Living in the Now with Mindfulness
By: Ken Goldberg, Attorney at Law, Podcast Host “Law & Disorder” & former ordained Buddhist Monk
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Benjamin Franklin
“Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow, death comes.” Buddha
The message is unavoidable and simple. The reality is that it feels like more effort than I can muster to get things done today. And so now I will introduce how mindfulness helps me to not procrastinate.
If aging is inevitable as well as death, better start on that bucket list today. And knockout everything else that was on that list because tomorrow may not go as well as today. I do not put off showing love to family. I did not put off making my will and trusts or power of attorney for healthcare. I try to call some best friends monthly if possible and all friends annually or more.
Mindful meditation brings things into focus. It settles the chatter in the mind and allows for attention to the moment. You simply notice whatever arises.
A favorite Buddhist author of mine Maritine Batchelor, wrote this paragraph in an article 15 years ago, “You must also be careful not to equate meditation solely with concentration. It is essential to cultivate inquiry as well. This is the quality of the mind that sees clearly into the impermanent and conditioned nature of reality. Whether you are focusing on a specific object or not, the cultivation of inquiry requires you to look deeply into and investigate the nature of each phenomenon in your field of awareness. Whether it is the breath or a sound or a thought, each and every thing can be seen as conditioned and constantly changing. It is essential that you cultivate together and in harmony these twin elements of concentration and inquiry. Concentration will bring stability, stillness, and spaciousness; inquiry will bring alertness, vividness, brightness, and clarity. Combined, they will help you to develop creative awareness, an ability to bring a meditative mind to all aspects of your daily life. In this way, meditation becomes both a refuge and a training: a refuge into being, and a training into doing.” Maritine is a practitioner of Zen Buddhism but Theravada Buddhism, which I teach, recognizes this as Vipassana (Insight) meditation. Insight meditation is believed to be the oldest of the Buddhist meditation practices.
I suggest we enter the new year with an awareness of the need to attend to the “now”, this moment. I think it would be wise to look at any inclination to delay and balance that against the possibility that there will not be a “later”.
I go to the gym regularly to lift weights to exercise the body and I meditate regularly for the spiritual and mental muscles. I round out my weight lifting by doing aerobic exercise.
Similarly, I balance insight meditation with the Reflection on Loving/kindness. The Buddha insisted that a strong mind should be integrated with a loving and compassionate heart. “May all beings far and near, all beings young and old, beings in every direction, be held in great loving-kindness. May they be safe and protected. May they be healthy and strong. May they be truly happy.” May all who read this have a good, safe and peaceful year.
Information about the Author:
Ken Goldberg, Attorney at Law, Podcast Host “Law & Disorder” & former ordained Buddhist Monk
Listen LIVE on YouTube and Facebook every Tuesday at 6pm (Central Time) to Ken Goldberg’s Law and Disorder Show with co-host AJ Crowell
You can reach Ken at 214-690-7797