Once, a long time ago I sat amongst saffron robes looking out over terraced rice paddies to watch the eagles soar against blue sky and white snow-capped mountains. I heard the gong summon us to the meditation hall and sat cross legged finding it easy to still my mind and arrive in the moment untroubled.
And then I left, descending once more to the crowded, honking, polluted streets below where I was jostled, and hustled and pawed and my anger and irritation rose once more.
It is so easy to think that we have failed when our mind wanders off to distraction and worrying, so easy to add another layer of criticism that we can’t even find peace and stillness.
Yet what I know more as I get older is what the Buddhists said all those years ago, which is that mindfulness is a practice, it is not a perfect, it is not an endpoint, not a destination, not a success, not a goal.
It is the gentle guiding of errant attention back into the body, into the breath, with kindness and compassion over and over again.
So rather than the berate ourselves for our absence from the moment, rather let us celebrate when we arrive unified, where our hands are washing the dishes, where are breath is washing the dishes, where our mind is washing the dishes, for in that moment the whole world expands.
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