Mindfulness

Christopher André’s Looking at Mindfulness is a primer of twenty-five lessons on mindfulness. With pictures to supplement the text the author explained how people could be aware of their bodies and environment and not be like robots. Advice is given concerning how to turn off and adjust to the multiple stimuli of film, television, radio, and the Internet. These media only corrupt minds and cause people to be unable to concentrate on what really matters most in life.

By breathing and being in silence people will become aware of their true selves and savor the precious moments of their lives. By being still and reflective they will come alive. Such practice they should make a part of their daily lives. The benefits of these meditations will give them a sense of purpose, release their stress, and help people live compassionately.

But these objectives have to be practiced consistently. It’s true they could begin at any time in one’s life, whether it’s just waking up in the morning, preparing for work, at the job during the day, at home at night, or before going to bed. So when people are faced with difficulties like having problems at work, conflicts, marital problems, are suffering, or under stress, being mindful could definitely bring release and ease their pain.

However mindfulness isn’t a panacea for every problem. It will only allow a practitioner to approach the good and bad experiences of life realistically. They will be able to entertain and deal with the conflicting realities of their problems. With breathing and being still they will be able to understand and minimize these conflicts. It isn’t guaranteed that people will eventually feel better, but they will be better able to understand their problems. For André wrote that hurtful situations might last only for a time with mindful practice. These teachings are supplemented with quotes from psychologists, psycho-analysts, and religious thinkers from the Christian and Buddhist traditions.

Mindfulness is nonconceptual awareness. Another English term for sati is “bare attention.” It is not thinking. It does not get involved with thought or concepts. It does not get hung up on ideas or opinions or memories. It just looks. Mindfulness registers experiences, but it does not compare them. It does not label them or categorize them. It just observes everything as if it was occurring for the first time. It is not analysis that is based on reflection and memory. It is, rather, the direct and immediate experiencing of whatever is happening, without the medium of thought. It comes before thought in the perceptual process.

Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English (2011), p. 134

Joy of Living

The joy of living is contagious.  Each day it comes like the light which shines brighter and brighter.   In short, it’s our daily bread dished out for us to taste its sweetness.  This heavenly delicacy which is sweeter than honey accompanies us on our faith journey.  Faith is a free and everlasting gift with no limits.  It’s special and supernatural.  Supremely, it’s like heaven on earth while people traverse its fields picking beautiful flowers.  This journey is by the loving care of our Creator who dwells on high.  In our divinely orchestrated world people move independently with a special passion walking by faith, and not by sight.  Vincent Van Gogh (1853–1890), a major Dutch Post-Impressionist painter said, “I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God’s help I shall succeed.”  Van Gogh was talking about divine guidance in his faith walk.   So why shouldn’t we do the same?

A Joyful Witness

Let your shout for joy and penetrate the night air.  Be happy when you witness to others by showing an attitude of thanksgiving to the divinity that is loving and just.  God, Allah, Brahma, or Dao is our bread that feeds us with an abundance of blessings.  For our benefit this Ultimate Reality has bestowed us with the gift of knowledge.  As a testament to such a gift innovators have invented devices that make our lives more enjoyable.  Daily, the Eternal Essence’s sustenance continues to uplift our souls.  We’re able to journey through life with confidence, patience, and perseverance.  In doing so, we relentlessly storm heaven with prayers for the good things of life.  These prayers bring relief to souls longing to discover life’s blessings.

The Journey of Faith

A professor of Internet Law at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Johnathan Zittrain (b. 1969) wrote, “If you entrust your data to others, they can let you down or outright betray you.”  In modern society which depends on the flow of data Zittrain’s statement is true.  On the Internet   there’s concern about security, but people have to trust others, and have faith they will do what’s in our best interest.  Being able to trust is important for the proper functioning of our society.  This task is never easy, but also depends on a Creator whom people depend for sustenance.

Believers grow in faith through their Church, Temple, or Synagogue.  By such a gift they have hope and look forward to the day when they will be in paradise.  These teachings are rich and prophetic.  Love is in the world.  These believers’ security is often alluded to and their souls are at peace.   They are shining lights to other men and women.

A Chinese philosopher, poet, and founder of Taoism, Lao Tzu (604 B.C.–531 B.C.) wrote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”  This expression is wise because accomplishments might not necessary come in the form of mountains, or leaps, and bounds, but in the form of a little mustard seed that grows abundantly.  In John 5:35 it’s written, “He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.”  All it takes is a flicker to illuminate a dark pathway.  This is the kind of faith that brings light in people’s lives.  Truly, light enlightens our darkest deeds.  This could be demonstrated by the way people care for creation that’s a special gift to us.

