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On a walking meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh says that during the walk, when we breathe in, we should say to ourselves, I have arrived,? and that when we breathe out, we should say, again silently, I am home. Any third party products, brands or trademarks listed above are the sole property of their respective owner.No affiliation or endorsement is intended or implied. It has multiple significance: 1) Emptiness, 2) Full of the cosmo, 3) Space, 4) Everything inter-is. Meditation teaches us to focus and to pay clear attention to our experiences and responses as they arise, and to observe them without judging them. Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity. Mindfulness meditation is the embrace of any and all mind states in awareness, without preferring one to another. If you want to know what you are here to do, how you can be more loving, or how to get through a difficult situation, my answer is always meditate. Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.
Meditation also helped me see that my expectations were just stories that I was telling myself about life. Meditation is not supposed to be the fabrication or the reinforcement of some particular state, but simply the cultivation of the awareness of whatever is arising in the mind.
Practicing meditation has repeatedly been shown to improve people’s attention, as well as improve job performance, productivity and satisfaction, and to enable better relationships with colleagues, resulting in a reduction of work-related stress.
Having come to realize in the first stage of meditation that we are not our bodies, in the second stage we make an even more astounding discovery: we are not our minds either. A most useful approach to meditation practice is to consider it the most important activity of each day. When you have achieved a state of deep meditation, you unlock the door to your subconscious mind. The more regularly and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a center of inner peace. If we read the stories of the great spiritual teachers of the past, we find that they have attained spiritual realization through a great deal of meditation, solitude and practice. The true practice of [meditation] is to sit as if you were drinking water when you are thirsty.
You can make any human activity into meditation simply by being completely with it and doing it just to do it. If we didn’t spend so much time reacting to things, we would spend less time feeling bothered.
Meditation on the majestic energy of the universe should increase our love for humanity, should widen, not narrow, our hearts.
By the practice of this meditation I am becoming calm and relaxed, More efficient and happier in all that I do, Both for my own sake as well as for others.
I mean the whole thing about meditation and yoga is about connecting to the higher part of yourself, and then seeing that every living thing is connected in some way. Meditation is like giving a hug to ourselves, getting in touch with that awesome reality in us. You get peace of mind not by thinking about it or imagining it, but by quietening and relaxing the restless mind. Through my love for you, I want to express my love for the whole cosmos, the whole of humanity, and all beings.
Keep your heart clear and transparent, and you will never be bound. A single disturbed thought creates ten thousand distractions.
Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now. That deep silence has a melody of its own, a sweetness unknown amid the harsh discords of the world’s sounds. Mindfulness helps us get better at seeing the difference between what’s happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening, stories that get in the way of direct experience. Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.

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Alone we are vulnerable, but with brothers and sisters to work with, we can support each other. You need a Sangha; you need a brother or sister, or friend to remind you what you already know.
A Sangha is a community of resistance, resisting the speed, violence, and unwholesome ways of living that are prevalent in our society. We meet to practice sitting and walking meditation in the tradition of Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Withered Tree is a non-sectarian group of Buddhist practitioners and others interested in mindfulness meditation. Withered Tree seeks to embody the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha by providing space for the West Michigan community to practice meditation, receive instruction, and engage in discussion about mindfulness and awareness in contemporary life. Start your week mindfully!Join the Left Brain Buddha mailing list and get a mindful update every Monday morning.Plus you'll get 40 Ways to Bring Mindfulness to Your Days and Mindfulness for Kids, two printable pdf's to inspire mindfulness every day!
An important part of my mindful parenting practice is teaching mindfulness and gratitude to my children. The other night, my daughter threw a fit in the kitchen, and, after yelling at her father, stormed out of the room. When she woke up really cranky the other morning, she said, “I need you to sit and breathe with me.” So she sat in my lap in front of the table, shook her mind jar, and we breathed quietly together.
We started this nightly ritual in November, when the school sent home a note explaining that they had been talking about thankfulness at school, and we should ask our children what they are thankful for.
Finally, I have created pages for our summer binders where we are writing down each week the things we are grateful for ~ I’ve done my own gratitude journals in the past and it is so fun to look back on thankful moments! For additional ideas for practicing mindfulness with your children, you can read my post here about teaching relaxation and calming strategies to kids to help them deal with anger and frustration. You can also read this post about creating mind jars to teach children about calming their minds with their breath.
I gave my daughter and her husband a peace table (what I call our peace place) when their son was born.
My kids range in age from one to nine, and we are constantly reminding them that gratitude is essential for true happiness. Thich Nhat Hanh, an oft-quoted scholar and former professor at Columbia and the Sorbonne, leads us in what some might say are silly songs, but which are profound. The sangha is our body and we are like the cells of the same organism (or drops of water in the same river).
When we breathe mindfully, we reclaim our territory of body and mind and we encounter life in the present moment. While working we breathe, while sleeping we breathe, while sitting down we breathe… Why do we have time to breathe?
The difference between prayer and meditation is that when we pray, we are asking for something, and when we meditate, we are listening to the answer.
Meditation is more than simply deep relaxation it is a life changing practice that can help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression and bring inner peace. Schedule it as you would an extremely important appointment, and unfailingly keep your appointment with the Infinite. People talk about appreciating natural beauty – climbing mountains, seeing giraffes and tigers in Africa, and all sorts of things.
We cannot go to the ocean as a drop of watera€”we would evaporate before reaching our destination. The Dharma is in you, but it needs to be watered in order to manifest and become a reality. His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present momenta€”the only way to truly develop peace, both in onea€™s self and in the world. We began over a decade ago as a group of friends who started meeting to practice meditation, share our experiences on the path and support each othersa€™ practices.

