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Faith

Source: Faith

Thich Nhat Hanh writes wonderful and spiritual poetry. Shobna’s post shared a poem about faith and how it evolves daily, perhaps moment-by-moment.

In living with other people we each find faith that is not fixed and set by rigid rules and laws. In this way, we discover “joy, freedom, peace, and love” that is part of living life fully.

When we experience living fully, we engage in conversations that do not answer questions, but raise new questions. We create a dialogic world to share with each other.

 

When Death Comes

Although the title sounds eerie, Mary Oliver‘s poem is about how we can live life. To live a life as fully as she describes, we can seek to be mindful and attentive to each moment as we live through it.d

Several years ago, Kathy and I drove out to pick up her mother who had a form of non-verbal dementia. It was about 5:30 AM and the sun was just peeking up over the horizon as we drove into it on the way home. As I drove, I felt a movement beside me and turned to see my mother-in-law smiling and pointing at the fields with freshly cut hay laying on the fields. Even thought she did not speak, the moment somehow spoke to her as it reminded her of days on the farm during haying season.

Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us that we find the extraordinary in the ordinary. That experienced reminded me of what I might otherwise take-for-granted: a beautiful morning in the company of others.

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measles-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

A Smile Can Make A Difference

Happy Wednesday! Remember to smile, not only for yourself, but to bring happiness to others. Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Source: A Smile Can Make A Difference

I know it is not Wednesday, but a smile can improve the moment and day of each person we encounter. Our smile might be the only ray of sunshine that enters the day of another person.

Also, smiles raise questions about what we are thinking. I recall several years ago being asked by a principal what I was smiling about. I was not happy with his actions that day, but I reached down inside and found a smile.

Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us that we find the extraordinary in the ordinary. When we are mindful and present in each moment, we can do that and smile in ways that make our lives and those of others better.

 

 

Planting Chant

Both sides of our family descend from farmers. Farmers and indigenous people have affection for the land and its properties. They share the land with their sentient and non-sentient neighbours and step gently leaving a footprint that can be wiped away.

The Osage celebrated planting crops with the following chant. As I read the chant, I understood that planting belongs in all seasons. When humans plant and harvest in sustainable ways, we prosper, laughter fills homes, and we leave a small footprint.

Thich Nhat Hanh proposed humans “walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” When we walk on the Earth in this way and leave an imprint as a kiss, we act as stewards for future generations. When we live in harmony with nature, we form a sacred covenant with nature and future geneations.

I made a footprint: it is sacred.
I made a footprint: small green specks push through it.
I made a footprint: new green blades push upward.
I made a footprint: above it, blades wave in the breeze.
I made a footprint: over it grow new stalks.
I made a footprint: above it the blossoms lie gray.
I made a footprint: smoke rises from my house.
I made a footprint: there is laughter in my house.
I made a footprint: my family lives in good health.

Walking Meditation With Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote about an experience while visiting Seoul, South Korea. He walked with a large crowd and felt tired. When he meditated on his walking and the earth beneath his feet, he felt lighter. The earth supported him and he walked tirelessly. Tess Gallagher writes about a similar experience.

I often take for granted people and things that give me comfort and support. I take for granted the earth and how it effortlessly supports me as I walk, but I also take for granted the steps I take in moving the mountain.

Through mindfulness and attention, I live with the ebbs and flows of energy that I experience in daily life. We become part of the world and it becomes part of each of us.

Fifty of us follow him loosely
up the mountain at Deer Park Monastery.
We are in the slow motion of a dream
lifting off the dreamer’s brow. Steps
into steps and the body rising out
of them like smoke from a fire
with many legs. Gradually the flames
die down and the earth is finally under us.
Inside the mountain a centipede crawls
into no-up, no-down.

Our meditations
waver and recover us, waver
and reel us in to our bodies
like fish willing at last to take on the joy
of being fish, in or out of the water.
When we gather at last at the summit
and sit with him
we know we have moved the mountain
to its top as much as it carried us
deeply into each step.

Going down is the same.
We breathe and step. Breathe,
and step. A many-appendaged being
in and out of this world. No use
telling you about peace attained.
Get out of your feet.
Your breath. Enter
the mountain.

Freedom…

Life in itself is an empty canvas, it becomes whatsoever you paint on it. You can paint misery, you can paint bliss. This freedom is your glory.                ~ ` ~  Osho &nbs…

Source: Freedom…

There are series of pictures and quotes in this post about freedom. Life happens to us and there is no question of that. When we have freedom, we respond to what happens.

Others’ freedom depend on our love in ways that they know they are free. Love does not place conditions. Thomas Merton argued we call it falling in love because we open up, make ourselves vulnerable, and risk being hurt. The opposite is also true. When the love is returned without condition to us, it is a great gift.

With the gifts of love and freedom intertwined, we fly with the wings we receive. We attend to and mind the others in our lives and even those we do not meet. Love and freedom resonate beyond our horizons.

Today, Like Every Other Day

For me, there are poets, like Rumi, whose poetry stand the test of time. After almost a century, the poetic text lives and remains ambiguous searching for meaning.

Now, I don’t play a musical instrument. I sing poorly. I have two left feet, so dancing is out of the question. What Rumi calls on each of us to do, in our particular and unique fashion, is to express ourselves and be creative.

Thich Nhat Hanh said that the extraordinary is found in the ordinary, the ordinary tasks such as doing dishes and enjoying a cup of tea. As we do, we meditate about those who enrich our lives through their efforts. We celebrate people who contribute to our lives in a human and humane manner.

Yes, I do wake up empty, but it is an emptiness that can be filled with each way I celebrate my humanness.

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty

and frightened. Don’t open the door of your study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

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