Breathing In, Breathing Out….

I, and five others from the Findhorn Foundation and Community have just come back from five days with peace activist and Zen-Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, at the Mindfulness Retreat in St Andrews, Scotland, organised by The Community of Interbeing.

I sit at my desk, swamped with emails, the telephone ringing and much to be done, noticing that my mind is beginning to race, and yet I smile and begin my practice……breathing in, breathing out……feeling Thay, as he is affectionately known, deep inside me, compassionate and full of understanding.

What a privilege it was to share time with this 77 year old man, so small in stature and yet so mighty and vast in his being. Here was a man who sat quietly and talked softly to us for many hours, a humble embodiment of loving kindness, whose boyish face grinned with delight as he spoke simply of the true nature of life and the cosmos. And this is the same man who has, for 45 years, actively and persistently called the world to account on its systematic violence against all of life through his own mindful living and engaged Buddhism.

For the 500 participants the five days were rich with walking and sitting meditations, following our breath, bringing mind and body together, being aware and in the present and eating silently and consciously. But there were also Dharma talks and discussions, songs and laughter, Touching the Earth practice, presentations from monks and nuns from Plum Village, networking on how we can help transform our world and the wonderful, ever-present inviting of the bell to ring, reminding us to go home to ourselves, deep inside.

I came away with a nourished soul and a renewed sense of the ‘interbeing’ which is at the core of Thay’s teachings and also at the heart of how we live here at Findhorn – that all is interrelated and that world peace can be attained by each of us finding peace within; and that peace within comes from touching life deeply in every moment of daily life.

Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
And look at all beings with eyes of compassion.

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