Here we are at Week 7. So close.
The title of the chapter I read/contemplated and did practices from this past week in my continued exploration of ‘Mindfulness Starts Here’ is ‘Sustaining Well-Being Through Compassion’ and is focuses upon contemplating what brought us to the point of even seeking mindfulness in the first place. It’s a chapter that has a much more noticeable Buddhist flavour to it and points to our old friend suffering as the instigator that would bring a person to read, study and practice on the topic of mindfulness or Buddhism in the first place.
After this ‘Why’ is answered, the chapter wastes no time in getting into the result of the practice of mindfulness which is compassion – both for our selves and others. The practice of mindfulness can help to bring us back to being able to restore our balance when we fall apart and just allowing a bit of space to examine our reactions, feelings, habits and the wooha that goes on between our ears can help to provide a pause.
This is a chapter where the backgrounds of the authors as clinical psychologists really shines as it presents several case studies of patients where mindfulness practice helped to relive symptoms of depression, distress and mental disorders. Mindfulness isn’t touted as a cure, but rather a continuous path that when walked upon, can take root in our daily lives.
The chapter outlines several methods that individuals can use to sustain their mental health and well being. It also relays the crucial role that love and compassion plays upon the ability to maintain a sense of well-being (hence the title). Not to play favourites with the chapters, but it is one of my preferred ones within the book given it’s explanation of compassion in a way that uses an interesting analogy relating to medicine and nutrients. I have to confess that I’m going to use this analogy when I provide mindfulness instruction so I’m adding it to my swipe file.
Because I am so far behind with everything and anything, I’d been meaning to share this news with you from ahem – September…
Wisdom Publications released a brand new website several months ago which I’m hoping you have seen by now. Perhaps you haven’t and then I will feel validated in posting this so late by your not knowing and then we will both derive some satisfaction. Yay us.
Isn’t the site gorgeous? They’ve really spiffed it up (and I’m in the nerdy world of web so I trust me, I know spiff). It’s easier to browse their large selection, have a catalog that is well-organized and they now offer deeper information on their books and authors. On top of this, they offer DRM-free ebooks for purchase.
If that isn’t enough, they now have a blog which is well worth following.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and peruse their website a bit further.
You are cordially invited to the ANNUAL TIBETAN CULTURAL FAIR
Saturday, November 30th – 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday, December 1st – 10 am to 5 pm
Santa Cruz Church Hall 60 Rachel West (corner St. Urbain), Montreal, Mont-Royal Metro
The 25th annual Tibetan Cultural Fair features a handicrafts bazaar, live music and dance performances, as well as traditional cuisine.
The handicrafts bazaar showcases traditional arts and crafts such as clothing, jewelry, sculptures, carpets, dharma-ware, ritual objects, books, cards, CDs, and more.
Live music and dance will be performed by the Tibetan Cultural Association of Québec, offering a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of Tibetan musical instruments, songs and dances. Dhondup the Yak – always a favourite for young children – will make a special appearance!
The Tibetan kitchen features the very popular « momos » – traditional dumplings with hot sauce, made on the premises.
The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) is an independent non-governmental organization promoting human rights and freedom for the Tibetan people. The CTC is funded entirely by individual donations and special events such as this annual fair.
The Tibetan Cultural Association of Québec preserves Tibetan cultural traditions, including performing arts, within the diaspora community in Québec.
Admission: $5.00; Seniors and students: $3.00; Under 12: free
More information about the Fair: Montreal’s Tibetan Bazaar Facebook page
Here we are. Week Six of the real-life review of ‘Mindfulness Starts Here’ and I’m creeping along with it much like meeting a good friend for coffee when I’m able to. Admittedly, I’d love to be able to ‘stay regular’ with my regular weekly reading and practice, but sadly with work-life balance, practice and study that I’m already committed to and the life of a householder and all those glorious distractions that come my way, it’s ambitious and I must give myself some credit (read – cut myself some slack) in making it his far.
So. Week Six. Awareness of Thoughts. As you can read here, I’m pretty aware of my thoughts around not finishing the reading and review of this book in a more timely manner but I digress…
The intention set out of this chapter is for readers to bring attention and mindfulness to their thought patterns and in doing so, delves into the science behind thoughts. It’s one of the more geekier chapters of the book and does a great job of getting into the brainy, biologogical, physiological, thinky, neuroinic, syanpsey, HEY REACT TO THIS STIMULI stuff.
