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Delight Catching

We are surrounded by little miracles, yet sometimes we are unable to notice because we are lost in our own worry worlds. 

Delight Catching

“How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being, otherwise, we all remain too frightened.”

– Hafiz

I hope you enjoyed the Easter break.  Hopefully you had some relaxing time, and caught some delight moments?  In this article I am going to share how to be delight-ready.

Last month we ran another retreat. It is a privilege running retreats, and it is thought-provoking to see the transformation of humans, some from being frustrated, angry, sad and disconnected to feeling ‘alive’.  Others are just needing time alone to recalibrate and yet others are needing to process acute challenges in life.  In our recent retreat ‘Delight Catching’, one of themes is how we deal with the causes of what we might call ‘delight-blindness’ and how we can dial up our delight receptivity.

We are surrounded by little miracles. In Australia right now it is the changing to autumn colours.  The tibouchina is flowering with its bright purple colours.  In northern Europe the dainty little anemone is covering the forest floor in a veil of white.  Every day, the sunrise and sunset create majestic art pieces across the sky.  On a smaller scale, in our daily interactions, we trust each other.  We signal from our car that we are going to let someone walk past and they trust that we will wait in our lethal weapon. Daily we experience many acts of kindness, little smiles, little gestures, little acts of love.

Yet sometimes we are unable to notice because we are lost in our own worry worlds.  We are lost in what someone has said, what we have not said or said, what is unfair, what is not right, what is not done, and so on.  We are lost in ‘me-ing’.  Me-ing is a ticket to misery.  Me-ing causes delight-blindness.

Much me-ing can be caused by stress and distraction.  Social media ramps up me-ing as it engages all sorts of stressors like comparing and not-good-enough, fear of missing out, fear of rejection and so on.  But me-ing can also be caused by unprocessed emotions, trauma, long-term victim identification, disconnect and loneliness, as well as bad habits like not getting enough sleep, not moving and eating rubbish.

Sometimes when we are in the depths of sadness or despair, it’s hard to see a way out. But perhaps there is a glimmer of hope, a faint, intermittent light that suggests another perspective.  This metaphor is powerful and psychology has taken it up. We have all heard of triggers but glimmers? These are the opposite of triggers. They are the small moments or being open to joy, calm and confidence (in life and oneself). Described to include watching a sunrise, cuddling a pet, visiting an art gallery or listening to music.  They are delight moments.  What are your personal glimmers? Are you able to clear the air, clear your mind, and let them in? Or will you stay stuck in gloomy me-ness?

A retreat deals with all of the elements of delight-blindness.  Mindfulness practice, sleeping well, time in nature, social time and dealing with what is often a backlog of unseen emotions, all unlocks us to start to access something more than ‘me’.

The crazy thing is that the self and its emotions need to be seen and acknowledged before we can let go, before we can let go of me-ing.  Part of the power of a retreat is having time to self-acknowledge what is happening for us and at times also having it witnessed by others.

But there is something else.

I am sure you have seen some of the research on the effectiveness of mindfulness and you might have experienced it yourself also.  It is wonderful that we have the neuroscience to guide us and to support the value of the old Buddhist practices.

The amazing thing is that the one practice both interrupts the default network which is responsible for rumination (or me-ing) and engages the ventral network responsible for seeing the world as alive and talking to us.  One practice is responsible for opening the vent in every way for delight-catching, for glimmer and it requires a dialling down of me-ing.

It is so simple!  The most effective way of interrupting the rumination of ‘me-ing’ and opening the gates to delight, is coming to our senses.

‘Coming to our senses’ means being curious about what the ears are hearing, what the eyes are seeing, what is being tasted, what is being sensed, what the nose is smelling. (Yet in common usage it is understood to mean thinking more clearly or being more rational – but this is not the meaning here!) During retreat we start with a sitting and then Mindful Walking – so simple and yet powerful in engaging the ventral network and bringing us back to being able to see magic, glimmer and delight.

Just the other day I was interviewed on ABC radio about ‘Speech Fasting’, a practice adopted by the singer Lulu.  She doesn’t speak before a concert.  During retreats we practice Noble Silence, an old Buddhist tradition.  By not speaking we cut out the interpersonal dimensions of the moment, creating a lovely opportunity to tune into our senses.  It might be the vision and smell of the food on the plate, the food in the mouth, the food being chewed and swallowed, the taste explosions.  The sense of salt air and sand between the toes, the breeze on the skin, the sun on the face.

When we come to our senses, we dial down the separation between ourselves and the world.  It is the me-ing that is in the way.  Our senses can lead us to delight moments or be the gateway for delight.

Next time when you notice that you are lost in me-ing, self-doubt, worry or anxiety, interrupt it by coming to your senses, right there in that moment.  Note the sensations of the hands, note what the ears are hearing, what is being seen, the taste in the mouth, the beating of the heart, the movement of the body as it is being breathed.  See what happens.

And please let me know….

With love


If you are needing assistance with mindfulness, start with our free resources on our website: https://themindfulnessclinic.com.au/resources/

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