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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:01 pm 
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elengil, that is a good clip (the monkey mind clip). Mindful breathing is so important. One revelation that I have had in participating in weekly Sanga that follows Thầy's practice is the idea of walking mediation, in addition to sitting meditation. I find that it is easier for me to focus my mind in a relaxed way when slowly walking, and coordinating my steps with my breath.

Last night I participated for the first time in reading aloud one of the five mindfulness trainings that are the heart of his practice (as modified to fit the modern world, including addressing such things as climate change and toxic websites), which the Sanga does during the dharma sharing the first week of every month (I read the third training). I find it quite amazing how strongly they track with many of the goals that I had set for myself before I had ever heard of Thích Nhất Hạnh or his mindfulness trainings.

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Reverence For Life
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.

True Happiness
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and stop contributing to climate change.

True Love
Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.

Loving Speech and Deep Listening
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.

Nourishment and Healing
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:41 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
elengil, that is a good clip (the monkey mind clip). Mindful breathing is so important. One revelation that I have had in participating in weekly Sanga that follows Thầy's practice is the idea of walking mediation, in addition to sitting meditation. I find that it is easier for me to focus my mind in a relaxed way when slowly walking, and coordinating my steps with my breath.


That is one of those practices that exist(s/ed) in Europe. Many monasteries or cathedrals had labyrinth designs in the tiled floors and monks would walk the labyrinth to the center and back out as a meditation. I want to put one in my garden someday. In the meantime, I have a small portable one - I carved a labyrinth design into a stone that fits comfortably in my hand and can trace the path with a stylus. I do enjoy that one.


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Last night I participated for the first time in reading aloud one of the five mindfulness trainings that are the heart of his practice


Those are (for want of a better word) lovely statements. It feels wrong to ask "is all you do..." but ... well, is that what it is, just reading it out loud? Do you try to memorize them or just read them straight? Do you particularly reflect upon the words? Do you repeat them several times, once each, or does it vary? Sorry for all the questions, I'm not at all familiar with types of meditation where you speak anything out loud (except for the stereotypical 'ohm')

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:26 pm 
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They are good questions! On a surface level, that really is all that it is, the reading of them aloud, and reflecting on how they are applied in our lives. It not part of the meditation, per se, but the dharma sharing that follows the mediation. What the sanga does weekly is an hour of mediation that is broken up into 20 minutes of sitting meditation, 20 minutes of walking meditation, and 20 more minutes of sitting mediation. Then after a five minute break, we do 45 minutes of dharma sharing in which we practice the loving speech and deep listening mentioned in the trainings. During the weeks that either the five mindfulness trainings or the 14 mindfulness trainings (which really express most of the same concepts, but broken up into smaller pieces) the dharma sharing begins with cards with one of the trainings printed on them which are passed around the circle and whoever choose to read one takes it and passes them on to the next person. Then in the rest of the dharma sharing people can, if they choose to, share ways that they apply the trainings, or challenges in their lives which they face and need help with, or really anything else that they want to share. Last week, the dharma sharing was directed to the topic of racial inequities and ways to address that in the world through the mindfulness trainings. I've not heard anyone speaking of memorizing them, though I suspect that some of the ones who have been part of the practice for decades probably have. There is a ceremony that is given yearly in which people can commit -- or recommit -- to following the trainings in their lives, which is not something that we have felt moved to do, though I think both of are pretty committed to following all of them as best we can. There are half a dozen or more individuals that tend to lead to the group on a rotating basis (they get to ring the bells that begin each meditation, and broadly lead the dharma sharing, often by sharing a reading from something that Thầy has written or some other inspiring piece, or playing music, or something else altogether. I believe, though I am not sure, that anyone who has gone through the commitment ceremony can lead the sanga.


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That is one of those practices that exist(s/ed) in Europe. Many monasteries or cathedrals had labyrinth designs in the tiled floors and monks would walk the labyrinth to the center and back out as a meditation. I want to put one in my garden someday.



You've mentioned that before. I really, really hope that you get to do that someday soon, and that some day after that I get to visit and walk it! :love:

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:11 pm 
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Our town has a garden labyrinth. I've never walked it as a meditation. Maybe I'll give it a try. :)

When I took a course on meditation (years & years ago) we could use any simple mantra that had no loaded/personal meaning (good or bad). A neutral word. They suggested the word 'One'.

Voronwë, the quote you posted at the top of the page, the mindfulness trainings, it reminds me of Prayer beads. For some that would be the mysteries of the rosary ( Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious, with 5 'mysteries' in each category). For others it is the Mala, etc..


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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:09 am 
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As far as I know, every spiritual tradition has some form of meditative practice. It may be pursued in stillness or movement, solitude or crowd, silence or chanting.

I attended a teaching by a guest rabbi on Jewish meditative practice. She said that some of the medieval mystics described their experiences of ascending to higher spiritual plane in terms often associated with psychedelic substances, except that she had seen modern practitioners do the same thing drug free. She described it as directing energy to different parts of the brain.

