mindfulness

May 17, 2010

i read a very interesting article in a recent “O” magazine. she interviewed,  thich nhat hanh (buddhist monk for over 60 years ), and i was riveted by what i read. i shared some of it w/my  hubby over breakfast one morning, and we had a great conversation about it.

we talked about how it can often be uncomfortable to *hear* the perspective of someone who subscribes to a very different belief system, and to subsequently reconcile your agreement with something they’ve shared. (does agreeing mean that your belief system is not solid? is there something not quite right about finding agreement on issues that we’ve thought we have radically differing beliefs about?) so, although i feel like i am open and have a passion and heart to hear others, i realized … as i read this particular article … that something in me was shifting. and that the shifting was ok.

that, in feeling a resonance with his words; even in feeling “fed” by some of what he shared … that the Creator of Truth speaks not only through many, but that the words that were resonating were scriptural at heart. no wonder i had a spirit leap!

i believe that so much of what our Creator designed for good and healing and joy; has been “counterfeited” and thus many in the Christian community steer clear of such things. (for example, healthy/whole/organic living has, in my area, often been geographically assigned to a group and deemed a liberal, hippie, godless lifestyle.  but what greater stewardship of both our bodies and the earth He made than thoughtful eating, living and sustaining?)

i found the same thing true in this article. of course it resonated! but i have gently “steered” away from, for instance, the words of a buddhist … “wrong!” “bad!” instead of … perhaps there is Truth in some of his words and let me not be put off by the “package.”

here is an excerpt that i loved,

(oprah commented about the frantic pace of people’s lives; getting to the next thing)

“that is the environment people live in. but with a practice, we can always remain alive in the present moment. with mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment … so many conditions of happiness are available – more than enough for you to be happy right now. you don’t have to run in to the future in order to get more. ”

“when i practice the exercise of breathing in, i’m aware of my eyes; breathing out, i smile to my eyes and realize that they are still in good condition. there is a paradise of form and colors in the world. and because you have eyes still in good condition, you can get in touch with the paradise … breathing in, i am aware of my heart. breathing out, i smile to my heart and know that my heart still functions normally.  i feel grateful for my heart.”

one more!

“suppose you are drinking a cup of tea. when you hold the cup, you may like to breathe in, to bring your mind back to your body, and you become fully present.  and when you are truly there, something else is also there – life, represented by the cup of tea. in that moment, you are real, and the cup of tea is real. you are not lost in the past, in the future, in your projects, in your worries. ”

he goes on to talk about listening, in the deepest sense of the word … beautiful encouragement about being fully present with another person.

and i think that those phrases, “being present”, “mindfulness”, etc … can turn people off.

but i serve a Creator Who designed such extravagant beauty all around; that when i can sit and be still:

“be still, and know that I am GOD.” (psalm 46:10)

… soaking in His creation and in Him, i can know amazing peace and calm. not because the trees or air or beauty or cup of tea brings that to me, but because He does. and when i rush too quickly, i miss it.

i was encouraged by how he described “smiling” to his heart, realizing with gratitude that his heart is strong and healthy. yes! this vessel of mine that He created; i make choices to nourish and strengthen it, and i rejoice in realizing, with gratitude and mindfulness, that He designed me well. to be strong, healthy; to be able to live an abundant life in Him.

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One Response to “mindfulness”

  1. Life Says:

    My daughter accidentally opened your blog while she was working an online puzzle today. I read your Buddhist conversation from yesterday, and smiled to myself about the “hippie transition” I’d written you this morning. Love YHWH’s timing 🙂 I’ve felt the same way: afraid to look at things because I was always told they were “of the Devil” and “lead down the wrong path” and are “a gateway to all kinds of evil” …like Jewish history or any other “Eastern” culture. I was told that Hebrew was too hard to learn, and that Latin was the only ancient language worth looking at because all science is done in it. I’m finding a lot of things “out there” –especially in the Eastern thoughts (maybe b/c the Hebrew people had an Eastern cultural mindset?) to be less Pagan and twisted than a lot of the things I grew up “knowing” to be “true.” My mind has been twisted I’m “unwinding” a bit now, I think 🙂
    No, the cup and the tree and the bird are not gods, but they are proofs of, and means by which to understand some aspects of their designers. There’s nothing wrong with paying special attention to them for that purpose. Like a million other things, to somebody they’re an idol. We know that they can’t do anything good or bad on their own: they’re a just tool to accomplish YHWH’s plan. Again, thanks for writing 🙂


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