In the moment, unless it’s cold and windy

I’ve been skimming through a copy of Peace is Every Step by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh the past few nights. I was looking for a passage that I remembered being in the book, but I can’t find it. Now, I’ve acknowledged that my memory can be completely unreliable for past experiences, but it’s usually pretty good for items that can be fact-checked. But I can’t find it, and I have no idea where else the idea may have come from.

It seems to be a pretty awesome book, regardless. The copy I have was lent to me by a cousin last Christmas, and I briefly read over some of it last year. But then it went on the shelf, along with all of my other aspirational reading materials. But I think I’ve grown into it now– I like the short, punchy sentences about being in the moment. It’s fast-paced and exciting to read, but simultaneously all about being slow and in the moment. For instance:

Although we walk all the time, our walking is usually more like running. When we walk like that, we print anxiety and sorrow on the Earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. We can all do this, provided that we want in very much. Any child can do it. If we can take one step like this, we can take two, three, four, and five. When we are able to take one step peacefully and happily, we are working for the cause of peace and happiness for the whole of mankind. Walking meditation is a wonderful practice.

For me, this is definitely aspirational reading material. I like to take my steps peacefully and happily, but also at a rate that rivals a slow jog. And I’m generally proud of it. I have a long way to go, Thich.

The passage that I am looking for, but apparently does not exist (at least not in this book), is one about being happy and grateful every time you step outside. In that moment that you step from inside to outside, that is your prompt to pause and be mindful. To be aware of the weather and your surroundings, to be grateful and happy. Stepping outside your house until you get in the car. And then stepping out of your car until you go into the next building. It doesn’t matter if you’re walking across the grocery store parking lot: take that little bit of time to be present.

I love this as a concept, and have been trying it out from time to time when I remember. This week I remembered on multiple mornings as I stepped out of the house to my car, and it was really nice. I noticed the wind and the cool, but not freezing fall air. I was grateful that it wasn’t rainy those mornings, and that one morning the little bit of snow was kind of nice. But I generally don’t remember later in the day once I’ve gotten sucked into all the little things. And I also find it much harder to pause and be aware and grateful when its rainy and windy. I find it a lot harder to drum up peace and serenity when I’m getting pelted in the face with sleet. But I’ll keep trying.

Do you try to be mindful at any points during your day? Let me know what you think!

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4 thoughts on “In the moment, unless it’s cold and windy

  1. I think I once read a suggestion to take deep breaths while you are waiting at a red light in traffic. It might have been an article on making commuting less stressful? I’ve tried to do it occasionally. It’s a lot harder to accomplish when there’s a whining toddler in the backseat, though. 🙂

  2. That’s mentioned in the book as well. And there’s an epic passage about the joys of watching dishes, which is simultaneously inspirational and such an advanced level of mindfulness that it just seems comical. Unfortunately, the book doesn’t have any advice for being mindful in the midst of a toddler temper tantrum. Given that, I think you’re off the hook!!!

  3. I try to do the same thing as well if I can remember which is the hard part. I find that as I get older the more I enjoy the outdoors as I dod as a kid. Maybe not all the running and playing but more the beauty amd peacefulness it brings. I think of the day andy and his biddy went fishing at a quarry and I just sat there for an hhour or 2 just looking around and listening and it was so relaxing.

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