Home Base

(c) Andrew Safer 2014

Stirring the milk into my morning tea, I’m thinking about taking a shower. And then there’s the e-mail I have to send about the project that has been dragging on too long. As I bound up the stairs, tea sloshes on the floor as I head for the shower. Maybe if I start working on this first thing, I’ll get ‘er done. There’s got to be a way to get this behind me!

And on it goes. We proceed through our day, one, two—or six—steps ahead of ourselves. As we’re working our way through the current task, our mind is busily engaged in the next. The ever-elusive goalpost keeps moving further downfield.

When we do mindfulness practice, we check our busyness at the door as we take some time to just be. By relating to our breath and posture—very simply—we reconnect with home base, which is not about this project, that activity, or some other concern. There is basic space that can accommodate our thoughts about the current project, the latest news about Jian Ghomeshi, restlessness, and stillness. One of these states of mind makes its entrance, has its moment or two of fame, and yields to the next. None of them is the be-all-and-end-all. Like meteors, they flash in the dark sky.

When we are not grounded (Mindfulness of Body), we are what Chogyam Trungpa called an “eternal hitchhiker”—always looking for a place to land. Keeping our eye on the goalpost, we speed past the present.

Meditation practice helps us reconnect with home base / open space—being, not doing—and we begin to get our bearings. We might find that starting our day in this way grounds us and gives us a fresh perspective, which we can renew at any time throughout the day with mindfulness-in-everyday-life practice.

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