Most of what I have to share about in regards to the practice of mindfulness, rooted in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, centers around these four main threads, which I personally weave into my daily life on a regular and ongoing basis:
- Cultivating joy
- Practicing gratitude
- Prioritizing rest
- Monitoring closely the power & importance of words
Of course, there are other threads I weave in too, like: comfort zone expansion work and investing in creative forms of self-expression, but both of these, and many others, could simply be enfolded into one of the categories above. This list of four threads is the foundation of my own personal practice; it’s where I dig my Dharma well.
In Thay’s book Interbeing, in the four principles listed for the Order of Interbeing, it states:
It is said that there are 84,000 Dharma doors through which one can enter Buddhism. For Buddhism to continue as a living source of wisdom and peace, even more doors should be opened.
I reference this passage often. I just love it. I love knowing that in our tradition, we are not only encouraged but ushered in the direction of reinventing the Dharma and finding new ways to bring it more fully into our daily lives as an embodied practice.
I love being reminded that there is no one right way to practice; no one right way to engage with the Dharma; no one right way to be a practitioner.
Sometimes, I feel as though I might march too much to the beat of my own drum in the context of my practice tradition. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always sat & operated just slightly askew from the normal/standard way of doing things. And I’ve always been a natural leader (or as one of our local Dharma teachers sometimes calls me: an alpha-dog). For the most part, I relate with both of these aspects of myself in a positive way and I regard them as skillsets and strengths. But sometimes, around certain other practitioners, I can start to question whether my style and approach to the practice is, for lack of a better word, valid.
When my confidence gets shaken, I return to this passage and am reminded how both valuable and important it is to have different types/styles/personalities of mindfulness practitioners, who are called to digging their own well of practice in different spots on the wide and open field of the Dharma.
In remembrance of this today: I smile.