Right mindfulness means we know what’s going on.
For example, I am breathing in, and I know that I am breathing in.
That is right mindfulness of the breath.
When we take a step and we know that we are taking the step, that is right mindfulness of the step.
When we drink a cup of coconut juice, in that moment
we have mindfulness of drinking.
We bring the mind back to the body so that it’s present as we are sitting, standing, lying down, putting on our robe, taking off our robe, brushing our teeth.
Our mind is always present.
That is the secret of Zen.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
It is always a pleasure to read peaceful nuggets of wisdom by Thich Nhat Hanh. His wisdom is a heavenly wisdom because wisdom from above is always peaceable and gentle (according to James 3). I am coming to realise right mindfulness or practising awareness to live in the present moment is akin to learning to be fully alive or to be fully conscious we are God. “Be still and know I am” is testimony to this truth. So the secret of Zen is also the secret of knowing we are God. To rediscover the simplicity of living – whether breathing or eating or walking or smiling or putting on clothes or taking off clothes or resting – is also to reawaken to our true self in being, doing and thinking. The art of Buddhist meditation is the science of Christian gospel – both are one, and ultimately labels cease to exist because both share the same energy of love and acceptance as well as awareness of self and others in the perfect unity of humanity and divinity.
I was reflecting that in rehab, hospitals, healing sanctuaries, etc where people convalesce from illnesses and go through physiotherapy, they often relearn how to walk, eat and talk slowly all over again, especially if they woke up from a coma (the book I read recently came to mind – about Brian Boyle who recovered from a near fatal accident). So physiotherapy is actually similar to practising mindfulness – to slowly and deliberately become aware of every little step we take when walking, every little bite we take when eating, every little move we make and so on. In the process, we appreciate all over again our aliveness and our beingness. We feel like God all over again, so to speak, in our keen awareness of who we are and what we are doing. Simplicity of a child resurfaces and we live life in wonder and joy of being alive.
When you walk reverently and solidly on this earth and I do the same, we send out waves of compassion and peace.
It is this compassion that will heal ourselves, each other, and this beautiful green earth.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
It reminds me that walking can be a form of meditation. Perhaps walking is ideal for meditation as it is usually slow and unhurried, and it can give us a sense of walking in a stately and dignified manner (since our true identity is royal children of God). I need to remind myself of this often as I tend to walk briskly from one place to another to get tasks done, such as collecting items from neighbours or buying groceries from supermarkets. I need to slow down at times and practise mindfulness. (I do find slow jogging exercise as a good way to meditate and clear/refresh my mind.)
I just learnt from this video on the benefits of walking meditation, such as calming the mind and healing the body. I believe the peaceful and healing energy will also radiate from us to heal the world.
I came across this video on “eating meditation” and I was listening to the message while eating a persimmon. Many a times I would eat my food in a rather mindless/unconscious way, not really focusing on or appreciating the food. As I was listening to this video while eating the persimmon, I found myself learning to appreciate and behold the smell, colour, texture and taste of the fruit, as I slowly chew and savour the fruit.
I also like this related video on guided meditation on eating food with ecstasy. Eating my food more mindfully and deliberately somehow transformed my eating experience a little bit, as I learnt not to take the simple pleasures of life for granted.
Perhaps all of life is meditation. All life is consciousness since we are all consciousness. As the verse goes “Be still and know I Am (God/Goddess/Divine)”, perhaps the way to be in touch with our true Self is to live each moment – whether walking, eating, or any other “mundane/repetitive/normal” activities – in awareness of our consciousness. To be self-aware is to be God, or to live as God. Maybe that is what Jesus meant by “living by the unforced rhythm of grace” – to be yoked together with our true Self in all that we do, effortlessly and mindfully.
Last but not least, I find this article useful in summarising suggested ways to practise eating meditation, as well as the benefits of eating meditation, such as cultivating the awareness of all things are connected, and I can be grateful for the food I eat that comes from Nature and for the people (truck drivers, food sellers, farmers, etc) who all have had a part to play in bringing the food to me.
- Teaching Children to Meditate: Just Say, “Ohm” (kidsloveacupuncture.com)
- We Live Love Mindfully: Mindfulness in action at Plum village, The hiding place of Thich Nhat Hanh (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- You Are Like a Candle (itstartedwithaquote.wordpress.com)
- How a sense of sacred can help sustainable business (guardian.co.uk)
- Food Meditation (cancerwhattodoorsay.wordpress.com)
- “There is a Cloud Floating…” – Thich Nhat Hanh (moonlightenedshelves.wordpress.com)
- Thich Nhat Hanh: No mud, no lotus. (compassionaterebel.wordpress.com)
- Slightly Off Course (owlsandorchids.wordpress.com)
- With Nature at Honey Horn (theselightfootsteps.com)
- Daily Inspiration ~ November 14th (globallightmindsdailyinspirations.wordpress.com)