Monday, February 20, 2017

Mindfulness Intermeniate Level



Merit Badge Monday

Mindfulness Intermediate
As a member of The MaryJane Farmgirl Sisterhood, we are each given an opportunity to earn merit badges. It is sorta like scouts for grownups. And, what a great way to learn new things. This month I earned my “Intermediate” Merit badge titled, Mindfulness.


To earn this badge, I needed to

  • Meditate for an additional 21 days. The average length of each session should be at least 10 minutes. Try different types of meditation techniques, such as breathing exercises.


I am very pleased to report that I have been meditating for over 400 days! Wow! First, I want everyone to know that I never intended to meditate or use mindfulness, It just sorta happen! Moreover, it really doesn’t matter how often or how long one meditates. What is important is that you are living fully present in the moment. My practice this month has to not judge myself or others. This all came about when I was meditating after reading a bible verse from Matthew 5:43-44.


“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you



I have to admit that I find it hard to do this. Yet, it is a practice like meditation. Something that you work on each day. So I have been praying and doing a loving kindness meditation for some people that have caused me much harm and have broken my trust. I have realized that by praying, meditating, and sending them warm wishes in thought that I have developed much compassion and empathy for them. At the same time, I do not wish to re-establish any relationship with them. This is part of my boundaries that I have established.



For this badge, I also decided to read a book called Work by Thich Nhat Hanh. Below is my Book Review. I really have found Mindful meditation a positive cultivation for a life filled with more joy and peace. I would encourage everyone to give it a try. 


Work

How to find Joy and Meaning in each Hour of the Day

By Thich Nhat Hanh

A book review by Ginger Dawn Harman





In creating a more mindful lifestyle, I wanted to read some of the teachings for various authors that were listed in my MBSR course book that I attended. Although, I am not a Buddhist, I feel that we can all be mindful and respectful of different beliefs. I often tease that my faith is a bit Potluck since I have learned many wonderful positive behaviors from different religions and faiths over the years. Work by Thich Nhat Hanh will not disappoint you as a reader. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk, a renowned Zen master, a poet, and a peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, and is the author of many books, including the best-selling The Miracle of Mindfulness. He has created a wonderful book titled Work that incorporates mindfulness and healthy choices. In his own words he wanted to give others the opportunity to examine and live a more mindful lifestyle. 

He states “how we deal with workplace scenarios, handle home and family responsibilities, and endure traffic jams and other challenges of modern life. By carefully examining our everyday choices he encourages us to become a lotus in a muddy world.”

I encourage you to read this book slowly and to create an open attitude as to how we can each create a kinder and more compassionate world. We live in such a busy world full of connections and disconnections. Hanh explains that in this business, we often confuse Joy and happiness with excitement or expectations of what must be. My favorite quote from “Work” was,



“Perhaps one of the reasons we don't enjoy all these activities as much as we could is because we think activities need to be exciting for us to enjoy them. Many people confuse joy and happiness with excitement. But excitement is not the same as happiness. With joy and happiness we have a sense of satisfaction. There's a feeling of satisfaction in being in the here and now, when you recognize you have so many conditions for happiness in the present moment, whether you're sitting, walking, standing, or working.” 


I used to go to lunch with a woman and would leave dissatisfied because of the constant photos that must be taken and then the play by play that was then posted on social media. It was as if I was having lunch with a camera. Sadly, it was more about the story of the other person. This book had me shift the focus on not the frustration of the lunch date but to create better choices in my life. How often have I looked at my cell phone while out to lunch with others. This book is a great means to shifting ones perspective.

Part of why I left Facebook and ended a friendship. After all it was with her camera and I was a status update and way for her to gain attention.

Let’s face it, Joy and Happiness is not a “like” icon or is an excited constant posting of look at what I have done. Joy for me the connection with a fully present moment. Experiencing the good food, the smile on the persons face as they share, and the positive reciprocal companionship is what makes a lunch with a friend a “joy.” Not the judgmental, drama, or constantly need to fill others attention. This book goes into detail how to create healthy boundaries in relationships and best of all how to resolve a conflict. I did have a bit of a giggle how even a monk can get annoyed with another monk over something that seems so little such as chewing too loudly.  In every moment of life he emphases, there are infinite reasons to suffer and infinite reasons to be happy. What matters is where we’re putting our attention.

Photo credit http://plumvillage.org

At the back of the book are suggestions on how to continue to create a mindful lifestyle at work, home, and even why driving in rush hour. I appreciate the way that this book is not preachy and gives the reader the choice and what works best for each of our circumstances. I highly recommend Work by Thich Nhat Hanh.




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