October 2 Mindfulness and Nature


This Monday Miles will facilitate.  


He shares this text written by Thay, and published in his book Love Letters to the Earth (2013). It is part of the practice of "Touching the Earth". 


"Touching the Earth" is the name Thay has given to the practice of combining a contemplative text with a deep, mindful, full-body prostration on the ground.


Touching the Earth is part of the daily mindfulness practice in Plum Village and in practice centers around the world, and is usually done after a session of sitting meditation. One person is a bell master, another person reads the text out loud, and the whole community touches the earth (makes a full body prostration) at the same time after having heard the text being read. We allow the words to fall gently like rain, and slowly penetrate our consciousness, where they can bring about insight, deep healing and transformation. 


Thay wrote: 

"Dear Mother Earth, EACH MORNING WHEN I WAKE UP you offer me twenty-four brand new hours to cherish and enjoy your beauty. Every miraculous life-form-the clear lake, the green pine, the pink cloud, the snow-capped mountaintop, the fragrant forest, the white crane, the golden deer, and the extraordinary caterpillar-each one has been born from you. So too has every brilliant mathematician, every skilled artisan, and gifted architect. And looking deeply I can see that it is you who are the greatest mathematician, you the most accomplished artisan, and you the most talented architect of all. A simple branch of cherry blossoms, the shell of a snail, or the wing of a bat-each bear witness to this amazing truth. It is my deep wish, dear Mother, to live in such a way that I am awake to each of your wonders, and nourished by your beauty. I cherish your precious creativity, and I smile to this gift of life."

Our Washington, DC, metro area has recently been enjoying beautiful fall weather. Later this month, many of the trees' leaves will burst forth in a hectic explosion of color. Walking outdoors in a park or some other natural setting is a wonderful way to awaken and bear witness to the beauty and brilliance of nature. (If we are not mindful of our natural surroundings, such as being glued to our "smart" phone, the positive effect is diminished.) Tuning in to nature's rhythms is to tune in to our own rhythms since we too are natural phenomena, and nature's rhythms often differ from those of our modern civilization. Thus returning to nature is to return to ourselves and will encourage our protecting it.  

On Monday we will explore how is being present in nature a meditation? How can we awaken to each of nature's wonders and nourish ourselves and others by her beauty?  What inspiring--not necessarily dramatic--experiences have we had in nature?

If you enjoy this practice, you may like to download the full PDF set of 10 Texts of Touching the Earth to Mother Earth.


This Monday, Oct 2nd is a Newcomers week.