IN THE CITY
guard the senses
repair broken awareness
use technology wisely
connect with the natural world.
Walking in city streets can be meditation.
Guard the gates of the senses.
Don't look everywhere. Attend to the need of the moment.
You can be mindful, reflective, and watchful if you decide to.
Life nowadays is broken up, jarring & discontinuous.
Find ways to repair the breaches as they happen.
keep reconstructing continuity & integrity.
Our devices connect us to others.
But too much cuts us off from our experience.
Sometimes take your eyes off screens
& experience real distances, depth & colour.
Nature is allowed no place in our protected life.
This is unbalanced and disharmonious.
Connect with the basic elements of experience.
The six gates of the senses are our eyes, our ears, our nose, our tongue, our skin and our faculty of perception, i.e. our mind sense which takes in mental data. We are taking in information through these inputs continually. Not only are we registering vast numbers of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch sensations and mental perceptions - we are processing them all as well. Most of it we don't register consciously because our attention is not on, say, the exact colour of the rain descending from the sky, but on what is engaging our immediate attention - a train of thought, the movement of traffic, or the dinner on our plate.
However that's all changed by meditation. Meditation enhances our ability to notice, making these unconscious inputs and processes available to consciousness. That's why when you meditate, you notice so much more, accessing a new kind of enjoyment of the senses - see, even, that rain has a colour, and that what seems grey to our normal mind actually contains tiny rainbows and subtle misty shades.
One reason why we don't perceive the world more as it is, as artists and poets do on their good days, is our indulgence in deeply ingrained patterns of habit. Meditation helps cut through the habitual ways we employ our attention when we walk, when we talk, when we look at our phone and sit in a crowded train.
But there are other ways, more direct ways as well. Just stop being so distracted - in everything you do - but let's focus on walking.
You're walking along a city street. It's mid morning, you are on your way to meeting someone in a café. You have to use the metro, cross roads and negotiate your way through pavements crowded with shoppers, couples, straggling groups of tourists and power walking business people. As you walk
…to be continued