To sit with the internal monologue, in equanimity and with patience, with a view that’s unwavering, allows the inner noise to quiet, to sputter out, to still. Not overnight, but in time, with steadfast commitment to overcome the downhill slip of mindfulness into unconscious, habituated believing, we can still the noisiness of selfing.
Our practice helps us to keep from being continuously reborn in old habit patterns. Interior silence allows us to be receptive to insight and allows us to remain mindful of intentions. It empties the mind and, in that emptying, allows us the experience of grace.
~Kathleen Dowling Singh
The act of taking your seat in your own life, which could also be seen as taking a stand of a certain kind, on a regular basis, is in and of itself a profound expression of human intelligence. Ultimately it is a radical act of sanity and love —namely to stop all the doing that carries us through our moments without truly inhabiting them, and actually drop into being, even for one fleeting moment. That dropping in is the exceedingly simple, but at the same time, hugely radical act undergirding mindfulness as a meditation practice and as a way of being. It is easy to learn. It is easy to do. But it is also equally easy to forget to practice, even though this kind of dropping in takes literally no time at all, just remembering.
Jon Kabat Zinn, Meditation is Not what you Think
Some wisdom for our first full week of work, with its pressures and pulls
The pressure and pull of a noisy day denies us the comfort of God. It is a day in which we are buffeted by the world around us and left at the mercy of the clatter and jangle of our own hearts. To be a contemplative we must put down the cacophony of the world around us and go inside ourselves to wait for the God who is a whisper not a storm.
Joan Chittister, One House
We all know intuitively that going outside is good for us, and a growing foundation of science and neuroscience underlies the health benefits of being outdoors. In the 1980s, the secretary of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries coined the term shinrin-yoku for making contact with and being affected—both physically and mentally—by the atmosphere of the forest. Shinrin-yoku translates in the West as “forest bathing” and is part of what I call the green cure: connecting with the natural world to help us thrive physically, cognitively, emotionally, and even spiritually.
You need only the most basic equipment: Leave your camera, your journal, and your guidebooks behind, and turn off your mobile devices. Forest bathing is about being, not analyzing.
Find some trees….Find somewhere to sit or lean, where you can be still for 10-20 minutes or more without being in the way of bicycle traffic, ants, or poison ivy.
Now do just that — be still. Be aware of your breath, but don’t force it. Let the experience come to you, don’t analyze. See what you see, hear what you hear, smell what you smell, feel what you feel. Light through the leaves…skittering or birdsong…blossom or decay…calm or grounded…
Alice Peck, Let Nature Heal You, in Mindful
Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time?
My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.
Jonathan Safran Foer, 1977 – American Novelist
There is a Tibetan saying: ‘When things are difficult, then let yourself be happy.’ Otherwise, if happiness is relying on others or the environment or your surroundings, it’s not possible. Like an ocean, the waves always go like that but underneath, it always remains calm. So we have that ability as well. On an intellectual level, we may see things as desperate, difficult. But underneath, at the emotional level, you can keep calm.
The Dalai Lama.