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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Miracle of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the miracle by which we master and restore ourselves. Consider, for example: a magician who cuts his body into many parts and places each part in a different region--hands in the south, arms in the east, legs in the north, and then by some miraculous power lets forth a cry which reassembles whole every part of his body. Mindfulness is like that--it is the miracle which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.

-Thich Nhat Hanh, "Miracle of Mindfulness"

James's comment: This is exactly what I need to hear today after yesterday's depression and feeling not very spiritual. "Mindfulness is the miracle by which we master and restore ourselves."

The Buddha said the following regarding mindfulness which is recorded in the Sutta Satipatthana:

According to the text, it is 'the direct path to the attainment of purity, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the end of pain and grief...for the realization of nibbana'.

Present moment, wonderful moment, Only moment.

I had a beautifully healing meditation this morning. I was at peace and in the moment with each sweet breath. I was feeling deep and calming interconnectivity to you all, the great teachers, the countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and everything that exists and does not exist. I knew that many of you are in a good place and since I am apart of you then I am in that good place as well. My feeling of isolation and fear was just that -- fear. I was safe and grounded all a long. I just needed the bell of mindfulness to clear away the fog and leave the bright reality of the clear and present mind behind.

Speaking of the mindfulness bell I was listening to a dharma talk by Thay after my meditation. I was especially struck with his gatha about inviting the bell. It goes like this:

Body, space and mind in perfect Oneness.
I send my heart along with the sound of this bell.
May the hearers awaken from their forgetfulness and transcend the path of anxiety and sorrow.

Upon hearing the bell the hearer is to say to themselves:

I listen, listen deeply this wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.

I substituted my name in with the gatha about inviting the bell to go like this:

Body, space and mind in perfect Oneness.
I send my heart along with the sound of this bell.
May James awaken from his forgetfulness and transcend the path of anxiety and sorrow.

This was a powerful revelation for me. I've "heard" this gatha before but I had not truly heard it with the ears of mindfulness until now.

The other teaching that is critical to our/my progress is that of impermanence (thanks Gareth for the reminder). Expecting to climb the mountain of samsara without thinking I would be blown around in the wind from time to time is to live and attach to a delusion.

Just because I have experienced a strong wind during one moment along this path does not mean that all moments will be windy. I must push on and realize that the wind will eventually die down. Just because I experience a gust of wind does not mean I should throw the entire path away and turn back.

-Peace to all beings-

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Nacho said...

James, wonderful post. Sorry to hear you were feeling in the doldrums. Sometimes all we get is wind! : ) Truly, sometimes it feels as if stuff we don't like keeps coming. I'm thankful for the practice because it saves me from much. It sounds like it did you too! : ) Those gathas are such a part of my life, I recite them almost daily, and putting your name in it is a wonderful idea. My best regards to your sangha brothers and sisters in Colorado! All the best to you James,


Beth said...

james: it sounds like your practice is really getting you through this rough patch. it was encouraging to read this post. and thank goodness for thay's loving spirit. it has helped me through many times.

"James" said...

Nacho: Thank-you my dear friend. I am thankful for the practice too.

I'd still be lost in the darkness without it. I too take great refuge in gathas and mantras. They really help me bring my breath back to myself not only during meditation but through out the day.

Thanks for the well wishes to my sangha. I send my regards to your sangha as well. I take great refuge in the blangha as well as the universal sangha of awakenment as well.

Kimberly: Yes, my practice is really a major help to me in dealing and living with my illness.

I can actually come to a place of being "at one" with the "pain" so that it no longers turns into suffering as much.

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