Both Dreadful and Wonderful
July 5, 2007
Dear Still Water Friends,
The first section of Thich Nhat Hanh's Being Peace is titled "Suffering is Not Enough." In it, he reminds us that although there may be suffering all around us, "We must also be in touch with the wonders of life. They are within us and all around us, everywhere, any time."
For many of us, learning to live more mindfully includes slowing down and connecting more fully with the experiences of our life. We become connoisseurs of our breath, our physical sensations, our emotions, our thoughts and intentions. We rediscover simple joys. We encounter moments of peace and deep contentment.
Thich Nhat Hanh also reminds us, however, that although we learn to appreciate what is wonderful, we can't simply abandon the suffering of the world. We should not be lulled into a life of pleasant distractions. "Life is both dreadful and wonderful." he writes, "To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects."
Some years ago I asked a high-ranking Soto Zen Roshi who was living in a dormitory with other Plum Village retreatants what brought him to Plum Village. He answered that he came simply to be in the presence of Thich Nhat Hanh. He was, the Roshi said, "one of the few people on the planet who can eat a cookie and enjoy it and still hold the suffering of the world."
This Thursday evening after our meditation period we will explore together how we are learning to stay in touch with both the dreadful and the wonderful. What concrete practices work for us? What do we still need to work on?
We will also have our monthly Still Water Orientation this Thursday, beginning at 6:30 pm. It is a time for practitioners to learn the basics of meditation and to ask questions about beginning mindfulness practice and being part of the Still Water community. If you are planning to attend, it is helpful if you email us at email@example.com.
You are invited to join us for our orientation, our meditation hour, and our program. If you are not attending the orientation, the best times to join us are just before our meditation period begins at 7 pm, just before our walking meditation at 7:25, or just after our walking meditation at 7:35.
Our Sharing Silence Day of Practice this Sunday at Blueberry Gardens is just about full. Please email us at info@StillWaterMPC.org as soon as possible if you are planning on attending. (Information about the day is available on our Website.)