Omaha Yoga Path Post
Awakened Mind, Quiet Life
Sometimes we travel through our day on a kind of auto-pilot. Gliding to where we’re going, at times, forgetting what we are doing. Meanwhile our mind is in a cloud of ruminations about past regrets or future worries. Yet these states of mind are tumultuous, scattered, and dispersed. There is no quiet stability for us to listen.
This year for the Year-end immersion workshop, we will explore ways to practice Awakening the Mind with Mindful Yoga. And learn ways to offer ourselves the gift of a Quiet Life in midst of a noisy world. In doing so we will touch the wondrous, refreshing, and healing elements that are in us and around us in every situation
“Then the soul is a lamp whose light is steady, for it burns in a shelter where no winds come.”
Bhagavad Gita Ch.VI.v.19
The Essence of Stillness
When we release our ideas, thoughts, and concepts, we
make space for our true mind. Our true mind is silent of all
words and all notions, and is so much vaster than limited
mental constructs. Only when the ocean is calm and quiet
can we see the moon reflected in it.
Silence is ultimately something that comes from the heart,
not from any set of conditions outside us. Living from a
place of silence doesn’t mean never talking, never
engaging or doing things; it simply means that we are not
disturbed inside; there isn’t constant internal chatter. If
we’re truly silent, then no matter what situation we find
ourselves in, we can enjoy the sweet spaciousness of
There are moments when we think we’re being silent
because all around us there’s no sound, but unless we
calm our mind, talking is still going on all the time inside
our head. That’s not true silence. The practice is learning
how to find silence in the midst of all the activities we do.
Try to change your way of thinking and your way of
looking. Sitting down to eat your lunch may be an
opportune time for you to offer yourself the sweetness of
silence. Even though others may be speaking, you have
the ability to disengage from habitual thinking and be very
silent inside. You can be in a crowded space, yet still enjoy
silence and even solitude.
from the book Silence, Thich Nhat Hanh p. 76
Theresa de Avila
Winter Is the Best Time
“Real solitude comes from a stable heart that does not get carried away by the pull of the crowd, nor by sorrows of the past, worries about the future, or excitement or stress about the present.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
While we practice conscious breathing, our thinking will slow down, and we can give ourselves a real rest. Most of the time, we think too much, and mindful breathing helps us to be calm, relaxed, and peaceful. It helps us stop thinking so much and stop being possessed by sorrows of the past and worries about the future. It enables us to be in touch with life, which is wonderful in the present moment.
Of course, thinking is important, but quite a lot of our thinking is useless. It is as if, in our head, each of us has a cassette tape that is always running, day and night. We think of this and we think of that, and it is difficult to stop. With a cassette, we can just press the stop button. But with our thinking, we do not have any button. We may think and worry so much that we cannot sleep. If we go to the doctor for some sleeping pills or tranquilizers, these may make the situation worse, because we do not really rest during that kind of sleep, and if we continue using these drugs, we may become addicted. We continue to live tensely, and we may have nightmares.
According to the method of conscious breathing, when we breathe in and out, we stop thinking, because saying “In” and “Out” is not thinking—
“In” and “Out” are only words to help us concentrate on our breathing. If we keep breathing in and out this way for a few minutes, we become quite refreshed. We recover ourselves, and we can encounter the beautiful things around us in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here. If we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.
When we are in touch with the refreshing, peaceful, and healing elements within ourselves and around us, we learn how to cherish and protect these things and make them grow. These elements of peace are available to us anytime.
Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
“The mind is restless, impetuous, self-willed, hard to train: to master the mind seems as difficult as to master the mighty winds.”
Bhagavad Gita Ch.VI.v34
The Six Mantras
June 16, 2012. 99-minute dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh from Upper Hamlet in Plum Village during the 21-Day Retreat with the theme The Science of the Buddha. The talk is given in English and this is the eleventh dharma talk (of 15). The podcast is available at this link.
1. Darling, I am here for you.
2. Darling, I know you are there and it makes me happy.
3. Darling, I know you suffer.
4. Darling, I suffer, please help.
5. This is a Happy Moment.
6. Darling, you are partly right.
The last one is new and for when someone congratulates or criticizes you.
Been a long time since making an entry in this category — tea, but I always marvel at the relationship of tea in Buddhism, Yoga, and meditation. Now here is a neurological explain for human predilection for Camellia sinensis.
[vimeo 114499613 w=500 h=375]
The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology by Jack Kornfield
The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young
Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr
Be Free Where You Are by Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong
Making Space: Creating a Home Meditation Practice by Thich Nhat Hanh
No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva by Pema Chodron
Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living by Donna Farhi
Here is the announcement about Spring Mindfulness Retreat 2014 sponsored by the Honey Locust Sangha / Omaha Community of Mindful Living.
Ever since November retreat where I met Mary Pipher and read her most recent book, The Green Boat, my life has taken a change. I’m one of those thousands of people who have largely stuck my head in the sand about Climate Change. In spite of all the evidence surrounding this topic, in spite of someone who purports to believe in science and enjoys many of the luxuries it provides, I somehow wanted to believe that scientist had gotten this wrong and that we’d be OK. But thanks to Pipher and all her supporting research, I’ve come to what environmentalist call “the oh shit” moment. And with it all crippling despair that comes with it.
I wonder if a collection of astronomer came together and all agreed that the earth was definitely going to be hit with a planet-destroying meteor in fifty years, there would be other astronomer to refute it. Then if the meteor-believers came back and said we could, as a world community come up with the means to divert this meteor, but our chances would be better, if we did something about sooner than later, what do you think the world community would do? It certainly would be more convenient to believe the meteor-refuters; make you feel better too. However, if you did really believe the meteor is coming, everything else pales in the shadow of that meteor. War, terrorism, balanced budgets, the EU, Wall Street, or A Rod’s one year suspension, all become that many more deck chairs on the Titanic to re-arranged.
Well the meteor is coming in the form of climate change! I know this because of the shadow it casts. That shadow was revealed to by the website: What Is Missing, designed by Maya Lin. This was the artist who designed the Vietnam War memorial. This site shows us species, habitats, and environments that use to exist, but have been lost because of human interaction. This is the shadow that lomes over any debate about global warming. Looking at the past, seeing clearly the present, there can be little debate about the trajectory of our future, if we don’t change.
Yet ,like Mary Pipher’s The Green Boat, Maya Lin’s site offers solutions and hope, if one spends time with either. When I encountered my “oh shit” angst, I wanted to run out into the streets and yellto the world we need to drop everything and reduce our carbon footprint. But what good is a yogi in straight jacket and padded cell. So I said nothing. Now I realize it needs to be addressed; it needs to be talked about, it needs to be recognized. That’s the starting point. I encourage you to read The Green Boat and if that’s too much, take 30 minutes and watch the video on this blog’s prior entry, Reconnecting to the Web of Life. Mary Pipher does a wonderful job of summarizing her book. Then go the What Is Missing site. Give yourself another 30 minutes on it. Without any judgements, see what it has to offer, by one of the world’s most renown living artists. It’s a place to start to wake up.
This weekend I attended a Mindfulness Retreat in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. It was put on by the Heartland Community of Mindful Living lead by the dharma teacher Joanne Friday. It was a transformative and refreshing experience, but that is not what I want to talk about right now. What I want to talk about it this women I met there. Perhaps some of you have heard of Dr. Mary Pipher. When I was talking to her I didn’t know who I was talking to. Now I know. Author of Reviving Ophelia and her most recent book The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture. Here is a talk she gave recently about her newest book. I believe there is significance in that I would me this women in context of this Buddhist retreat.