Awake in Complexity

complex structure

by Éowyn Ahlstrom

I've been thinking lately about how practicing mindful awareness supports me in handling the many complexities of modern living. In a way, this might sound like a mental leap, to consider how mindfulness practice – the cultivation of awareness that arises from paying attention, moment-to-moment, in a non-judgmental way – can help us navigate the complex nature of our times.

You might ask: isn't mindfulness meant to be simple? Yes, mindfulness is simple, and, in my experience, its positive effects can be far-reaching. They can help us cut through complexity.

Here are three ways I've noticed this happening in my own practice:

  1. When I wake up in the middle of a complicated conversation, it often becomes possible to open my heart and mind to both the topic at hand and to the person I am talking with.

  2. When I am adding suffering to a complicated situation by feeling resentful or victimized by it, waking up to that allows space to hold those feelings, and sometimes even let them go all together.

  3. When I realize that, in an effort to manage complexity, I am moving too fast, waking up helps me slow down and remember that going more slowly is often more helpful, actually.

Interestingly, I wouldn't suggest you try to manage the complexities of your life with mindfulness. Instead, just practice mindfulness, plain and simple. The ways it can help you handle complexity arise all by themselves.

This piece was originally published on Eowyn’s blog, Middle Path Healing Arts, on January 16, 2019.

Awaken Everyday Blog
Writing to inspire mindfulness, contemplation and wholesome living, by Copper Beech master teachers, students and contributors.

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