Staying the Response

The best way to capture moments is to pay attention.

This is how we cultivate mindfulness.

Mindfulness means being awake.

It means knowing what you are doing.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

In my Zen life–so far–being in the moment usually means returning from some past or future scenario I am spinning. Focus is on-again, off-again but to awaken into a moment is to know it is enough.

I know what I am doing. It’s difficult not to cling to the clarity. But I remind myself that life is a practice and each moment an exercise in experience.

Facing a moment mindfully confines me to its experience. In focus, I find freedom not fear. Equanimity opens all doors.

Again and again, I learn the value of silence as a response. No one moment lasts forever—no matter its immense presence–silence will steer me to action. Always, it is compassionate.

Maybe I will discover words or maybe silence will stay the response. Regardless, I will have to deal with my ego.

It feeds me one scenario after another. It’s like a movie—it chatters, judges, interprets—tempts me with snark, ever the boomerang response. It believes it knows the future.

Yet, watching my ego’s movie is not without its worth. It softens me toward other egos, the ones that tempt me. They, too, are their own movies.

It makes the compassionate response the obvious one, staying silent until there is something of worth to say.

In paying attention, I learn a lot I’d rather not know but mindfulness gives me something else, too, a reverence for life. Kindness is down to each and every one of us. It is what is bigger in us. Sometimes, it is even silent.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

2 thoughts on “Staying the Response

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  1. i believe everything that happens to us, good and bad, is a lesson we have to learn, a breadcrumb on the path to clarity. we may never experience the satori of zen lore, but we just keep “practicing” as you wisely said.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like “a breadcrumb on the path to clarity.” It is all we have, isn’t it? Perhaps it is ours to learn or accept that it is enough. Thank you for this, Craig, my very wise friend. 🙂


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