During an eight-hour workday we each take about 8,000 breaths. This is great news. We have 8,000 opportunities to touch peace, creativity and productivity.
Gift yourself bliss in less than 2 minutes. Take a break from whatever it is you’re doing. Find a comfortable chair, cushion or rug to sit on and watch this brief meditation. Breathe easily and freely focusing on your in-breaths and out-breaths. Absorb Thay’s words and the sound of the bell with each inhale, release all the tensions in your body with each exhale.
My 13 year old came home from school one day frustrated. Over the kitchen table he told me of his troubles but I was miles away. My mind raced between thoughts of my three children, husband and career.
Last month I was in the city of my birth, New Orleans, Louisiana. Everywhere were preparations for Mardi Gras celebrations, which included many decadent and delicious foods like "king cakes", pralines and bananas Foster. I was reminded of my youth and the purpose of Fat Tuesday: to have one last fling before lent commences the next day.
In movies, love is romantic, overwhelming and above all else, provokes a willingness to give up everything, even oneself, to protect it. This framework births spectacular stories full of drama but the truth is, we cannot love another fully and sacrifice ourselves. We need to honor ourselves while honoring our loved one. True love creates freedom, abundance and joy.
The Buddha describes four elements of true love:
Each moment bears a unique opportunity to connect with ourselves and our world. Even as the Kleenex mountains rise and bedside elixirs accumulate, we can invite peace into the moment.
Sickness offers ample opportunity for mindfulness practice; we’re faced with impermanence (the fleeting nature of health highlighted), forced to let go of plans, expectations, ego… and reminded how grateful we are for our beautiful, functioning bodies.
I invited a dear friend of mine, Susan Guillory, to contribute a blog on mindful eating. Susan is a mover and shaker in the whole foods movement. In the 1970s, she co-founded Bread & Circus, a whole foods market chain in the Boston area with her former husband, Anthony Harnett. The Bread & Circus stores were later acquired by Whole Foods. In conjunction with the stores Susan taught healthy cooking for 22 years.
In this six minute video, brother Thay Phap guides us through Thich Nhat Hanh’s meditation of the natural world within us. We acknowledge the freshness of our flower, the stability of our mountain, the stillness of our waters and the space within and around us to be free. Below is a transcription of the meditations, for your enjoyment.