Today, Sunday, I had a personal day of mindfulness. These can take any shape. My day of mindfulness started with some sitting meditation followed by eating breakfast and having a cup of tea. I allowed my eating to be the only thing I was doing, simply eating. I allowed my cup of tea to be the only thing I was doing, simply drinking my tea. It was difficult at first to enjoy my cup of tea without feeling like I should be doing something else as well like reading or walking around or going on the computer. And then one of my cats came to help me practice and climbed into my lap so that I could simply enjoy my tea and the purr of the cat.
After my cup of tea I contemplated just what a day of mindfulness should consist of. Did it mean no work? Did it mean I couldn’t clean the house? These were of course my own questions, a day of mindfulness can really be whatever we want it to be. I decided that yes it meant no work, it meant I couldn’t clean the house. To me a day of mindfulness was a day to enjoy the day, reconnect with my practice and be fully present.
I then went for a wonderfully beautiful walk outside in the rich autumn day. The sky was such a vibrant blue and it provided the most lovely backdrop for the fall trees in all of their diverse colors. My walk around the neighborhood was spent unintentionally in awe. I was captivated by every leaf. As I walked by the train tracks and made rock cairns I started to think about what constituted as beauty. Traditional beauty, like the sky, flowers, or a stream is easy to appreciate I thought. Whereas hidden beauty was everywhere but not easily seen. I didn’t have to walk to the park in order to see beauty, I could see beauty in the alley and the roofing company parking lot. Beauty is everywhere, waiting to be beheld.
To say that A, B and C is beautiful but D, E and F are not beautiful is incorrect thinking. Everything is a part of life. Everything is from the earth. And everything is inherently beautiful. It might take some unraveling, but the beauty is there.
As I wove around the neighborhood collecting leaves and images of beauty I was truly present with my steps and my breath. I wasn’t caught up in my to-do list or my stream of thought. I was enjoying the day. And it was so wonderful to be free!
When I got back home I put on some music and took a nap. And as soon as I lied down my other cat joined me :) Cats are very good practitioners. They already know how to let go and rest. I took a nap for over an hour and when I awoke I spent some time writing letters to friends and family that live in other states or overseas. Then I played some guitar and sang a new song I’ve been working on. Music waters my seeds of joy and I love playing, singing and listening to music. Afterwards I made some dinner and washed the dishes. As I washed each plate and glass I was aware of how much gratitude I had for having access to clean water. Whenever I go to the faucet clean water is there. Safe, clean water is a gift! I ate and enjoyed my food so much.
I rounded out the day by listening to part of a dharma talk by Thay. (If you go to tnhaudio.org you can listen to many many talks archived there).
It’s 6:30pm now and I wanted to type this up while it was fresh in my mind. I hope to start practicing a personal day of mindfulness at least once a month. It is easy to think that a day of mindfulness is not important work to do. To think that a day is better spent cleaning, and raking and getting things done. In fact, there is nothing more important than practicing to let go, enjoy and be.