On-the-Spot Practices

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Dear Still Water Friends,

On-the-Spot Practices
April 5, 2007

Dear Sangha,

Mitchell is still away in Vietnam withThich Nhat Hahn. We send him heartfelt wishes that his time be full ofjoyful awakening. Meanwhile, we will gather this Thursday night, asalways, to support one another in our efforts to be present,compassionate, and happy.

This Thursday, following ourregular Thursday evening sit, we will focus on ways that we canpractice when we are not sitting in meditation. We sit on the cushiononly a few hours of the week—at best 5 or 6 percent of our time, if weassume the nearly unattainable hour a day, seven days a week. What canwe do to support mindful awareness of the present moment during theother 95 percent of our waking hours?

In the book, Peace Is Every Step, ThichNaht Hanh describes many practices; for example, treating a stop lightas a bell of mindfulness, washing the dishes as if we were washing thebaby Buddha and adapting walking meditation to the pace of the city.Each of these practices is designed to help us to stop, rest, calm andconcentrate. We can think of these as “on-the- spot” meditations, toborrow a phrase from the wonderful teacher, Pema Chodron.

Duringour dharma discussion, we will look at the power of “on-the-spot”practices, and how we can apply them in our daily lives. We will takesome time to look at our lives to see if we can identify particular,habitual places or times where such a practice might be most helpful.There will be a collection of possible practices from Thich Nhat Hanhand other teachers; in addition, we can make up new ones together.

In the meantime, here is a reading from Thich Nhat Hanh:

“Ifyou want to know where God, the Buddhas and all the great beings live,I can tell you. Here is their address: in the here and now. It haseverything you need, including the zip code.

“If you canbreathe in and out and walk in the spirit of ‘I have arrived, I amhome, in the here, in the now,’ then you will notice that you arebecoming more solid and more free immediately. You have establishedyourself in the present moment, at your true address. Nothing can pushyou to run anymore, or make you so afraid. You are free from worryingabout the past. You are not stuck, thinking about what has not happenedyet and what you cannot control. You are free from guilt concerning thepast and you are free from your worries about the future.” no death, nofear, p. 105

May you be safe from harm and free from suffering,

May you know happiness and the roots of happiness,

My you be peaceful and may your heart be filled with joy,