I have been studying Buddhism for seventeen years. Even though a big part of my training has been to notice, to pay attention, sometimes I don’t do that. Sometimes my mind (and life) wanders and it isn’t until I come back to the cushion to meditate that something happens to make me notice. I have been trained and practicing how to pay attention to habits, thoughts, ideas, emotions for almost two decades and still it surprises me when I notice something different or new.
It’s not a bad or good thing. I just notice.
Yesterday I noticed that I have gotten into the habit of spending Sundays or at least a good part of that day, going through my music library and building a new playlist (or several) to take me through the week. Sometimes it involves music that I have discovered while listening to the CBC, sometimes I dust off some old favorites, and sometimes it is a wild mix across all genres.
I also noticed that one of my daughter’s cats has become especially attached to me since she moved out for university. He greets me at the door every night after I get home from work. He yells at me until I check that his food bowl is filled to the appropriate level. He falls asleep across the back of the soft beside me at 8:00 pm after he has spent the evening chasing the other cat around or stealing my yarn work off the table.
Routine. I have been taught that routine can be difficult because if you are in one, you might not realize how much it is affecting your health, your wellbeing, and to break a habit, or adopt a new routine is also difficult. I know there are numbers attached to building a new routine. Some say 21 days is what it takes. Others have different total numbers. I imagine at this time of year, as we wind down through Christmas and head over to a new year, the health conscious (and business oriented) will start flogging the usual pitch to get me moving again. Sometimes those reminders are good. A jab out of the mundane. Sometimes they are not.
My music routine, I don’t want to interrupt. I don’t think I can interrupt the cat’s routine – he has me fairly well trained. My health routine is evolving.
Routine is not so different from practice in some respects. Regular practise, whether it is dragging my body to the yoga mat, or sitting in meditation or mindfulness while preparing a meal or driving home from work, is necessarily repetitive. The difference lies for me in the intent, and mindfulness that is necessary to move past the mindless activity. That intent keeps me rooted in the present moment. Until I fall out and think of other things again.
I’ll just keep practicing.
One of the best times I have found to practise oddly enough has been while having an MRI done. Four more weeks.