Sunday, February 2, 2014

Right Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh has so many beautiful readings and practices on Right Mindfulness.  We began class this month with one of his guided mediations which is also our song for the month:

In, Out
Deep, Slow
Calm, Ease
Smile, Release
Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

He highlights the importance of this step on the noble eightfold path and says, "To cultivate mindfulness in ourselves if to cultivate the Buddha within, to cultivate the Holy Spirit." (pg. 64, The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings)  He talks about the trait of attention as being either appropriate - "when we dwell fully in the present moment," or inappropriate - "when we are attentive to something that takes us away from the here and now."  He goes on to say, "Right mindfulness accepts everything without judging or reacting. It is inclusive and loving.  The practice is to find ways to sustain appropriate attention throughout the day."  Our practice in class this month will be to do just that by listening to Thay's words and exploring the many aspects of the practice of yoga, delighting in the opportunities to be inspired into Right Mindfulness both on and off the mat.

Thay goes on to outline the Seven Miracles of Mindfulness: (pgs. 65-67)

1)  "to be present and be able to touch deeply the blue, sky, the flower, and the smile of our child."

2)  "to make the other present, also (the blue sky, the flower, our child)."

3)  "to nourish the object of your attention."

4)  "to relieve the other's suffering."  He says, "To love means to nourish the other with appropriate attention."

5)  "looking deeply." "Because you are calm and concentrated, you are really there for deep looking.  You shine the light of mindfulness on the object of your attention, and at the same time you shine the light of mindfulness on yourself."

6)  "understanding." "Understanding is the very foundation of love. When you understand someone, you cannot help but love him or her."

7)  "transformation." "When we practice Right Mindfulness, we touch the healing and refreshing elements of life and begin to transform our own suffering and the suffering of the world."

We embrace our entire practice with Right Mindfulness.  We practice it all the time in yoga class.  Beginning class with awareness of our breath and body.  Awareness of how relaxing and softening our body allows space for more breath.  And, conversely how deepening the breath invites the body to soften and open more.  With our eyes closed we can see more deeply within.  We can contemplate our divine light.  The more deeply with breathe, the more we let go of attachments and aversions and relax our body and mind, the more space we open in the body and realize our amazing inner resources.  Our divine light.  Our connection to the divine.  Our wisdom.  Our intuition.

We cultivate the practice of mindfulness of breath and body, mindfulness of our own thoughts and feelings, mindfulness of others, and mindfulness of the beauty of nature in order to bring healing and transformation to our suffering and remember our deeper inner peace, our sacchittananda.  Last month, while practicing Right Diligence, trying to be inspired to stay on the path by tasting the sweetness of the practice through our daily Love Meditation and pranayama.  We chanted to be reminded of our sacchittananada - our truth, wisdom, bliss.  The eternal space deep inside us that is always holding us whether we are celebrating joy or whether we are struggling in our suffering.  We are not alone.  Our connection to to the earth when doing supine poses or centering while sitting on the floor or doing child pose are moments we can feed that remembrance, being mindful of our connection to the earth.  We are always held.  (Just accidentally made a typo and saw how close held is to healed : )  We need to remember that.  We are held by the earth, by divine spirit, by the truth, wisdom, bliss inside ourselves which is a reflection of the divine spirit all around us.

Right Diligence took us into uncovering this presence within, this light, and believing in ourselves that we all have it in us.  Right Mindfulness invites us to always remember.  To see it in ourselves and to see it in the other.  To remember our own light, the light of our loved ones, the light of our friends, the light of the people who serve us at the grocery store or the gas station, and even the light of those who have caused us to suffer.  We can be so thankful that we have a practice and a community to support us in remembering and shining our light.  We realize that those who cause suffering have not encountered the way to transform their suffering and move in the direction of liberation, nor have they felt the holding of earth and spirit nor encountered good spiritual friends to help them see their light.  We are not separate from each other. For, we also cause others to suffer.  Our Right Diligence and Right Mindfulness keeps us paying attention to our bodies, breath, feelings, and thoughts so that we are aware of our own suffering and the root causes and how that manifests sometimes into reacting / acting out and causing others to suffer.  So from the awareness of suffering and the challenges of our lives, we can go deeper into our inner resources, come out of ourselves more to see we are not the only ones suffering this way and ask for help, we can go deeper into our own healing to find an even stronger source of light, to recognize on an even deeper level how we are held and find healing in the holding.

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