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Monthly Archives: September 2013

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In the midst of suffering from war, death and personal health challenges, our morning meditation and Qi Gong practice enables us to transform daily.

This morning I awoke at 5:30am from a scary dream, one in which I had reverted to old self-destructive, mindless behavior.  I needed to WRITE, to journal, describe the dream in detail.  Then to practice Qi Gong with my husband, shaking out the remnants of fear and self-disgust, turning our Tai Chi balls over our bellies, practicing new movements we had just learned the night before from our teacher.  My mind cleared.  My arthritic limbs softened.   I took a long, slow time with my practice, adding a full Sunlight exercise in the kitchen where I could view the rising sun.  Then I did walking meditation to our porch to join my husband in meditation and in offering incense for all those who suffered in 9/11 and the families who still suffer the loss of their loved ones.

 What would I do and be without a solid morning practice of journaling, meditation and Qi Gong?  Not as peaceful, not as happy, not as energetic to help others.  So, now, onto a day of helping others by working with friends,  spreading the word about our QG class beginning September 18, our Day of Mindfulness Sept 21, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace Walk in Boston and the Women’s Retreat on Self-Compassion October 25 at Claymont Court (flyers attached).  My affirmation for the month is on sangha building.

 Hopefully, the transformation I experienced this morning from scary dream to enthusiatic Qi Gong teacher, the transformation in just a few days of US plans to bomb Syria will bring hope to you in whatever challenges you face today.

 

For more information on the events mentioned, email dayofmindfulness@gmail.com.  Register for Qi Gong at activenet.active.com/takomaparkrecreation while space remains in the class.

Thay with kids

Dear President Obama and Congressmen and women,

Last week in a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh, a young woman asked him what he would say to President Obama about Syria if he were his spiritual adviser. Thay said that the president is not able to act alone, that he has his own sangha, his community. We sometimes think that he has the power to do what he wants to do. On this day of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, we must remember that there are many other ways to deal with problems than war. We need communities of loving speech, deep listening, love and compassion to deal with the fear, anger, violence and injustice in ourselves and in the world. In order to make peace, you have to be very powerful. Powerful with the power of love and compassion, not with bombs.

We are in a moment now, a pause between a terrible unleashing of violence against the people of Syria and possible US bombing of that suffering country. There was a similar pause after 9/11 before the war in Afghanistan, another before the attack on Iraq. In the latter moment, 8 million people around the world demonstrated against US intervention in Iraq. George Bush bombed anyway, causing a decade of great loss of life, culture, economic stability and suffering for the Middle East and for our people and soldiers also.

In this interval, President Obama, please listen to the people of the world who are telling you not to bomb a people already suffering so much, especially since attacking them will not force the outcome you want in this horrible war. There have to be more effective means of stopping the use of chemical weapons (such as really ending their use by the US) and standing up against dictators than using their own methods of war.

Jeannette Rankin had the courage to vote against both World War I and World War II in Congress and to speak out against the war in Vietnam. Who, looking back on the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries, would not want us to search for more effective methods of dealing with violence than war. War does not bring peace. Only peace brings peace. Peace full of compassion, love, understanding and wisdom. Once begun, war can no more be “won” than a tornado, a tsunami or an earthquake. The suffering of every war affects many generations and now people all over the world. We are one world

Child at BCM pond

Need some happiness right now? Here are a few ways I learned to get in touch with happiness at Thich Nhat Hanh’s retreat last week at Blue Cliff Monastery in NY:

STOP….whatever you are doing, including reading this blog, and
BREATHE three times.
Close your eyes and FEEL the breath coming into your body, going out. Ahh!
FEEL that you are ALIVE.
SMILE.
LISTEN to whatever you hear…is there the sound of a cricket? Water flowing?
If not, perhaps go OUTDOORS (with eyes open).
LOOK around you – at the sky, the clouds, the sun, moon, stars.
Keep BREATHING, being aware of the miracle of being alive, in this beautiful world.
Find a CHILD to teach you (like this little girl enjoying the lotus pond or your own inner child).
Keep SMILING.

All the conditions for happiness are available right here, right now, no matter what suffering is also present.
Notice the bells of mindfulness in your day.

Enjoy life, especially your own.