We all want to be happy, but often we ourselves are the obstacle to living happy lives and bringing happiness to others. My cat reminds me how we wind ourselves up and then blame the result on others. She sits peacefully, and then out of the corner of her eye spots her own tail flicking provocatively. She turns her head, fascinated, at this self-created threat, and then pounces to catch it! And this is what we do! We unknowingly create dramas that play out before us with little insight into what is really happening. In so doing we often create suffering for ourselves and others.
Recently I was with my elderly mother shopping for a jacket. Unconsciously, I was locked into ‘being the good daughter’ and we were going to achieve the goal of ‘buying a jacket’. I did my best, pulling out jackets from the rack and showing them to her.Nothing was right, however. “I’ll know it when I see it” she told me. I was exasperated and things were getting tense. When I realised that I was locked into these fixed ideas, I let go and could see she was tired. So we agreed to get a bite to eat and go home for tea. The tension eased immediately and we relaxed and connected again.
But how often do we become so locked into a fixed idea about ‘the way things should be’ that we lose awareness of what is right in front of us? The practice of mindfulness can free us to see things the way they are and respond appropriately and kindly. Mindfulness is the practice of being present with what is happening while it is happening, without judgement. This is a skill taught by the Mindfulness Institute of Zimbabwe and the Harare Tibetan Buddhist Centre.
Lama Tsondru, a visiting teacher from Spain, will be in Zimbabwe this month and is giving a retreat on ‘The Four Foundations of Mindfulness’ from the 6-9 March in Nyanga, and a public talk on ‘Living a Meaningful Life’ on 10 March at 5.15pm at the Kagyu Samye Dzong Harare Temple in Monavale.
People who have trained in mindfulness retreats have seen the benefits:
“Enormously beneficial and I returned to my life with much more clarity.”
“Time away from my full life where all I needed to do was to be in touch with myself.”
“To be surrounded by such beautiful nature which I was able to soak up and nourish my soul.”
For more details, see: http://kagyu.org.za/harare, call 304202 (AM only), or email [email protected]