Here in the Scottish Borders already mid September, with cooling winds, wet weather and the leaves turning rich colours of yellow red and orange, a sign of approaching Autumn which seems to have come extra early this year.
The start of this season is tinged with a bit of melancholy for me. The swallows have left on their journey to warmer climates and long dark winter nights beckon. This can be an uncomfortable time of transition and change highlighting my personal preference for the warmth and lightness of summer days.
Of course as a mindfulness practitioner our training is in acceptance, to appreciate each moment and each season just as it is. However, as a human being I still have a great deal of preference, an attachment to what I would like to experience and a tendency to try to avoid that which I would rather not have!
During the first year of our Mindfulness training we look more closely at our tendency towards preference quite early on. However, it is a subtle and underlying attitude which is helpful to constantly re-visit as it underpins most of our sense of dissatisfaction and therefore our disappointments and suffering. What I realise for myself is that firstly I am a human being, of course I have preference, it is a long standing habit which subtly hides at the basis of most thought and activity!
It would be easy at this initial stage of recognising preference to fall into the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ of not having a preference and beating myself or ourselves up unnecessarily. In this particular case my wish to cling on to the experience of a warm and sunny summer season. So there is an irony within our training and experience; I see my preference, realise that this is perfectly normal I’m a human being with many preferences, realise this is one of the main causes of my struggle in life, notice that, hold all of this in the wider realm of awareness, and, importantly laugh at my dilemma. This supports a softening around such strong ingrained habits then allowing a degree of compassion to arise for both myself and others as most of us are endlessly caught in the creation of our own difficulties. Not only that, but I/we frequently project it out into the world blaming the outside situation for our suffering!
So it is possible to soften around my humanness of preference, I don’t need to be perfect; I can laugh at my folly! (This all may sound complex, but it only took me a few moments, of course there was also quite a degree of not being present and being caught in future-focused thoughts in the mix).
However, I would still rather be basking in the hot sunshine of summer that is how it is just now!