This Monday night's facilitator, Andy, shares:
Over the last month or so I have been all consumed by travel, work and other life events. It has been a non-stop whirlwind of running, running, running with little, if any, time to stop and reflect. Maybe on a couple of occasions was I was able to catch myself and bring myself back into the present moment. Old habits die hard and I found myself back doing all the things I have been working so hard to undo these last few years. In many ways this was me ‘in my element’and doing what I do best. Until I wasn't.
Without going down the path of explaining the history of an old injury to my back let’s just say the last 10 days have been painful and definitely no ‘running, running, running.’
So once again here I am, having just about caught myself (albeit painfully) and again I will start to breathe, take a mindful step, and come back to my true home. Just as when we sit and our mind wanders off, be it for a moment or what can feel like a lifetime, we know (hope) we will catch ourselves and come back to our breath.
The practice of mindfulness can be translated into the practice of remembering. The word ‘smirti’ (Sanskrit) is sometimes translated as ‘mindfulness’, but it can also be translated as ‘remembering.’ Most of the time, we live in ‘forgetfulness’. How easy it is to forget to take a breath, to remember that we are alive, and we are in the world. When we return home, we remember that we are indeed alive and that there is something more important than just getting things done. I know that for me this does not come naturally.
These last few days this Gatha from Thay really resonated with me:
Going back to the island of self, I see Buddha is my mindfulness shining near, shining far. Dharma is my breathing guarding body and mind. Sangha is my five skandhas working in harmony. Breathing in, breathing out. Flower, fresh. Mountain, solid. Water, reflecting. Space, free.
Please, think about your own challenges with the practice of returning home:
1) How do you stop yourself from getting ‘too far out there’ before you catch yourself and come back to the present moment?
2) When you do catch yourself, how do you feel about your own inability to stay in the here and now?