How to Love:
Loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity are described as unlimited states of mind because they continue to grow and they cannot be measured. The more you practice, the more you see your love growing and growing until there is no limit. The more you practice compassion, the more it grows. The more you cultivate joy, the more joy you will feel and be able to share. The more you understand, the more you love; the more you love, the more you understand. They are two sides of one reality. The mind of love and the mind of understanding are the same.
My takeaway: Yes, I have grown in understanding.
How to Sit:
Sitting alone is wonderful. Sitting with a friend makes meditation easier. There is a Vietnamese phrase that goes like this: “When you eat rice, you need to have soup.” When you practice mindfulness, you have to have friends. When we sit together, we create a collective energy of mindfulness that is very powerful. When we sit with others, we profit from their quality of being and we profit from everyone’s practice. We don’t need to say a lot, but we become a collective organism and together we produce insight. When we sit together, each one of us contributes to the quality of the whole. This collective energy is more powerful than our individual energy. Sitting together is like allowing the water in the stream to be embraced by the ocean. When we hear the sound of the bell, everyone is breathing mindfully and creating a collective energy of mindfulness. The collective energy is very supportive and effective in helping us gain insight and transform difficulties. As a practitioner we can benefit from that energy to help us embrace our pain and our suffering. You can say silently, “Dear brothers and sisters in the Sangha, this is my suffering. Please brothers and sisters, please help me to embrace this pain and this suffering.”
My takeaway: I do much prefer sitting with others….
How to Eat:
NOURISHING OURSELVES WITH MINDFULNESS
We all know that sometimes we open the refrigerator and take out an item that is not good for our health. We are intelligent enough to recognize that. But still we go ahead and eat it to try to cover up the uneasiness within ourselves – we consume to forget our worries and our anxieties and to repress negative energies like fear and anger. Instead of consuming when a feeling of anxiety comes up, invite the energy of mindfulness to manifest. Practice mindful walking and mindful breathing to generate the energy of mindfulness, and invite that energy up to take care of the energy that’s making you suffer. If we can practice like this, we’ll have enough of the energy of mindfulness to take care of our fear, our anger and other negative energies.
My takeaway: Wow! If we can practice like this we’ll have enough of the energy of mindfulness to take care of our fear, our anger and other negative energies? Wow! So practice mindful walking and mindful breathing to generate the energy of mindfulness, and invite that energy up to take care of the energy that’s making you suffer. Practice, and invite that energy up. I love this so much!
How to Walk:
THE AWARENESS OF LOE
Walking mindfully, with love and understanding, we can become deeply aware of every single thing on this planet. We notice that the leaves on the trees are a startling light green in spring, a vibrant green in summer, rich yellow, orange, and red in autumn, and then in winter, when the branches are bare, the trees continue to stand tall, strong, and beautiful, harboring life deep inside. Mother Earth receives the fallen leaves and breaks them down to create new nourishment for the tree so that it can continue to grow.
My takeaway: Reminds me of TNH’s nun in London who told me, “Take your troubles and give them to Mother Earth. You won’t hurt her. She will transform them into spring.” xoxoxo
How to Relax:
When you plant a tree, if it doesn’t grow well, you don’t blame the tree. You look into the reasons it isn’t doing well. It may need fertilizer or more water or less sun. We never blame the tree. Yet we’re quick to blame our child. If we know how to take care of her, she will grow well, like a tree. Blaming has no good effect at all. Never blame, never try to persuade using reason and arguments; they never lead to any positive effect. That is my experience. No argument, no reasoning, no blaming, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.
My takeaway: And to not blame SELF either!