Dear MMM Folks,
One image that came to mind repeatedly in the days that followed MMM was Stephanie's playful assertion that "she was bad" because she hadn't meditated during the week. My heart glowed as I remembered the kind and compassionate laughter that emerged in the moment that followed. It felt like we all could relate--on many levels--to her comment.
In the meandering discussion that emerged during that day's "check in", I never got back to fully express what that moment had brought to mind. So days later, here it is:
Although cultivating a formal practice is wonderful and I encourage each of you to create the space and time in your lives to Sit (or Stand or Lie Down or Walk or......), Mindfulness can and does occur in and of itself at any moment. It can emerge as just taking one conscious breath in the midst of the day. It can emerge as we open the door and feel the doorknob in our hand; noticing the texture of the metal, feeling the motion of our arms and legs as we pass through the Portal.
Mindfulness can and will certainly emerge as we Sit in "formal" meditation at a home altar with incense burning. Yet it also emerges at the moment that we notice the warmth of the sun on the back of our necks as we walk down the street. It can happen as we remember to actually feel our feet on the earth as we walk in the park, yet it may "just happen" as we meet the eyes of a friend--or a stranger--and feel the Connection made. Those simple moments of Presence are available to each of us--with or without our intention. We may not even notice that we notice! (When I first read that in the Genjokoan, a classic Zen text, I thought "Damn! How cool is that?)
So, if that's the case, why bother? Why Practice? That is a classic theme that is reflected through a great many Zen koans and stories.