Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh

4 stars
Although not a Buddhist myself, Hanh's book was a very beneficial read and one through which I found direct application in my Christian spirituality. His invitation is simple and in good Zen master fashion this Vietnamese monk paints a beautiful picture of what a life of mindfulness entails and why it is so beneficial. The book also includes a very helpful chapter that takes the reader through some practical and specific exercises in mindfulness. Herein lies instruction on how to be present in the now...

One night, Jim asked if he might do the dishes. I said, "Go ahead, but if you wash the dishes you must know the way to wash them." Jim replied, "Come on, you think I don't know how to wash the dishes?" I answered, "There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes." Jim was delighted and said, "I choose the second way - to wash the dishes to wash the dishes." If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not "washing the dishes to wash the dishes." What's more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can't wash the dishes, the chances are we won't be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future - and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life. (pgs. 4-5)

1 comment:

Gavin Gowans said...

Having been a Christian Meditator from the tradition of Dom John Main for many years, I too have found mindfulness meditation very beneficial.

Especially outwith formal meditation times, it is a great way to 'pray always' I find that it has enhanced my Christian practice a great deal. A byproduct has been a greater interconnectedness with others and I am now rediscovering a greater will and capacity to service.