The first foundation of mindfulness, the ground of our existence where we bring our attention, is the body. The Buddha wanted us to feel the body IN the body, to feel the breath IN the breath. What does this mean? It means getting to know the body from within the experience of being this body. Not as a concept or an object that we make ‘other’—but from within, from the inside.
Mindfulness is participatory observation—we are both subject and object of loving awareness at the same time. We both witness and experience the emotions and physical sensations that we’re having, simultaneously. The word for mindfulness is SATI, and it means, remember, don’t forget! Don’t forget to relax and allow yourself to simply notice and be here, right where you are—present with what’s unfolding, willing to see life just as it is. Remember to notice and appreciate life happening, life in the form of this breath, this sensation, this perception, this moment!
Remember to connect with your body in walking, don’t forget to stay close to your own body as you sit still, and as you are standing, walking, living, moving around, being and doing what you do. You can sense the gathering [...]
It is a gift to be alive, to be in relationship. Mindfulness is intimate relationship with life. We are nothing but a field of relationship—to this moment, to NOW, to a world that is so much greater than ourselves. Mahatma Gandhi did meditations on being “zero” which were a source of power, enabling him to embrace the whole of humanity, in kinship and humility.
Being zero meant uncluttering his mind and heart, taking time to simply BE, without having to be anything or anyone, just BEING. Then he could show up as a deep lover of all humankind. We, too, can be fully present as lovers of life. This is how we participate in what Dr. King called the “beloved community.”
As long as our life continues, we can be lovers, making love with this present moment, playing with all its rough & tumble—offering our creative gifts and love to ourselves, to each other, our families, to our home on this earth. We can fall in love anytime we’re fully present! As Dr. Cheryl Fraser says, “Falling in love is easy. Staying in love takes mindfulness.” It takes loving awareness and compassion, giving ourselves and each other the benefit of the doubt, [...]
The Meaning of The King Holiday
BY CORETTA SCOTT KING
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who taught us through his example — the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership. On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.
Whether you are African-American, Hispanic or Native American, whether you are European-American or Asian-American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King, Jr. had for America. This is not a black holiday; it is a peoples’ holiday. And it is the young people of all races and religions who hold the keys to the fulfillment of his dream.
‘I say to you…I have decided to stick to love. I know that love is ultimately the ONLY answer to the problems of humanity. I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love.’
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day of service all across America, in hospitals and shelters and prisons [...]
One night at the dharma talk, a student asked Zen Master Seung Sahn, “What is great faith?” He held up his little finger: “Do you see this?” And she said, “Yes.” “That,” he said quietly, “is great faith.” In the simplest way, he was encouraging us to trust our perception. Faith is a kind of confidence; it’s complete trust in the truth of what we see, even when we’re being told something different.
The teachings of mindfulness and self-compassion ask us to trust and stand up for what’s most important, to live the truth in our hearts. The teachings of understanding and love inspire us to see the nature of reality with wisdom; the content of wisdom is compassion.
Compassion cares about racial and environmental equity, women’s rights, the earth. Compassion cares about what Mahatma Gandhi called satyagraha, the force of truth. Self-compassion says, it’s time to trust our own perceptions and act—to change both the world within and the world around us.
For a little while during the night, our Los Angeles horizon was wreathed in gorgeous, towering cumulus clouds we rarely see. They dissolved into mist and vanished with the pouring rain. Great faith means trusting the fleeting truth of this [...]
Have you ever been to the Four Corners Monument, marking the place where four states meet? The quadripoint where a corner of New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Colorado meet also marks the boundary between two Native American governments, Navaho Nation and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation. As you drive across the country, through hundreds of miles of stunning desert wilderness, signs begin to appear along the highway, saying, Four Corners! Four Corners! And the closer you get, the bigger the signs are, and the more often they pop up.
Do you remember the cartoon where a car driving through an empty countryside passes a billboard proclaiming, “Your own tedious thoughts next 200 miles”? In the sometimes monotony of long-distance driving, it’s easy to get excited: “I’m going to Four Corners! Can’t wait to get there!”
Then you get there. It is exactly the same rugged, remote, and isolated Southwestern desert landscape you’ve been driving through for hundreds of miles before. There’s nothing there! It’s an idea in emptiness, Four Corners. Just a bronze plaque and parking lot overlooking the vast sweep of mesa and mountains. It’s beautiful. But not more beautiful or any different from the sweeping land of boulder heaps, [...]