Arriving in Each Step

Arriving in Each Step

Discussion date: Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

The core of the practice of mindfulness is to come into the present moment: fully, completely, whole-heartedly. This practice of coming into the present is a training of our bodies and our awareness. It is a simple yet deep practice. Most of us are so used to analyzing the past or obsessing about the future that we slide past the present moment, hardly noticing it at all.

This Thursday evening we will watch together an engaging segment from a June Dharma talk in which Thich Nhat Hanh encourages us to arrive in the present moment each time we take a step in our slow walking meditation.

Breathing in you may like to say, “I have arrived.” It means I have arrived in the present moment. In the here and the now. This is not a verbal declaration, it is a realization. You have to really arrive. It means you have to be able to stop completely. . . . We recognize the habit energy of running in us. This step is to stop it. “I have arrived.” I don’t run any more. . . . I have been running all my life. Now I want to stop and enjoy life in the present moment. "I have arrived" has a deep meaning, a deep intention. Make it a step so that you can truly arrive. That is the challenge.

In order to immediately put this teaching into practice we will change our schedule just for this one evening:

6:50 Set-up and arrivals
7:00 Sitting meditation
7:40 Welcome, introductions and watching the video
8:10 Walking meditation: arriving in the present moment.
8:30 Dharma discussion
9:10 Announcements and closing bell

You are invited to join us.

An excerpt from the talk, which includes the above quote, is below.

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher

 


Arriving in Each Step
from a Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, June 3rd, 2009, Plum Village, France

When you are alone, you might like to try slow walking. When you breathe in, just take one step. When you breathe out, just take one step. You can afford to be as slow as you want. Breathing in you may like to say, “I have arrived.” It means I have arrived in the present moment. In the here and the now. This is not a verbal declaration, it is a realization. You have to really arrive. It means you have to be able to stop completely. . . . We recognize the habit energy of running in us. This step is to stop it. “I have arrived.” I don’t run any more. . . . I have been running all my life. Now I want to stop and enjoy life in the present moment. "I have arrived" has a deep meaning, a deep intention. Make it a step so that you can truly arrive. That is the challenge.

If you have truly arrived, you will know. You don’t need a Buddha to tell you. In order to truly arrive you need strong mindfulness and concentration. . . . In order to arrive 100%, you should invest 100% of your body and 100% of your mind. Your mindfulness and your concentration should be strong in order to really arrive in the here and now. If you feel you have arrived 40% or 60%, don’t make another step. Just stay there, until you arrive.

Challenge yourself. Continue to breathe. This is a revolution. Challenge yourself. If you cannot arrive now, when will you arrive? You are a gentleman. You are a lady. And you challenge yourself: If I cannot arrive now, when shall I arrive? So stay there, until you feel that you have completely arrived. The whole cosmos will witness that kind of arrival. You print the seal of arrival on the ground. All the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and living beings know, “This is true arrival.” You have truly arrived. When you have been able to completely arrive like that, smile. Smile a smile of victory. And make another step.

If you can make one step, you can make two, and three. But essential is that you succeed in making the first step, arriving. “I have arrived” should not be a verbal declaration, it should be a full realization. You have to be very mindful of your step and your breath. You have to invest 100% of your body and your mind into making your step so that you can fully arrive. And that we can afford to do. Because we can always afford 10 or 15 minutes to do slow walking meditation.

 

Discussion Date: Thu, Oct 15, 2009


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