March 12 The Collective Energy of Mindfulness and Peace Generated by Chanting


This Monday March 12th, Camille will facilitate.  She shares:


After walking meditation tonight and in lieu of the traditional second sitting, we will watch and listen to a segment of a video dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from August 14, 2011 on "Awakening the Heart" with chanting and music by the Plum Village Monastics.


This chanting is a practice of meditation in the name of Avalokiteshvara the Bodhisatttva of deep listening. In listening to and understanding his own suffering, he was able to find compassion to heal and transform. He could then listen to the suffering of others to help them also transform their suffering.


Being able to look at our own suffering can be very challenging - the first challenge is to admit we are suffering and then when we recognize it, we are afraid of it and of the despair and sadness deep inside. A friend once asked me why I practiced Mindfulness and I gave him about ten different reasons why it was helpful to me - the one he focused on was the "suffering" piece. And he said "I don't suffer, why should I practice". I remember thinking the same thing once, until I realized I was hiding my suffering, pretending it wasn't there, and running away from it. The practice as Thay says is "not to run away from suffering but to hold it dearly and it will show you the way of transformation and healing."


When the monastics chant this meditation they are chanting "with mindfulness and the energy of concentration and compassion."  As we listen to them chant we may notice that this collective energy of mindfulness and peace may "penetrate into our bodies and release tension and reduce pain" allowing us to feel more peaceful.  


After the chanting we will have time to reflect on how it may have helped us come back to our breath and release pain and tension in our bodies and suffering in our hearts, and to also share our experiences with other ways we might find to ease our suffering and find peace.


I look forward to seeing you all and to the collective energy of this sangha as I know together we bring more peace and compassion to the world.


Much love, Camille