Overall the chapter delves into thought patterns, experiences, responses and examines how mindfulness can help to create a space around these thoughts, allowing us to either discover new ways to react to what’s in front of us or equips us to better examine our habitual ways of reacting (fight, flight and you know the drill).
Sometimes it feels like my head is being crushed..
As was previously employed in previous chapters of the book, the antidotes of the Five Skillful Habits are mentioned as means to help snap out of reactive patterns. There is a layer of compassion that is recommended within these 5 Habits as well as with most of what is presented in the book and for someone who is consistently hard on themselves, having this reminder replayed for me within the book is like a warm hug.
All in all, this chapter was one of the core ones that I enjoyed given it’s emphasis on the mind in the mindfulness equation. I’m noting how I enjoy the interplay of this book within my life and my Buddhist studies and practice. More on that in my summary. Two weeks left of this mindfulness and then you’ll get to read my conclusion, likely titled “Mindfulness Went Where?”
Are you feeling funny folks? After the chuckles your little round Buddhabelly had after reading of the “Buddhism and comedy connection” over at the Shambhala Sun, you fancy yourself a pretty funny no-self.
Well here’s your chance to submit a story to an upcoming collection to be compiled in “The Little Book of Buddhist Humor”. Edited by Sumeru Books‘ John Negru and notable Buddhist scholar and author Charles Prebish, it will be published via the aforementioned Sumeru Books and is now seeking submissions.
In difficult times, we feel that the Buddhist world has the opportunity to contribute to and inject some happy, Buddhist-inspired humor into our everyday lives.
As such, we’re inviting any of you who have clever, funny, silly, and laughable stories that you have experienced in your personal and/or professional work and practice in Buddhism to submit these short episodes to us for possible inclusion. We are looking for stories from Buddhist teachers, scholars and sangha members. Maybe something really funny happened to you at a Buddhist center, or something humorous occurred while attending a professional conference, or a personal communication involving Buddhism brought a silly smile to your face. We’ll collect the best of those stories submitted and publish them in our book.
We truly hope to make this a FUN project that will bring smiles to people worldwide, and we’ll be so grateful for any stories you may provide that will help us achieve our goal.
Please submit your stores (no more than three pages long and must be tasteful and something you are willing to share publicly) to Charles at charles.prebish at usu.edu or John at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wesak 2014 (May 14).
Now let’s all laugh a bit more shall we? The benefits are clear – but if you don’t believe me, listen to funnymaster John Cleese.
Well that was a bit of a gap from the last post several weeks ago. I’m now on Chapter 5/ Week 5 of ‘Mindfulness Starts Here’ and can blame the delay of post solely on pain. Coincidentally enough this chapter is titled ‘Awareness of Sensations’ so it’s totally apropos.
I won’t bore you with stories of my pain and body decrepitude but needless to say the past few weeks have been rough. Heap onto this health issues for my older dog and well, we’re all working with the situations that have arisen.
Back to the book. This chapter is really about the body-mind connection and how mindfulness can help take us out of the past storylines into a new way of relating and working with sensations.
Rather than feeling the sensations that are upon us, we humans can get caught up in the conceptual thinking around the experience. This chapter really gets at this loop and helps readers deconstruct the habitual nature of the main sensation that we grapple with, that of pain. It speaks to the power of meditation to bring one’s wandering mind back and to cut through the usual mind chatter.
There is a deeply profound sentence within this chapter that has really resonated with me. It is quite frankly, what budding Bodhisattvas and burnt out caregivers should come back to as a reminder of why we are on this path.
All we can do is practice and allow that practice to become part of a world-wide group of people who are willing to face what is in front of them and not look away.
Oh that’s good stuff right there.
As is done within previous chapters, there’s some homework to be done for the week relating to, in this instance, the five skillful habits that allow us to listen to our sensations without engaging or amplifying them. I have have to say that this ‘homework’ couldn’t come at a better time as I work with an aching back that is causing me the most physical and mental discomfort
Here’s my storyline. Welcome to the party.
Do I need to wear a corset?
Do I need to order one of these?
Why am I afraid of chiropractors?
Booked appointment with physiotherapist.
Now Googling everything I can find on the physiotherapist to see if he checks out.
Time to do the homework presented in Chapter 5.