:: Post written by Myoshin Diane Benjamin ::
When I was a composer receiving choral commissions, I would take the text for my next piece, write it out on a piece of paper, and keep it close to me throughout the day – on the rack of my piano when I practiced, on my desk at work, on the dashboard of my car. Over time, the text would wiggle its way into my consciousness and eventually emerge as music. I came to deeply trust this process, which happened largely beneath the surface.
This is similar to how I propose that we practice mindfulness. Rather than seeing mindfulness practice as an addition to our self-improvement list, I hope we can set an intention, keep it close, and let it ripen and flower. When we place mindfulness into our evaluative, binary thought patterns, it becomes brittle and rigid. Over time, this kind of practice is hard to sustain. Instead, we can trust our mind’s natural capacity for awareness. We can encourage conditions in our lives that remind us of our intention and provide opportunities throughout each day for practice. Then, as we receive the fruits of mindfulness, it encourages us to renew our practice over and over again.
Beginning on January 11, I will be facilitating a four-week class called Mindfulness in Daily Life. In this class, we will support each other in cultivating the energy of awareness and bringing it into every aspect of our daily life. We will learn about daily practices that encourage mindfulness and learn how to practice mindfulness in our bodies, with difficult emotions, in relationships, and even with our electronic devices! By practicing in this way, we can bring immense joy and happiness to ourselves, our loved ones, and our community. Beginners and long-time practitioners are equally welcome.
The text for this class will be Happiness by Thich Nhat Hanh. As he says in the introduction to the book, “With mindfulness, we can preserve an inner joy so that we can better handle the challenges in our lives. We can create a foundation of freedom, peace, and love within ourselves.”
Myoshin Diane Benjamin is a lay teacher at Clouds in Water. She began practicing Buddhism in 1996 and received initiation as a lay dharma teacher-in-training in the fall of 2017 from Sosan Flynn. She taught for over a decade in the children’s program at Clouds in Water, and has practiced at Hokyoji and Ryumonji monasteries. She has worked for many years in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, and is also a musician. She lives in Minneapolis with her wife and daughter. She is available to meet with students. E: Myoshin@cloudsinwater.org
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