I have found it very helpful to set the tone for my week and especially my day with my morning mindfulness practice. In short, I begin with a seated meditation, followed by reading and writing. I prepare breakfast and coffee and mindfully engage with the process of eating. I receive a daily article emailed from Tricycle Magazine and today it was titled “How To Appreciate Every Season.” The email included a translated poem by a 13th century Chan dynasty writer, which I share below. This poem set the tone for the week to come.
Since we have begun our Mindfulness Monday sessions, I make it my intention to each day live fully into my experiences so I may bring that into my teaching sessions both for public classes and private sessions. With the four week course that I have developed for Mindfulness Monday’s which has been dreamier than what I initially imagined it to be, I have set an agenda, but I let each week also be dictated where the conversations take us based on what arises. Letting go of plans and expectations has been an important lesson I had to teach early on in training, facilitation and teaching. On Sunday night or Monday morning, before the participants arrive, I have gotten into the weekly habit of sending an email with thoughts and reflections. As we enter our third week, I would like to share with you what I shared with the participants and hope that you can one day join the four-week session.
Here it goes:
Subject: Seasons Changing // Session III
This weekend I had the pleasure of basking in what I hope was the last of the summer heat and got tackled by Mama Pacific’s fierce waves, before the planets shifted and we officially entered the Autumnal season. Since I was a child, I have given a strong preference to and labeled certain seasons as being my favorites. I often wonder where that comes from. Does summer really feel that good? Is it because of the leisure time compared to the long and arduous months of work and school? Do our parents have certain preferences that have been passed down? Do we prefer certain seasonal vegetables and fruit that make us give preference to autumn, rather than winter? Whatever the case is I feel we often get stuck in the this or that. In the what I like and don’t like. In that, one has the capacity to narrow awareness, closing us off to the beauty of the other–the one that we do not like or prefer.
Wumen Huikai (1183-1260) a Chan master wrote the following:
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.
As we come together as the first fully official day of Autumn, my wish is that we cherish our days even if that means slowly letting go of the glorious light of summer and the imminent darker days of autumn and winter. As we sit in our circle tonight, I would invite you to be thinking about some of the deeper attachments that you find yourself unable or unwilling to let go of. The things that bring you great suffering when you do not have them. Let us dig deep today. These can also be the people in your life. Before arriving, if you have time, think about the relationships you care about and those who you may have put out of your heart. We are halfway through our journey together, and I hope the days we are apart, you have developed a rhythm of self-practice. If not, let’s see if we can shift that today.
Be very well and may you greet your Monday with acceptance and love.
Till very soon,