We’ve all experienced moments of joy and wonder: a beautiful sunset engages our rapt attention, an act of loving kindness fills us, a nighttime breeze bathes us in deep peace. ….. then the moment is gone and in its place is an ever so small longing to have another or longer moment. As human beings we are hardwired for this “joy connection” — which is perhaps why chocolate and Starbucks enjoy such commercial success. …. And happily, this connection is also available through ordinary, everyday mindfulness.
Simply put, mindfulness is a special way of paying attention – it is an open-hearted act of bringing our fully engaged attention to the present moment – a “joy connection,” just like the spontaneous bliss arising from an awesome sunset or the first sip of morning coffee. Although we use the word “mindful,” we internalize the joyful or wonder moments through an experience of awareness — which goes beyond our thinking mind.
It’s easy to see that sunsets, coffee, and chocolate are not bliss itself; they are only catalysts that kindle our joy within. And since the “joy connection” is what we long for, it’s encouraging to know there are catalysts all around us. Finding and using these catalysts is just a matter of perception and practice; and growing that kind of perception is a natural extension of the open-hearted practice of awareness-centered discernment and loving kindness.
At Tree of Life, our Mindfulness Practice uses a variety of ways to center our attention and develop increased awareness. Along with bringing attention to our senses, breath, and simple movements, we also explore different forms of contemplation. We practice in a meditative environment to enhance our focus, but the exercises are intended to be simple and useful enough to be incorporated into our daily living. There are many ways to make a journey, so the mixture of techniques is an opportunity to explore what works best for each individual’s preference for becoming centered, growing clarity, and uncovering inner resources.
This process invites us to consider and choose how we want to be in our lives. Like learning to paint a picture, mindfulness is learned as a skill and, with loving and creative application, it becomes an art. Within mindful awareness are the skills for becoming a Van Gogh or Monet of artful living.
We meet most Tuesday evenings 7:30 – 8:30 and Thursday afternoons 1:30 – 2:30 — there is occasionally some variance, so please see the church calendar. This program is also open to the community at large and is suitable for most ages. Please see me or contact me with any questions. M. E. Tanabe, Ph. # 815-337 9895 email@example.com