Second Song on IN: Chants of Mindfulness and Compassion – I Have Arrived
Second Chant on “IN: Chants of Mindfulness and Compassion” – I Have Arrived
“I have arrived. I am home. In the here and in the now. I am solid, I am free. In the ultimate I dwell” – Thich Nhat Hanh
This teaching from Thich Nhat Hanh, put to music by a friend of mine, Betsy Rose (www. Betsyrosemusic.org), speaks to what wonderful thing can and does happen when we take the time to learn and practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of directing the mind away from thought and into investigating and appreciating the present moment.
You do not have to be stuck forever in the negative thinking your mind churns out. When it is slamming you with criticism and shame, it is probably doing what it learned to do long ago in order to understand and manage your pain (when we are kids and no one is contextualizing our pain we assume it’s our own fault). No, you do not have to be loyal to the habits of your mind and thank goodness, there are practices that can loosen the grip of long standing mental habit. They include practices in mindfulness, compassion, lovingkindness, and gratitude.
For example, let’s say I am in a moment of intense anxiety about money. Or it could be about relationships, or job, or family…name a vortex du jour. Most of us know what it feels like to be enveloped in a hell of ruminative thought, spurred on by painful emotion like anxiety, anger, fear, or sadness.
So, in the example, I am lost in thought and worry about money. If I am fortunate enough to remember to try mindfulness, I can choose to let the thought be for a few moments and investigate the present moment. What is happening now?
Maybe there is some mixture of pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant things about the present moment. Pleasant: There is a cool breeze. My dog is next to me. I don’t have to go into work this afternoon. Neutral: I am physically safe right now. I am fed. I am breathing. Unpleasant: My back hurts. There is a feeling of contraction in my chest. I am pervaded by a sense of worry.
With investigation into the present moment, a few things are happening.
- I am changing the focus of thought, thus freeing myself from the intensity of the negative thought.
- I am opening to the possibility of perceiving some GOOD in my life, right now – not only the pleasant things (breeze, dog, no afternoon work), but the apparently neutral things (safety, food, breath) can be appreciated.
- The unpleasant things in the moment (physical discomfort, worry) can be put in perspective, AND I now have an option of addressing them directly (get on my back roller, do some writing, google sources of possible help for financial concerns) rather than spinning myself deeper into anxiety.
This moment, here, the one you are in right now, may be much less unpleasant when you actually inhabit it, by bringing attention to it (that’s mindfulness). And that is Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching: this moment is your home. Not the thoughts in your head. Here. This ever changing moment. Within this moment you actually dwell, this is where life is really happening.
You have arrived. You are home. And here in this moment, there is the solidity of your presence- you are part of the world, part of the universe, your breath and heft and heat BELONG here among us. You can feel that directly with mindfulness. Here, in the ultimate ever changing now, among the rest of us, you dwell.
CD RELEASE CONCERT AT THE FREIGHT AND SALVAGE!
Saturday September 26, 2015 8PM
www.freightandsalvage.org (Berkeley, CA)
Join Eve Decker, Julie Wolf, Kent Welsh, Ben Decker and other special guests
Celebrating the Release of Eve’s New CD, IN: Chants of Mindfulness and Compassion
Click here to purchase tickets ($21 adv./$23 at door)
With Special Guests!
Vocal Activist Melanie DeMore
Spirit Rock teacher Donald Rothberg
Buddhist teacher and performer Nina Wise
Musician and Activist Betsy Rose
Members of the Threshold Choir (choirs of women who sing at the bedsides of the dying)
“Eve’s songs–the music, the words, and most of all her voice–comfort and embrace.” – Sylvia Boorstein, founding teacher, Spirit Rock Meditation Center
“T O T A L L Y B E A U T I F U L ! ! ! The songs are gorgeous!!!” – Larry Yang, founding teacher, East Bay Meditation Center
“An original musical transmission of the dharma. Deeply moving and transformative. And blessed with Eve’s emotionally transparent voice and exquisite musicians. This is music that heals. I know I will be listening to it daily!” – Jennifer Berezan, singer/songwriter and activist