This is the twelfth in a series of topics from the seminal book on Zen: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. I’m going chapter by chapter and offering my thoughts on the subject Suzuki addresses. You should definitely check out Suzuki’s book. It has changed many lives.
Mindfulness practice is not earth-shattering. It is like water seeping into the cracks in the road and then crumbling everything when it freezes and expands. The power is immense but it takes time. It creeps along.
Sometimes people will start off with huge excitement when they begin a mindfulness practice. They meditate as long as they can every day. They tell their friends about this amazing new philosophy. This is fine, but usually not sustainable. The slow burn after the initial excitement is what is most important. The renewal. If after the excitement comes disappointment over the slowness of the process, the whole thing was almost useless.
Practicing mindfulness should not be something you add to your day as an investment. Maybe you can say sitting in meditation is an investment, though I think this is ultimately incorrect the longer you practice. Regardless, you don’t need to meditate to practice mindfulness. It is helpful to the practice, but the only necessity is constant renewal of attention .
What I’m saying is mindfulness is not an investment for later. It pays off now and later and neither and both. It remains nothing special and yet if you do not renew it you end up literally missing out on parts of your life. Do you see what I mean?
I don’t like to think od mindfulness as something you should practice because eventually you will die. Maybe this is different for other people, but for me this is not the motivation. Life is richer when you enrich life. You enrich life by subtracting less from life. That’s all.
There is no hammer. When you don’t renew your mindfulness practice, life goes on. Time goes on. When you renew your mindfulness practice, time goes on. Life goes on. I enjoy my life more and find it richer when I practice mindfulness. That’s all, really. There is no secret. I don’t feel as though it makes me super or better than other people. For me it helps. It is the same as always, but I enjoy it more. That’s all.