Mindfulness: Doing Nothing Is Easier Than You Think

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Martin Luther Kind and Thich Nhat Hahn: Peacemakers

Thich Nhat Hanh is a rather famous meditation teacher and spiritual leader in the Buddhist tradition.

Not long ago, I was listening to him talk about being mindful in every moment.

He said he enjoyed breathing mindfully, pouring and drinking his tea mindfully, walking mindfully, bringing his mind home to the present, using concentration.

Ahhhh. Good. Yes, cool.

But wait. THEN, he said something about sitting on your computer for three hours and forgetting you have a body.

Or walking very fast to get from here to there. Or eating quickly because you’re super hungry but you can’t be bothered to stop to enjoy the taste. Or holding it when you have to pee because you’re absorbed in something.

These are not mindful.

Um. Oh.

Mindfulness. It’s sooooo slow, though. It’s not exactly “exciting”. It can’t be that easy!

I mean, I have work to do. Programs to create, service to provide, money to make, success to achieve.

A great teacher and mentor of mine asked me “What do you want? If you could have one thing, what would it be…the thing you want the most?”

Really, really. What. Do. You. Want?

And then I realized…I don’t even know.

Awakening? Success? Ecstasy?

Suddenly I remembered….this allowing the mind to rest here in the body, including every sense, aware of everything here in the present, is pretty easy.

Like, crazy ridiculous easy. You don’t have to do anything.

Literally…nothing. You can stop trying. Stop looking for what is wanted.

It is not only easy…it is joyful.

“When you breathe in, you know you are alive. Because someone who is dead doesn’t breathe anymore. Breathing in, I know I am alive. I have a body. I can get in touch with the many wonders of life. Sunshine. Rain. Flowers. River. People. Joy, right away. Joy is born from mindfulness, concentration, insight.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Even if something difficult is happening. Sickness, loss, break-ups, destruction, suffering.

Even if I *think* this is not enough, just couldn’t be good enough, best enough, fine enough, big enough….

….I stop, anyway.

Who would you be without the thought that your present moment, this moment, is not quite enough, or missing something? That you have to get somewhere else, besides here right now?

I’d relax so deeply, it would be amazing.

Instead of “I WOULD relax so deeply, it WOULD be amazing” the whole experience suddenly becomes “I AM relaxed so deeply, this IS amazing.”

Turning the thoughts around: right here, right now, is enough, is plenty, is more than enough. 

It is overflowing, full, moving, alive.

Even if I’m crying, or afraid, or disappointed…these emotions are not all that is happening in this moment, there is much more.

Who are you right now without any belief that you need more than mindfulness, awareness, being still? That you need more than imagining who you would be without thought?

It’s a fun mystery.

“Each separate being returns to the common source. Returning to the source is serenity.” ~ Tao Te Ching #16

Much Love,  Grace

4 Responses to Mindfulness: Doing Nothing Is Easier Than You Think

  1. You are so welcome. I have several different translations but the ones in Grace Notes are ALWAYS from Stephen Mitchell (Byron Katie’s husband). I carry it around with me in my bag every day :)

  2. “Who are you right now without any belief that you need more than mindfulness, awareness, being still? That you need more than imagining who you would be without thought?”

    It’s on my recorder. thanks!

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