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Mindful Morning Saturday

Offering incense in the dark of early morning

I’m not sure how long ago I started this practice I call Mindful Morning Saturday, maybe a year or so. I’ve posted about it before but I was inspired to post about it again, simply because it’s adds so much benefit, energy, and joyfulness to my weekend.

As an ordained OI member (Order of Interbeing), I am asked to partake in a certain amount of Days of Mindfulness every year – 60, to be precise. And this particular OI requirement often poses some head scratching for folks, both before and after they ordain. True to form, we are not given any specifics as to how to manifest this and are left instead to use our own intelligence and insight in developing our own relationship with how to put this into active practice.

I ordained in 2007. For the first few years after that, I simply continued to attend our locally held retreats twice a year, as well as any locally held special events and days of mindfulness organized by my sangha. Then, in 2014, I started going on retreat to Deer Park Monastery for 3-4 weeks at a time every January. So for the past five years I’ve been closer than ever before, in terms of meeting the required 60 days of mindfulness.

For years, I’d wanted to figure out a way to insert a Day of Mindfulness into my home life routine once a week but I hadn’t known a good way to do it. I think like many of us OI members who are perplexed by this requirement of ordination, I was caught in thinking that a Day of Mindfulness had to be a WHOLE entire day, which seemed impossible if I was interested in doing it every week.

Then, just last year I think it was, I started thinking about the Days of Mindfulness I would participate in while I was staying at Deer Park. Most Sundays at Deer Park are an open Day of Mindfulness, where folks are welcome and encouraged to come to the monastery for a day of practice. The Days of Mindfulness there generally start at 9:00am and end after lunch, around 1:00pm. They aren’t a WHOLE entire day. They typically last about 4-hours. Once I realized this, I started thinking about my own 60 Days of Mindfulness differently.

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Stick Exercises

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This booklet (pictured above & below) was published by Plum Village and can be purchased in the book shop at Deer Park Monastery, rooted in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. I imagine our other monasteries in the US must carry it as well. As written on the inside of the booklet:

“The Qi Kong method “Duong Sinh” (life sustaining) Way of the Heart” consists of four exercises based around the use of a long light stick. Each exercise consists of four movements; giving 16 movements in all. The movements in this particular Qi Kong method were invented by the elderly Mai Bac Dau, and revised by Zen master Tinh Tu who put the instructions together in a compact form and added photographs to make them easier to remember and practice.

Virtues

Life sustaining Qi Kong, marvelous virtue,
Sixteen movements preventing disease and pain
Healing hundreds of different ailments
Long life, youthful health, peace of mind
Peaceful spirit shining snow-white
Qi’s rich life-giving force, a paradise for Man
Living with joy, walking with a light foot
Awake I smile, feeling free, I am home”

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