Monkey Brain or Mindfulness?



It was a quiet and crisp November day in rural Pennsylvania. Our retreat leader, Tony D’Souza,S.J., invited the group to try a  mindfulness practice. We were asked to be fully present to wherever we walked on the grounds, to be aware of what is, without judgment, assessment, or evaluation. 

 
The Jesuit Retreat Center- Wernersville, PA.
I probably failed this exercise. I gazed at the autumnal sunset. My thoughts turned to other sunsets I had seen. No longer fully present to my immediate surroundings, I  began ranking the best sunsets I had seen across the years. Monkey brain: my mind was everywhere- except where I was standing.


A great lesson though. My default is to make evaluations and comparisons about others, myself, the world, and even what my life with God should be. Knowing this can equip me to wait out a bad day, knowing it will pass. Mindfulness can soften my quick and harsh judgments of myself and others. And practicing mindfulness can help me to experience God- without conditions or qualifications.  



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