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Monthly Archives: July 2014

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Thich Nhat Hanh says, “I am convinced that there is no way to peace; peace is the way.

In the current conflict in Gaza, my heart is deeply moved by the massacre of so many children, the destruction of hospitals, schools, a UN refuge.

For centuries, many have tried to use bombs, killing, fear and destruction in the name of peace, in the name of preserving security, religious rights, in the name of God.

How can we continue to murder to end murder, destroy to end destruction, bomb to stop bombing?

I try to practice to bring peace to the world first by bringing it to this heart that is tempted to judge, to blame, to cry out to stop the violence.

Instead I will breathe, relax, gather friends to do walking meditation before we join the march to the White House on Saturday, August 2.

Join us at Farragut North at noon if you also need to cultivate peace in your heart, peace in every step, peace in the world.

 

 

 

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6:00am is a delicious time be outdoors doing Qi Gong, breathing in fresh air, delighting in the sunlight beginning to filter through the trees.  This morning I noticed a beautiful spider web in front of me as I did Sunlight Qi Gong.  Then, in a second, a bird flew through one of the tender strands of the web and it was gone.  I felt so privileged to be there to notice the beautiful web before it disappeared.  I thought of all the work the spider must have put into building it, only to lose it in an instant….and probably begin weaving another.

Each moment is truly filled with miracles if we take the time to notice them.  Mindfulness practice is not “just sitting and meditating” says Thich Nhat Hanh in Your True Home.  “Practice is looking, thinking, touching, drinking, eating, talking.  Every act, every breath, and every step can be mindfulness practice and can help us to become more ourselves.”

Thank you leaves, dew drops, spiders, webs, sunlight, for being my practice teachers this morning.   Mosquitoes too.

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On Sundays, my husband and I have private Days of Mindfulness if we are not attending one with a sangha.  This is a chance to enjoy more silence, meditation, Qi Gong, walks, naps, reading and mindful eating, sharing and living together.  Yesterday my two themes were resting my bronchitis and looking more deeply into my use of technology.  I read the first three articles in the new Mindfulness Bell – “The Horse is Technology” by Thich Nhat Hanh, “Intention, Innovation, Insight: A Day of Mindfulness at Google by Sister Chan Hien Nghiem and “I Love Technology by Kenley Neufeld.

Thay says that technology can become a “horse” that carries us away, a tool that we’ve allowed to drive us rather than as useful way to relieve our suffering and that of others.  He describes a day of mindfulness he and the monks and nuns held at Google, to try to help them use their slogan of “Intention, Innovation and Insight” to connect to the four nutriments (contact, attention, feelings, perception and volition). “Some of us use technology to consume, in order to forget the suffering in us, the same way that we sometimes use edible food, not because we need it, but because we want to forget the suffering in us.”

That is sometimes true for me, that being on the computer, checking to see if someone has emailed me can be addictive, a way to seek stimulation, excitement, something moving me from outside. I have successfully resisted getting an I-phone, so that I can keep my calls and internet use to a minimum.  But don’t we also need contact, stimulation, ideas from other people? My need for reading is very high, perhaps higher than most people’s need to read, especially spiritual books and novels. I do need quiet, time alone every day,  these lovely morning hours when I write whatever is on my mind, establish a strong spiritual connection with my higher powers, with the Buddha, dharma, sangha, meditate and do Qi Gong.  I spend a great deal of time practicing to relieve my suffering and finding words that will help relieve the suffering of others. When I am disturbed, I now know to be quiet, to meditate, to look at the source within myself of my little suffering and share it with someone who can help. I can sit and absorb nature, enjoy doing nothing, take long walks in the woods, swim, bike, staying connected to beauty.

But I also get tired of mindless chatter, especially being ‘stuck’ in a superficial social situation. Picking up a good book can be a signal that I want to be alone, focused, learning. Perhaps – as with most things, it is a challenge of the “middle way,” of balance.  I’m not at all afraid of being alone any more, of looking deeply into my own suffering. I don’t feel that I really suffer very often at all. This little bout of bronchitis is hardly much suffering. It’s annoying, keeps me from the level of energy where I feel creative, useful, so I need to find deeper acceptance and love of myself and others. But suffering? When I have such a loving husband taking care of me, a sangha, many friends and the dharma, which tells me that “this, too, shall pass.”   Although I have suffered greatly in my life and learned wonderful lessons from suffering, I’m no longer a woman who suffers much at all. I’ll miss my children very much when they move half way around the world in two weeks, but I know I’m never really separated from them.  What more could a woman want in life than what I already have and am?

So, I’m at a place in my life where I mostly need to focus my attention more on those who are suffering.  That’s where the technology can be a powerful tool if used not to distract, avoid or drown our suffering but be a real means of communication with others. I loved Kenley’s article – “I LOVE technology, I value technology, I embrace technology!” Very upbeat and positive, a dynamic article that speaks to the youth of the 21st century. The article by Sr. True Dedication talked about the great “dharma sharing” Thay and the monastics had with the Google executives, sharing ideas for how to design technology that can help relieve suffering! Wow! Great ideas for furthering Thay’s talks, creating “mindful eating zones” at Google, creative ways to reach people through technology with the energy of mindfulness.   Ideas like this are the kind of  stimulation I need to become a better practitioner and someone who can be of better service in relieving the suffering of others.