Tag Archives: mindful

Pray. Meditate. Nourish Yourself.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 29, 2017

sitting-sunrise-mindful

Pray. Meditate. Nourish Yourself.

I have had a stressful several days. I am sick. I have a garden-variety cold, but it is particularly awful. (I feel particularly awful, too.)

I needed to take my daughter for an interview several hours away. We left on Friday morning, and came back yesterday evening. I felt like death warmed over yesterday morning, truly. However, I managed to get my daughter there and back again, and to all of the activities she needed to attend.

I really needed this reading from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book How to Sit tonight. He described practicing mindful sitting anywhere, even on a place like a train or a bus traveling to work in the morning. “You can create a meditation hall of your bus or your train. Use your time, wherever you are, to nourish and heal yourself.” [1]

What a concept! Nourishing and healing myself certainly sounds appealing, especially right now. (Especially with an awful cold.) When I slow down and concentrate on my breathing, and on allowing my muscles to relax, it is so beneficial to me and lowering my stress levels. When I am able to coax my tight shoulders and neck to relax and unwind, I feel so much better, in all kinds of ways.

Dear God, thanks for this excellent advice. Help me to not only read it, but to follow these excellent suggestions. It will be so good for me to practice these simple things. Thank You for such amazing suggestions that allow us to nourish and heal ourselves, from the inside out.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 41.

A Celebration of Life and Breath

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, January 16, 2017

A Celebration of Life and Breath

Breathe. That’s right, feel your breath flowing in and out of your lungs. Intentional, mindful. Now, breathe more deeply. Slowly. In and out. Be exquisitely aware of each breath in, and each breath out.

You got all that? You—I—we all are celebrating being alive as we become mindful and aware of each breath we take. What a marvelous gift from God.

As I read another short section in the slim book How to Sit, by Thich Nhat Hanh, I came across a significant insight. (Or, if you choose, it’s the most obvious statement.) He says: “If you are breathing mindfully in and out, you already have insight.” [1]

When I sit and meditate, take my time and pray, I have the opportunity to deepen and slow my breathing. I can take the time to relax my muscles, loosen the tension in my neck, shoulders and spine, and become quiet. Restful. Mindful.

Dear God, is this what You want me to do, right now? Rest in You, I mean. Rest, and praise, and be thankful. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 29.

Just Sit There—and Pray

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, January 10, 2017

sit-in-pew-praying

Just Sit There—and Pray

“Don’t just sit there—do something!”

These words, above, are not the best of advice. I have found that I do better when I take my time, and consider my actions. Thich Nhat Hanh has much better advice: sit, and do nothing. (At least, initially. And, sometimes, more often that.)

Non-action is already an action. (So, there.) Plus, as the good monk says in the book “How to Sit,” “The quality of the action depends upon the quality of the non-action.” [1]

I sincerely try to avoid anger and worry. If I have even a little of anger and concern inside, I find it gums up the works.

It’s part of my One-Day-At-A-Time way of living. I don’t always succeed in living this way, but ODAAT certainly helps me in being mindful. This way of thinking I have always found to be positive. Just taking my time, being thoughtful, thankful, and mindful.

Thanks, God! Great suggestions.

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 21.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Meditate, in Mindful Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 8, 2017

bench-sun-mindfulness

Meditate, in Mindful Prayer

It’s cold outside. Boy, the wind is wicked! Plus, there’s the difference I feel after sitting in prayer, quietly. All kinds of wintry weather. Just perfect to continue my prayer blog.

But, I have a few questions, first. How should I start to meditate? I’ve been practicing the prayer part, for years. (With varying degrees of success.) But, how to meditate? Is it three easy steps? Or, five definitions for silent meditation? Is that how to figure it out? How should I start? Walking? Sitting? Eyes shut, or open?

As I read the book “How to Sit,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, he gives some great advice. Wonderful, and open-ended. As I understand, however I am most comfortable, that’s what he suggests. Walking? Yes. Sitting? That, too. Inside? Yes. Outside? Yes, again.

It’s more of an inside job. Meditation, that is.

Paying quiet attention to whatever crosses my path is a good start. Looking deeply from a point of quietness, I “can begin to see the true nature of what is in front of [me].” [1]

What a generous, enlarging attitude of meditation. Simple and straightforward, really.

Dear God, thanks for such a teacher. And, thanks for such good advice. Help me to follow it regularly. In earnest prayer, I appreciate You so much. God, thanks!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 19.

Mindful, Nourished Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, June 8, 2015

if nothing ever changed, no butterflies

Mindful, Nourished Soul

Today’s chapter by Stephen Levine stretched my way of thinking. Yes, I usually think in terms of a Judeo-Christian mindset. However, this reading had a definite Eastern, even Buddhist view on mindfulness and the soul. Not my usual way of thinking, at all.

But, he also speaks of nourishing the soul. No matter what background each individual comes from, no matter what belief structure each one espouses, practically everyone acknowledges that the soul needs to be nourished. Strengthened, and encouraged.

A universal breakdown of that nourished, strengthened soul happens when distrust happens. I don’t care if people have Jewish beliefs, Christian understanding, Buddhist mindset, or whatever else is there. Mr. Levine tells us more: “We don’t trust ourselves, so we stay rooted in the easy and convenient. We eliminate as much pain as we can from our lives and end up painted into a corner we call safety. Safety is the most unsafe spiritual path you can take.” [1]

This last statement reminds me of the chaplain internship where I served, from 2002 to 2003. I was attending seminary full-time, but I also worked at the retirement center 20 hours per week. The director of chaplaincy was awesome. A wonderful administrator, he knew how to delegate authority. More than that, he knew enough not to hand-hold us chaplain interns. He turned us loose in the retirement center, with very little safety net. He took calculated risks, and gently encouraged us to take risks, too.

Further words of wisdom from Mr. Levine: “It’s important in everyday life to work with kindness. Learn patience. When you stand in lines or are at a red light, soften your belly. Open your body and your mind to the subtler levels of experience, letting go of your attempt to control, to be right, not worrying about appearances, not trying to be safe.[2]

So, here I am reminded of how I am to be, and how I am not to be. Yes—kind, yes—patient. Those attributes are good and positive. No—to safety. In other words, no fix, manage or control.

Yes, these are all attributes I need to allow myself to work on. Get better at. God willing, I shall. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea? One step at a time. One day at a time.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 50.

[2] Ibid, 51.