Words of wisdom
A couple of Sundays ago I attended a day-long meditation workshop run by Jack Kornfield, a New Yorker and master in the subject. One of my take-aways from that day was a phrase that he used. Instead the term ‘mindfulness’, he called it ‘Loving awareness’
That really struck a chord with me because ‘mindfulness’ has become such an overworked and baggy expression. So many people have jumped on the bandwagon of ‘mindfulness’ with products, apps and online courses that to my mind the term has lost a lot of its originally intended meaning. You can be ‘mindful’ of a cup of tea, or how you clean your house, and while these moments of appreciation help us to enjoy and understand our lives, what really matters is that we do what we do in a caring way.
‘Loving awareness’ is such a beautiful way of putting this, especially – and most importantly – in our interactions with others.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist and renowned writer and scholar, promotes six mantras in his teachings and books. You may recognise some of them from classes that you have attended with me.
- ‘I’m here for you’ – is about exuding warmth towards others. It does not need to be vocalised, if you are genuine people will just know.
- ‘I am happy to know that you are there for me’ – an expression of appreciation of another’s concern for your wellbeing.
- ‘I understand your suffering’ – an acceptance of another’s pain, but importantly without trying to fix the problem.
- ‘I am suffering’ – an acceptance and exposure of your own hurts, but without getting it off your chest to burden others.
- ‘This is a happy moment in time’ – understanding how lucky we are to be alive and to appreciate our lives – living in the now.
- ‘You are partly right’ – this is really insightful. Whenever you are praised or criticised it is rarely the whole truth. But, it is important that you accept such comments in an honest way. As Shakespeare wrote ‘To thine own self be true.’
Love and light