This week Mick will facilitate. He shares:
How do we cherish a present moment? How can we come to appreciate the life that we have and all that is here for us to enjoy? There is quite a difference in setting a timer for 10 minutes and sitting in silence versus meditating in the many moments of the day.
This slippery present moment. How do we get to “it” in order to be here, to switch off of auto-pilot. The slippery present moment can be filled with thoughts, with calm, with challenge, with ease. In thinking about it my mind goes back to the lyrics of a song from the 80’s. 38 Special sang"Hold on loosely but don't let go. If you cling too tightly, you're gonna lose control." While these lyrics from a song about a relationship can be helpful, we could use a little more to go on when it comes back to training the mind to the present moment.
Of course, Thay has provided a simple, and powerful way to help us attend to the present moment. In his book Present Moment, Wonderful Moment, Thay writes:
When I entered the monastery as a novice in 1942, Thay received a copy of Gathas for Everyday Use. Gathas are short verses which we can recite during our daily activities to help us dwell in mindfulness.
Gathas are the original reminder, long pre-dating the reminders that people set on their phones. While phone reminders cue us to do, Gathas cue us to beawake and aware. These phrases help to bring us into a present moment, a wonderful moment.
In Present Moment, Wonderful Moment Thay writes about practicing with Gathas:
When we practice with gathas, the gathas and the rest of our lives become one, and we live our entire lives in awareness.
This helps us very much, and it helps others as well.
We find that we have more peace, calm, and joy, which we can share with others.
Here are two Gathas.
Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
and to look at all beings with the eyes of compassion
BRUSHING YOUR TEETH
Brushing my teeth and rinsing my mouth,
I vow to speak purely and lovingly
When my mouth is fragrant with right speech,
a flower blooms in the garden of my heart
Many people use gathas as a way to build and strengthen their mindfulness.
People write them down and post them around the house or carry them in their pocket.
Others write their own gathas.
The practice of mindfulness as taught by Thay is a Coming Home practice. We learn to come home to our body, to our breath and the present moment. Gathas are another avenue on which to come home.
This Monday we will read several gathas and have time to share and reflect on how we return to ourselves to be aware and awake.