Entering the Real

In the practice of mindfulness of the breath, one lets go of obsession with the conceptual realm of thought and becomes aware of the nonconceptual realm of the REAL. Thoughts and concepts are necessary and important for us as human beings making our way with through our daily lives. However, like a road map is to the terrain, so are our thoughts to reality. Our conceptual maps are just that — maps of the world, not the world itself. But so often we mistake the map for the terrain and live in an imaginary world of our thoughts. Thoughts are shorthand devices that encapsulate an aspect of the ever-flowing, dynamic reality that is always unfolding in the present moment. In a manner similar to a still photograph capturing a single moment of a sporting event, our thoughts freeze our vision of reality and distort it. Our memories of the past and fantasies of the future pull us out of the present moment and into our own dreamworlds. Mindfulness is like a deep listening to the REAL, which allows us to perceive reality as it unfolds without trying to control or manipulate it in any way. This is what makes the practice of mindfulness so powerful. It allows us to enter the REAL.

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