Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

When we are forced to wait, say in a traffic jam, our instinct is to do something to distract ourselves from the discomfort of waiting. We turn on the radio, call or text someone on the phone, or just sit and fume. Practicing mindfulness while waiting helps people find many small moments in the day when they can bring the thread of awareness up from where is lies hiding in the complex fabric of their lives. Waiting, a common event that usually produces negative emotions, can be transformed into a gift, the gift of free time to practice. The mind benefits doubly: first, by abandoning negative mindstates, and second, by gaining the beneficial effects of even a few extra minutes of practice woven into the day.

~ Jan Chozen Bays, "The Gift of Waiting"

I love this as a practice. Especially in those places where you know you'll be stuck for awhile, and it's so easy to immediately get lost in crabbiness and irritation — say, the Post Office, or the bank, or even the bus stop. To take a deep breath, resist reaching for the cell phone, and just let it be ok feels like a radical and revolutionary choice. Because it is a choice, of course. You can get pissed off or just roll with it. And especially during those hectic days wherein a 5-minute delay feels like torture, a real wrench in the plans, what a mindshift to instead look at that delay as a blessed opportunity — yes, even a gift — to just be still for a breath or two.

(Thanks to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review for these brief daily dharma
teachings which have really begun to light my mornings.
You can sign up for them on their website here.)


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