Rose, I found a little garden shop in Maui that also had a labyrinth. The guests were invited to walk it and meditate. I bought a little glass pebble from them with the word truth on it, as a mantra and fidget combo.

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Last edited by Frelga on Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:14 am 
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A garden in Maui.. any garden in Hawaii.. heaven on earth.


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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:45 am 
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Sweetie and I went for a nice "nature bath" today up river right at the foot of where the mountains start. Little bitty company town called New Halem, built by Seattle City Light. But just before you drive into town there's a Forest Service Visitor Center with some cool info on the area and a 1.8 mile walk through the woods you can take.

The start (and therefore, end in reverse) was a fairly steep but straight run down the side of the hill, then a mostly flat walk through the forest, through some open ferny meadowy area, along the river, then looped back on itself to go back up the hill.

It was a lovely, relaxing walk through nature. Not many people, mostly all you could hear was the river in the distance and some bird calls. We also ran across a bit of wildlife - a black squirrel coming down a tree, a little bird landed near us, the flitted off again, and then these fellas:
Attachment:
Stumpy.jpg
Stumpy.jpg [ 166.96 KiB | Viewed 1003 times ]


I named him Stumpy. He was missing about half of one of his forelegs. Poor little guy.

On a log nearby was Stumpy's pal, Fluffly:
Attachment:
Fluffy.jpg
Fluffy.jpg [ 191.59 KiB | Viewed 1003 times ]


I'm usually awful about remembering to get pictures but I wanted to commemorate our little pals.

Posting this here and not in the nature pics because walking along that trail was absolutely meditative in being just aware and present. The sky was overcast and just a tad drippy but not outright rainy so we didn't get too cold or too warm, and for most of the walk we were alone so it was just that wonderful experience of walking in nature, listening to the drip of water on leaves, the birds singing, the wind. It was a sorely needed break from stress.

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:54 am 
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Lovely.


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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:43 pm 
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I realize one thing I forgot to mention is the smell. I was stopping all along the way to just breathe in the forest. It is one of my favorite types of smell. It gets down deep inside and just refreshes everything!

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:25 pm 
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It's amazing what affect a certain quality to the air can have, what feelings or memories it can evoke. A couple times a year when our windows are open there comes a morning where the air is just so... delicious.. I want to scoop it up with a spoon. I don't know what makes it have that very specific quality, but I know it when I smell it.

I hope everyone in that lovely state of California is OK.


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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:33 pm 
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They say smell is one of the most powerful triggers of memory. I can believe it! When we moved to our new house back in 1999, I got out of the car and was immediately overwhelmed by memories of my Grandmother's house that I hadn't been to since I was like 6 or something (that's when she passed away).

It was the boxwood shrub. That plant has this marvelous scent to it - or at least I find it marvelous, but I also may just find it marvelous because it reminds me of Grandma's house. But still, it was so overwhelming, almost 20 years later, unbelievable!

Does anyone (here, I mean, obviously some people do in general) meditate outside?

Oh, which reminds me, last night as I was falling asleep, I realized the habit of counting sheep at night is almost like meditation - like counting breaths.

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Last edited by elengil on Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:56 pm 
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We sometimes do walking meditation in the park, surrounded by 1000-plus-year-old Redwood trees.

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:17 am 
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The most important thing for you to do in this moment is to experience joy in each of your movements. Don’t hurry to finish and go do something else. That is meditation! Meditation is offering your genuine presence to yourself in every moment. It’s the capacity to recognize clearly that every moment is a gift of life, a gift from the Earth and sky.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:41 pm 
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That's a beautiful quote, and a wonderful sentiment!

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:55 am 
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It popped up on my Facebook feed and I was very taken by it.

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:02 pm 
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This is probably one of those modern quotes that gets ascribed to some 'ancient' source, but I do kinda like the idea behind it.

Quote:
One should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day, unless one is very busy, then it should be for an hour.

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:32 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
The most important thing for you to do in this moment is to experience joy in each of your movements. Don’t hurry to finish and go do something else. That is meditation! Meditation is offering your genuine presence to yourself in every moment. It’s the capacity to recognize clearly that every moment is a gift of life, a gift from the Earth and sky.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Lovely sentiment. This is something to strive for.

elengil, I agree about scents and the triggering of memories.


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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:39 am 
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I came across this article on Mindfulness. I'm not sure I know enough/have practiced the discipline enough to fully understand the article, but I found it interesting none-the-less.


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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:29 pm 
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Interesting. It appears that she is mostly (if not entirely) talking about a type of "mindfulness" that is completely devoid of any spiritual component, and could not be further away from what it is that Thay and other similar teachers talk about.

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 Post subject: Re: Mindfullness
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:30 am 
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Yeah, I was a bit confused. I suppose if the only purpose of the mindfulness exercise was complete and total tranquility this could be an issue. I've never practiced mindfulness from a particular philosophy. My goal has been to experience the moment rather than trying to do multiple things at once which generally results in being/doing things absentmindedly or failing to fully appreciate or enjoy what I am doing in the present.


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