Where Do We Seek the Spiritual?

Where Do We Seek the Spiritual?

Discussion date: Thu, Sep 01, 2022 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

 

Thursday Evening Online Program
September 1, 2022
7:00 to 8:45 pm Eastern time

Washing the dishes
is like bathing a baby Buddha.
The profane is the Sacred.
Everyday mind is Buddha’s mind.
— A gatha by Thich Nhat Hanh

Dear Still Water Friends,

I have been traveling a lot lately and have been considering how I can travel as a pilgrim, open to the sacred. I think of a pilgrimage as a journey one makes to gain a deeper connection to self, nature, and all of life. This intention is different from the traveler who is often looking for escape, entertainment, and distraction. How can I travel through my life with reverence and presence?

Thich Nhat Hanh, in his book How to Eat, speaks to the heart of my desire for depth and meaning on my pilgrimage.

Every minute can be a holy, sacred minute. Where do you seek the spiritual? You seek the spiritual in every ordinary thing that you do every day. Sweeping the floor, watering the vegetables, and washing the dishes become holy and sacred if mindfulness is there. With mindfulness and concentration, everything becomes spiritual.

I notice that I move into forgetfulness quite often. How do I stay awake to this miraculous life?

The answer is at the core of our practice. I return to my breath moment by moment and when I forget, I return again. Mindful walking (kayaking and biking) bring me back to myself. I have a tendency to think quickly, with an almost frenetic energy. That is my signal to put on the brakes and start over, giving my full attention to my breath. This brings me back to the present moment.

Recently, my beloved and I have been riding our bikes to the Chesapeake Bay every evening to watch the sunset. As we sit quietly together I feel a spacious connection to this beautiful earth, to myself, and to my partner. This simple habit has nurtured my awareness and brought me joy. This is a sacred moment.

This Thursday evening, after our meditation, we will share our thoughts and insights on opening to the sacred. We will begin with these questions:

  • What do you hold as especially sacred and holy?
  • What helps you stay aware of the sacred throughout the day?
  • What challenges do you experience with this practice?

After the announcements is an excerpt from Thay’s book, The Sun My Heart, and a poem, “Sacred Places,” by June FeirCruz

With a deep bow,

Linda Jackson


Bathing a Newborn Buddha
from The Sun My Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh

To my mind, the idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you aren’t doing them. Once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in warm water, it really isn’t so bad. I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to go and have a cup of tea, the time will be unpleasant, and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and the fact that I am here washing them are miracles! I wrote about this in The Miracle of Mindfulness. Each bowl I wash, each poem I compose, each time I invite a bell to sound is a miracle, and each has exactly the same value. One day, while washing a bowl, I felt that my movements were as sacred and respectful as bathing a newborn Buddha. If he were to read this, that newborn Buddha would certainly be happy for me, and not at all insulted at being compared with a bowl.

Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred. In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane. I must confess it takes me a bit longer to do the dishes, but I live fully in every moment, and I am happy.

 

Sacred Places
by June FeirCruz

The gray on my hair
The wrinkles on my face
The crows’ feet that won’t quit
These are the sacred places of my life.

The pain I felt when I was betrayed
The sorrow I felt when I was alone
The struggles I go through to redeem myself
These are the sacred places of my heart.

The elation I felt when I knew the life beating inside of me
The joy of knowing I am no longer alone
The happiness I felt when I first saw my son’s face
These are the sacred places of my memory.

My hopes, my dreams, my prayers
Of what the future may bring
My faith that is unwavering
These are the sacred places of my soul.

 

 

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Sep 01, 2022


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