No Mud. No Lotus.
ON a cloudy September Sunday, I attended a Day of Mindfulness, led by the incredible teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn. His dharma talk examined the nature of suffering, that most human experience that grounds us all. By focusing on the present moment, he said, we provide the space in which we can focus on our suffering, to cradle it as we would a small baby. By paying attention to what pains us, we can transform that suffering, into compassion – for ourselves. This compassion is the foundation of happiness, joy; a base for healthy communication and compassion for others. Without this mud – this suffering – there can be no flower – joy, happiness, and compassion.
This last year has been very, very muddy, and I am looking for flowers, for trees, in fact, with root systems to stop the erosion of this rainy life season….And I keep smacking into the words of Thich Nhat Hahn.
The suffering inside us contains the suffering of our ancestors, who may not have been able to transform their suffering…and transmitted their unresolved suffering to us. If we are able to understand that suffering and thereby transform it we are healing our parents, our ancestors, as well as, ourselves.
The Art of Communicating
I have found the mindfulness exercises to be moments of peace and comfort. I focus on my breathing and in that space acknowledge my sorrow. I don’t always feel better, or happy, right then. But I can tolerate the pain, and see a path forward, and with relief know that I will heal, and joy will come.
This Thanksgiving day I am grateful to have experienced human compassion, a listening ear, a tight squeeze of love. I am grateful, too, for the opportunity to offer that compassion to others, and to my ancestors, as well. Their suffering is the dirt of my family’s trees, and with mindful genealogy perhaps I can transform their suffering into understanding and compassion – for my grandparents, my parents, for me, for my present companions.