 

 

How to Be Well Again

Are you a damaged human being?  What are your ailments?  Constant headaches, low energy, aches, pains, tense muscles, or are you nervous with cold and sweaty palms?  Are you walking around with a clenched jaw?  Do you grind your teeth?  Are you suffering from heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, ulcers with violent outbursts of anger?  Do you have a mental health problem, eating disorders, or are you losing weight?  Then, you might be worn out by the demands of the world.

You might suffer from a lack of appetite, hooked on alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes.  Maybe, you are pacing the floor, fidgeting at home, and work.  But however you can’t seem to settle down.  Because of your behavior you’re unable to marshal your thoughts, and focus at work.  You might be afflicted with a chronic disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic renal failure, or congested heart failure.  These could well be signs that you are burnout, bored, emotionally spent, and unappreciated.

Other symptoms showing that you are worn out, are when you aren’t sleeping well at night, have no sexual drive, and fears going to work.  These afflictions could well be because of the rat race you are caught up in.  Constantly popping pills, and suffering from infections, you’re unable to keep away from the doctors because of stress.

Do you have a competitive spirit?  That’s what the world taught you from childhood.  “Be the best you can.  The sky is the limit.”  That was how you were coerced in joining the bandwagon of competitors.  Now you’re in overdrive, working 16 hours per day, hooked on technological devices, and you can’t find time to read a book. Being overweight, having bad eating habits, and physical activities aren’t a part of your daily routine.  You fail to take the warning from a quotation anthologist Terri Guillemets (b. 1973), who said, “If your teeth are clenched and your fists are clenched, your lifespan is probably clenched.”  Now, you are paying the price.

 Change

A British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) wrote, “One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”  You’ve always felt this way.  Yet, you didn’t realize there was a price to pay with keeping up with the Jones’s.  Now your life is in disarray it’s time for you to slow down and smell the roses.

The first step is seeing your doctor for treatment.  Take your medication as prescribed, and follow his or her instructions.  Maybe, you should have counseling, but remember not to keep God, Allah, Brahma, or Dao out of the picture.  Pray.  The Divine Force will provide you with grace.  Then, you’ll find the righteousness that brings peace, love, joy, and hope.  It isn’t that you’ll no longer have problems, but with this spiritual grounding this divinity will protect you.

It isn’t that you won’t become ill, but through grace you’ll put illness in its proper perspective.  Believers suffer.   Some suffer willingly for redemptive purposes.  Others have prayed for healing and were healed.  It’s important in your spiritual walk to bring all things, good and bad before this Eternal Essence.  Then, your life will be blessed.  In our own way people are all talented.  So heed this advice for your well-being.

Boundless Love

In this world love is all around us.  With nature for sure, when people are graced by the golden rays of the sun and lush foliage in parks.  Just strolling along the beach people experience the crushing waves, while in winter just viewing the ice-covered mountains are delightful.  But in our daily lives there are other sentiments that are more personal.  People all experience these feelings on their journey through life.  These have to do with those we love – our fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, and friends.  People are moved by their smiles, and laughter, and these blessings reveal themselves in unexpected ways.  Wayne Dyer (1940–2015), a self-help author and motivational speaker said, “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”  Much of this beauty that surrounds us is within our reach to enjoy.  One of America’s founding fathers and author of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) wrote, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”   This saying is captured in the truth and the way we live.  People gain these gifts by doing good deeds.

Faithful Love

It takes dedication to be in love.  When people reach out to others they come to God.  His blessings are found in the kindness that we share.  It’s wondrous love that might be evasive, but through persistence we are able to capture it.  This love is all around us.  So keep on professing your faith for it points to eternity.  You will be secured in your walk when you encounter God’s deep and lasting love.  This undertaking brings joy to believers.  A cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Maltz (1889–1975) said, “Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward.”  People are able to achieve these gifts by displaying this sort of love.

 A screenwriter Monica Johnson (1946–2010) captured the essence of faith when she wrote, “God is so unique in giving His people ways of fellowship, witness, and remember what a mighty and merciful God He is.”  His love is surely the Word of Truth. It reveals itself by caring for the poor, hungry, and homeless.  The Holy Spirit deepens people’s love and reveals great blessings.  All we have to do is to adore the cross, the symbol of hope, life, resurrection, and salvation.  Walk therefore like the saints in humility.

Love of Creation

Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), a Bengali author and artist said, “Love is the only reality and it is not mere sentiment.  It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.”  Tagore has cleverly touched on the pulse of the nature of love.  Believers encounter this through the essence of God that surrounds them.  This involves the beauty that cleanses their hearts and minds.

With love, people care for residents in villages, cities and towns.  It honors the Lord’s commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.  By this commandment they sow compassion throughout their communities.  Love creates, recreates, and it does bless everything in its path.  It’s the beauty of life that could be best described as boundless.