Enjoying Our Breath, Mindful of our Listening

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Dear Still Water Friends,

An aspect of the Plum Village tradition that has always appealed to me is its friendliness. Thich Nhat Hanh asks us to befriend our breath, our senses, our emotions, our lives, and the lives of others.

This Thursday evening, during our program, we will have the opportunity to watch a segment of a talk Thich Nhat Hanh gave at the “The Path of Emancipation Retreat” in 1998.

Early in the segment, Thay suggests that we can know whether we are following our breath correctly by utilizing the pleasure principle:

As far as we feel pleasant in our breathing, we know that we are not trying to work or manipulate our in-breath and out-breath. Pay attention to your body and the effect of the in-breath and the out-breath on your body. If you feel your in-breath and the out-breath are making you feel pleasant, better, you can be sure it is a correct way to do it.

   . . . We don’t have to make any effort. We just allow our breathing to unroll in such a way to bring some well being, more pleasure, to our body and to our consciousness.

Later in the segment, Thay relates being able to settle into our breaths and bodies to being able to listen with an open heart:

In order to listen deeply you have to bring your mind back to your body. You have to realize oneness of body and mind.

. . . If you are really mindful, the quality of listening will be good. We call it mindful listening. We sometimes call it deep listening or compassionate listening, because in you there is the willingness to help.

You are invited to join us for our meditation period, the video, and a sharing after the video.

Also, this Thursday evening we will have a Still Water MPC orientation at 6:30 for those who are new to mindfulness practice, or new to the Still Water community, and also for others who wish to ask questions and share their practice. (If you are coming to the orientation, it is helpful to let us now by emailing to info@StillWaterMPC.org.)

Our meditation period begins at 7. The best times to join us are just before 7, at the beginning of the session; at 7:25, just before the walking meditation; or at 7:35, just after the walking meditation.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher