Notice and Return

In response to a question about different forms of mindfulness meditation — Shikantaza ("just sitting") vs Vipassana ("insight") vs Anapanasati ("following the breath") etc. — Jok Hae (aka Keith) on the Zen Forum International in September 2010 suggests:

Any practice that can be called "meditation" has at its core one very simple thing: notice (you are not paying attention) and return (to paying attention). So vipassanna, shikantaza, hwadu practice, Tibetan visualizations, Christian mystical practice, etc., all have at their core notice and return. The rest is just window dressing. I would just do what you're doing. Try doing some different styles, pick one that feels comfortable and then do some practice every day. Sure you'll miss a day here and there, but just do some the next day. Make it a habit, like brushing your teeth. Take it slow, be patient, and be kind to yourself.

... a brilliant reply that turns the entire topic upside-down and focuses attention (ha!) not on what you do while mindful, but what you do between moments of self-awareness — a Zen-like foreground-background reversal. And the bumper-sticker:

Notice and Return

is a mantra that I must try to hold in my mind. It echoes Jon Kabat-Zinn's admonitions about non-attachment and non-judgment. Neat!

^z - 2013-03-11