Mindfulness – An Invitation to Open to this Precious Life
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver
Since practicing mindfulness, I’m more aware of my surrounding. I find myself focusing on and attuning to the natural world; experiencing the poignant beauty of life. I’m not talking about the aesthetically pleasing, although that can be inspiring, but more so the beauty that is seen in all of life. That to every living thing, there is birth, growth and death and that’s not to be feared, but more so to be honored and appreciated.
Everything has it’s time; everything is constantly changing…
On an intellectual level, we all know that change is a constant, but on an embodied level it’s a totally different experience. When we practice mindfulness, we drop from living in the world of the intellect/thought making mind to connect with the aliveness that is here in this body, mind and heart and in the world around us. Being with and present to the changing sensations, emotions, thoughts, and witnessing these changes in the natural world is different from thinking, analyzing, and opining about them. It is like ice cream; unless you taste it, you won’t know it. Being mindful as we walk through life helps us broaden the lens of our experience and as we do this the boundaries between internal and external begin to fall away. We no longer see ourselves as a separate part of nature, we realize and recognize, in real time that we are a part of nature.
Watching the growth of a flower, we can see how it reflects the natural cycle of life. We see it reflects the natural cycle of our existence. We, like the flower require light, nourishment and care. So, what is it like to be present, to sense the aliveness in the breath, to take in the warmth of the sun, to feel your feet touching the earth or to take in the smell of the rain? What’s it like to hear and share in the joy of others? Or to be present and sit with someone in pain, without the need to fix or say anything? These are the experiences that can begin to wake us up out of mindless living. Instead of categorizing life as things; collecting intellectual knowledge about them, or how they serve a purpose, what we can use them for or get from them, we come into direct contact with life as it is. As we shift how we are relating to the natural world, we see and experience life in this heartful, embodied and transformative way. Our hearts open to the full spectrum life has to offer. Birth, growth and death are not things to be avoided, but part of life that is to be experienced.
A poem that so beautifully expresses this is the Guest House by Rumi. Take a moment to let the words resonate within:
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He/she may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
To register for our Sunday, weekly mindfulness meeting please join us at West Broward Insight Community-Coral Springs.
To register and pay for our next retreat, which takes place from January 3-7th at Casa San Carlos Retreat Center in Delray Beach, Fl. please click on 5 Day Vipassana/Mindfulness Retreat