I love Brene Brown’s research that reveals that the most joyful people around are those who make gratitude not an attitude, but a deliberate practice. Sometimes it’s heart-warming and sweet ~ they’re thankful for their family, or their parents, and then they’ll go around the table giving hugs. A few nights ago, my daughter asked us each to share not just what we are thankful for, but what we are hopeful for. At Left Brain Buddha, she writes about her journey to live and parent mindfully, joyfully, and thought-fully in her left-brain analytical life. I do remember reading (in some parenting advice book) that the point of a timeout isn’t really punishment (besides removal from a situation) but should be used as a time for the child to cool off. I love Bene Brown and that deliberate practice of gratitude is so valuable, especially for your kids! Your kids are learning important skills for coping with anger and frustration, and teaching them gratitude will help them later in life when things aren’t going their way.
Looking deeply into our suffering, we gain an understanding of it, which enables happiness to have a chance to blossom. During the difficult meditations you build up your strength, which creates meditation for peace. Whether you want to relax, stimulate creativity, gain enlightenment, or cultivate compassion and mindfulness, we help you learn how to let go.
We also will enjoy a brief reading, and use it as a springboard to discuss the joys and challenges of practicing mindfulness and being truly present in our daily lives. I tell my children that the Buddha taught people how to calm their minds and their bodies by breathing, and that they can sit in front of this table like the Buddha and just breathe. I find that giving them strategies for cooling off can work better than just sitting in a corner. Also, I am definitely going to check out Thich Nhat Hanh’s Planting Seeds, which I know they carry at our local bookstore.
The Quiet Place is wonderful, as well- doesn’t every kid & grown-up need a special set aside area to cool down or just take some deep breaths? I have a couple of extra binders and maybe we need to start recording some summer memories. Thus, the lotus does not have to reject the mud, and the beauty of the lotus actually gives value to the mud. In the same way, if we see the importance of meditation practice we will find the time to practice. This is actually far more beautiful than flora and fauna, far more fantastic, far more painful and colorful and delightful.
Silence your mind through concentration and meditation, and you will discover the peace of the Spirit that you are, and have always been. We are part of Withered Tree Sangha a€“which is comprised of practitioners from many traditions, but on Wednesdays we focus on the teachings and tradition of one specific teacher.
We also have the pebble meditation cards on the table from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Planting Seeds. My son has been thankful for not being shocked by an outlet, for the treehouse not getting knocked down in a storm, and for having a belly button.
These simple meditations {below} are great, and they really help my daughter calm down when she reads them.
This has become such a fun tradition that my son usually asks the moment we sit down for dinner, “Daddy, what are you thankful for today?” I love this family ritual ~ it makes me pause and think about what I am grateful for each day, and my children’s responses provide me with a precious window into their inner lives. I so want to instill it in my son to begin with, so he doesn’t have to double back and figure it out later. It is a message of peace and happiness that we can offer to ourselves and to everyone around us.

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