some movement (particularly if we are in a high-energy or activated state) but should resolve into a deep, grounded stillness (there is simply no substitute for what stillness does to the system). If there is significant activation, we recommend getting in a position with the feet touching the earth (a good chair is helpful here). Also, see if you can find time for a longer session – maybe around an hour.

Pick a place to sit and a way of sitting that allows you to practice with as little movement as possible. If being in your favorite chair allows you to sit comfortably for an hour without thinking about it, that’s what we’re looking for.

Finally, remember that real mindfulness is being with our experience for the sake of being with it. Absolutely everything that arises – everything – has the power to reveal the nature of reality. The pain in my head and the deepest trauma are “not-two.” There is something essential that connects them, which is experience itself. As we connect with this essential stream, what we see about our own experience, and the experience of others, radically transforms and expands.