Someone asked me, “Aren’t you worried about the state of the world?” I allowed myself to breathe and then I said, “What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help.” Yes, there is tremendous suffering all over the world, but knowing this need not paralyze us. If we practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful sitting, and working in mindfulness, we can try our best to help.
Thich Nhat Hanh
There are never enough hours to satisfy the minions of wants. So close
your eyes and lean into the Oneness that asks nothing of you.
When the calls stack, answer to no one, though you receive them all.
Just open your beautiful hands, born with nothing in them.
You have never been more
complete than in this incomplete moment.
Mark Nepo, The Myth of Urgency
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
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
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
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,