Staying Awake

When I first entered the monastery, the monks gave me a small book called “The Essential Discipline for Daily Use,” written by the Buddhist monk Doc The from Bao Son pagoda, and they told me to memorize it. It was a thin book. It couldn’t have been more than 40 pages, but it contained all the thoughts Doc The used to awaken his mind while doing any task. When he woke up in the morning, his first thought was, “Just awakened, I hope that every person will attain great awareness and see in complete clarity.” When he washed his hands, he used this thought to place himself in mindfulness: “Washing my hands, I hope that every person will have pure hands to receive reality.” The book is comprised entirely of such sentences. Their goal was to help the beginning practitioner take hold of his own consciousness.
Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness

The teachings are all around me, and so often, after a few years I forget and go on blundering through my life thoughtlessly, wondering why I don’t seem to know how to live in remembrance.  “Help me, help me, help me!” I nag God.  Here is a better way.


Today I start again:   Rising, I press my hands together over my heart and think “May all beings arise rested, to build a new and beautiful world.”


Walking through my house, I feel the cool boards beneath my bare feet and think “may all beings know shelter.”


On my back porch, rocking back and forth, I think to myself, “Feeling the fresh breeze of Spring, I wish this peace for all beings.”


May all know the peace of rocking back and forth slowly, in tune with the motion of the planets.”


Savoring my hot tea, I think “Sipping the first cup of tea today, I hope that all beings may have clean hands and a full cup.”


Leaning on the fence, looking over the fields, I think “may all beings know greeness.”


I feel little, light paws leaning on my knees.  May all beings know unconditional love.


I plug in my earbuds and close my eyes.  May all beings come home with me.


Well, you get the idea.  I don’t have a very exciting life here in my little hermitage, but if I pay attention to everything I do in the course of a day and offer my hopes to the world, then I may just get organized!

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