The content of our experiences is fluid, always changing, always new. And they function quite naturally as vehicles for insight. Of course, if we pay attention, they do so even more effectively.
In mindfulness practice, we bring attention to the breath (or another aspect of the body), which naturally tends to quiet the mind. After a while, thoughts become fewer and with more space inbetween. There is less need to attach to whatever content comes and goes. A common image is that of allowing muddy water to sit for a while, so the mud sinks to the bottom and reveals the clear water. We are that muddy water sitting, allowing the mind to clear up somewhat. Here, we have more of an opportunity to recognize the nature of mind – the clear seeing, space & awareness, pure awareness, capacity for whatever arises in the present. We find ourselves as the experiencer (or more accurately the experiencing), not exclusively identified with the experienced.
This one is more about how the fluid experiences appear, rather than the content itself.
When there is suffering of any sort, I can use this to deepen our empathy with all living being. We all experience suffering in our life, at one time or another and in one way or another. The suffering I experience is one way I am connected with others. We are all in this together. This is a wonderful way to open my heart and find myself as just a regular human being, in it with everyone else.
I find that sadness is a wonderful way to allow all extra to drop. To allow it all to fall, and to find myself held by Existence in the present. This brings a sweetness to the sadness.
When an impulse arises in me, along the lines of “she should …” or “he shouldn’t …”, I see that this impulse is for me. It is exactly the advice which is most helpful for me in the present. The message is for me, not for anyone else. When I see this, and apply the advice, there is often an instant sense of wholeness and rightness. I come home.
At any time in human history, and especially today with daily access to information about the most successful people around, jealusy is easily triggered. I see that when there is a sense of separation from myself and the other, it takes the form of jealusy. But when there is no sense of separation, it takes the form of rejoycing. Only a little nudge is neccesary for one to shift into the other. When I use what could trigger jealusy as a reminder for rejoycing, I find a reason for happiness – rather than suffering – in other’s fortune. Here, there is no end to reasons for happiness.
There is a fluidity in all this as well, between (a) allowing it all to be as it is, with no interference, and (b) a gentle nudge into a shift, for instance from jealusy to rejoicing. Both seems valuable, and appropriate at different times.
The first allows us, and Existence, to just experience what is as it is. The other makes whatever we experience into a tool for transformation, for new habitual patterns to form.