Dear Still Water Friends,
Each time I hear Thich Nhat Hanh speak, and often when I read his words, I am aware that I am being touched on two different levels. On one level, I take in his ideas, such as his explanations of how our minds work and his suggestions for how we might live our lives.
Then, under and between the words, there is an energetic transmission, an encouragement, a coaching. His energy says to me, "You can do this. You can transform your life. It is not that hard."
I am always a little amazed at his ability to touch me on this energetic level. Even in an audience of a thousand people, I often feel he is talking just to me and telling me just what I need to hear.
This Thursday evening, and also this Sunday evening, after our meditation period, we will have the opportunity to watch a video of Thich Nhat Hanh’s opening orientation at the October, 2011, Blue Cliff retreat. I find this twenty minute segment exceptionally powerful. At the beginning of his comments, he talked about how we develop the capacity to touch life in the present moment:
The Kingdom of God is not an abstract idea. The Pureland of the Buddha is not an abstract idea.
This flower is real. It is a wonder. The questions is whether you have the time to get in touch with the flower. Then there is the sunshine, the moon, the cloud, the trees, many things like this flower. They all belong to the Pureland of the Buddha. They all belong to the Kingdom of God. To me, the Kingdom of God is available in the here and the now.
If we can get in touch with this flower, we can get in touch with the Kingdom of God. Right here, in the here and the now. Because this flower, she belongs to the Kingdom. The sunshine, also.The tree also.
So going home to the here and the now, we get in touch with the wonders of life, around and and inside of us, because our body also belongs to the Kingdom of God, to the Pureland of the Buddha. Our own body is a wonder. When we come home to the here and the now, we have the opportunity to recognize the suffering, in order to embrace it and help it to heal.
So these are two purposes of Buddhist meditation: Using the energy of mindfulness and concentration to get in touch with the healing and nourishing elements. Using the energy of mindfulness and concentration to embrace and transform the suffering. The teaching of the Buddha is very concrete on these two methods.
Later in his orientation, Thich Nhat Hanh explained how mindfulness and concentration can transform the individual moments of our lives:
We walk as if we kiss the earth with every step. We walk as if we print the seal of arrival and home with every step. This is possible with mindfulness and concentration.
Everyone is capable of being mindful and concentrated. When you drink your water, you may choose to drink it mindfully. Breathing in, mindfully, you establish yourself in the here and the now. You become real and true. When you become real and true, the glass of water also becomes real and true. There is a real encounter between you and life represented by a glass of water. That is a true moment of life.
It is possible for us to live every moment of our daily life like that. Mindfully, with concentration. That is our practice. It is not so complicated.
You are invited to join the Still Water community for this program on Thursday in Silver Spring at 7 pm, and on Sunday in Columbia at 6:30 pm.
You are are also invited to join us this week for a brief orientation to mindfulness practice and the Still Water community. On Thursday, the orientation will begin at 6:30 pm, On Sunday, it begins at 6:00 pm. If you would like to attend an orientation, it is helpful if you let us know by emailing us at info@StillWaterMPC.org.
Upcoming Still Water special events are listed below. Please note that we are offering a workshop on Sunday afternoon, 1- 4 pm, at the Yoga Center of Columbia. You are welcome to attend the workshop, and then return at 6 or 6:30 to practice with us at the evening program.
The best times to join our Sunday evening gatherings are just before the beginning of our 6:30 p.m. meditation, just before we begin walking meditation (around 6:50), and just after our walking meditation (around 7:10).
Embracing Ourselves, Embracing Our World Workshop, Sunday afternoon, November 6, 2011, in Columbia, Maryland
Deepening Our Practice–Bringing More Joy, Understanding, Love, and Compassion into our Lives, 5 Saturday mornings, November 5 – December 17, 2011, in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Living Our Practice: Still Water Fall Community Retreat, November 11-13, 2011, at the Charter Hall Retreat Center, Perryville, Maryland.
|Sun, January 16||Mon, January 17||
Tue, January 18
Gaithersburg, MDEvening Practice at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Wed, January 19
Stevensville, MDEvening Practice in Stevensville, Maryland 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Silver Spring, MDSpanish-Speaking Practice at Silver Spring Library 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Online Zoom Meeting,The Art of Mindful Living – An Interactive Online Introduction to Mindfulness 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thu, January 20
||Fri, January 21||Sat, January 22|