Peace of mind is possible

Life is difficult, the Buddha taught, for everyone. Suffering, he said, is the demand that experience be different than what it is. Of course, we do what we can to address pain. Sometimes illnesses are cured. Sometimes relationships are mended. Sometimes losses are recouped. Sometimes, though, nothing can be done. The Buddha’s teaching of liberation was that peace of mind is possible, no matter what the circumstances.

Sylvia Boorstein, It’s All Happening to All of us, All of the Time

Our schedules….

I wake clear and rested, light flooding my room. The day seems endless and free.

But making coffee, I notice three bills I haven’t paid and after showering I notice I need a haircut, and since I’ll be out that way, I think I might as well pick up my shirts. But I so want to spend time in the sun. So I think, well, after these errands, I’ll go to the park, and then I deliberate which park will be just right and decide on one forty minutes away. Finally, wanting to make sure there is some fun in all of this, I call a friend and plan to meet her at a movie at six.

Now I have to hurry along to make sure I can get everywhere on time. But, thankfully, while gassing up, I hear a small bird and lift my head just as a cloud opens and the light floods my mind, and I drop all my plans like change on the ground.

I laugh at myself. I can so easily become a slave to a schedule I create.

Not one of these things is necessary today. I drop everything and follow the bird.

Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Use breathing to ground yourself in stormy weather

Our breathing is a stable solid ground that we can take refuge in. Regardless of our internal weather – our thoughts, emotions and perceptions- our breathing is always with us like a faithful friend. Whenever we feel carried away, or sunken in a deep emotion, or scattered in worries and projects, we return to our breathing to collect and anchor our mind.

We feel the flow of air coming in and going out of our nose. We feel how light and natural, how calm and peaceful our breathing functions. At any time, we can return to this peaceful source of life.

We may like to recite: “Breathing in I know that I am breathing in.
Breathing out I know that I am breathing out.”

We do not need to control our breath. Feel the breath as it actually is. It may be long or short, deep or shallow. Conscious breathing is the key to uniting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into everyday life.

Thich Nhat Hahn

A simple practice for when you are anxious today

Just the wind blowing: allowing life to move through this moment:

Take a comfortable position,

Now imagine you are in a beautiful place in nature. Surrounded by beauty you can feel the wind blowing around you

Let all of your conscious experience — sounds, sensations, thoughts, emotions, everything — become the wind.

Feel all of it moving and changing, arriving, moving around and over you, and then going.

Notice how the wind takes on different qualities — soft, strong, harsh, gusty, gentle.

Relax as the wind blows around you.

Let it come and go in all its forms. You remain here, in calmness, abiding.

Jeffrey Brantley  and Wendy Millstine, Daily Meditations for Calming Your Anxious Mind,

A steady center

In these days it can be just small things, like the song of a bird….

Sometimes from sorrow, for no reason,
you sing. For no reason, you accept
the way of being lost, cutting loose from
all else and electing a world
where you go where you want to.

Arbitrary, sound comes, a reminder
that a steady center is holding
all else. If you listen, that sound
will tell where it is, and you
can slide your way past trouble.

Certain twisted monsters
always bar the path – but that’s when
you get going best, glad to be
lost, learning how real it is
here on the earth, again and again.

William Stafford, Cutting Loose