Our focus for the group this week is dukka – the sense that something is not quite right. Often, it is hardly noticeable. Occasionally, it speaks with a clear voice. Traditionally, in the mindfulness tradition, dukka is known as the First Noble Truth: life is not entirely satisfactory. While meditating, especially during walking meditation, a worried whisper can arise in the solar plexus. This is a good thing, indicating that I am bringing the awareness to the embodiment of this anxiety. The first step in the practice of mindfulness is establishing awareness of how things are, from the perspective of the body. As we stop, calm and breathe, more than observing, the mind becomes the body. The breath and the conscious awareness enter into the knot in my stomach. Body, breath and mind are united, cushioning and caring for this ball of quiet restlessness.
If you are lucky enough that you cannot recognize a similar feeling, then you do not need to practice mindfulness. Often we practice the art of distractions, so we do not feel this subtle disquiet. When we sit and walk, simply being the breath in the body, we let go of distraction construction. I have a difficult time letting go of the wonderful, complex structures built and relived over a lifetime. Over time this lush landscape has eroded into a desert and I wander with an unsatisfied thirst. It seems unfair to have expended much of the creative energy of my life on stories that once felt as concrete as this keyboard.
Perhaps, the lucky ones are those who find a nagging lack of ease. Mindfulness needs this uncomfortable stuff as wet clay for its wheel. Leslie’s tee shirt reads: “No mud, no lotus”.