Dharma Topic: Identifying with the Great Stream of Life

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Dear Still Water Friends,

DearStill Water Friends,


This Thursday Evening, after our 7:30 sitting, we will practice the Three Touchings of the Earth – a guidedmovement-mediation that helps us recognize our interdependence or interbeingwith our ancestors, our contemporaries, and the present moment. After theTouchings we will have a discussion focused especially on the second of theTouchings which begins:


Touchingthe Earth, I connect with all people and all species that are alive at thismoment in this world with me.


Iam one with the wonderful pattern of life that radiates out in all directions. Isee the close connection between myself and others, how we share happiness andsuffering.


Iam one with those who were born disabled or who have become disabled because ofwar, accident, or illness. I am one with those who are caught in a situation ofwar or oppression. I am one with those who find no happiness in family life, whohave no roots and no peace of mind, who are hungry for understanding and love,and who are looking for something beautiful, wholesome, and true to embrace andto believe in.


Forme, a great value of this Touching is that it helps me developed compassion byde-individualizing me. We all are part of the great stream of life and each ofus inherits energies which we had no part in creating. When I can identify withthe great stream, with the miraculous process of life in all its complexity,then it becomes easier for me to shift from blaming others to focusing on thetask of transforming the energies in me and around me. Each bit oftransformation is changing the universe.


Inthe story below, Thich Nhat Hanh relates how an eleven year-old boy at Plum Village caught a glimmer of interbeing that changed his relationship with his father.


Pleasejoin us if you can.


Weare continuing, on a trial base, a weekly informal pre-sessiondiscussion from 6:30 to 7:20 focused on basic practices and mindfulness in everyday life. Newcomersand experienced practitioners are welcome to share their experiences ask theirquestions.






From Touching Peace, by ThichNhat Hanh:


Whenwe look deeply at a flower, we see the non-flower elements that help it tobe-the clouds, the Earth, the gardener, the soil. When we look deeply at ourpain, we see that our suffering is not ours alone. Many seeds of suffering havebeen handed down to us by our ancestors, our parents, and our society. We haveto recognize these seeds. One boy who practices at Plum Village told me thisstory. When he was eleven, he was very angry at his father. Every time he felldown and hurt himself, his father would get angry and shout at him. The boyvowed that when he grew up, he would be different. But a few years ago, hislittle sister was playing with other children and she fell off a swing andscraped her knee. It was bleeding, and the boy became very angry. He wanted toshout at her, “How stupid! Why did you do that?” But he caughthimself. Because he had been practicing mindfulness, he knew how to recognizehis anger as anger, and he did not act on it.


Anumber of adults who were present were taking good care of his sister, washingher wound and put­ting a bandage on it, so he walked away slowly and practicedlooking deeply. Suddenly he saw that he was exactly like his father, and herealized that if he did not do something about his anger, he would transmit itto his children. It was a remarkable insight for an eleven-year-old boy. At thesame time, he saw that his father may have been a victim just like him. Theseeds of his father’s anger might have been transmitted by his grandparents.Because of the prac­tice of looking deeply in mindfulness, he was able totransform his anger into insight. Then he went to his father, and told him thatbecause he now understood him, he was able to really love him.