Contemplating Mindfulness

I recently watched the documentary film Walk With Me. It was a very meditative rendering of the activities of the Plum Village monastery and mindfulness practice centre in France led by Thich Nhat Hanh. A couple things captured my attention. One was the popularity of mindfulness in modern culture as reflected by attendance at retreats offered to the public. The other was the monastery's practice of having chimes ring every fifteen minutes to remind practitioners to pause and return to the moment, to be mindful at all times. 

We can all benefit from being more mindful. Mindful of our thoughts. Mindful of our actions. But most of all, mindful of every moment. It is so easy to be distracted by what has happened or may happen and to distract ourselves with social media, television and other distractions. I think we all yearn to be more mindful but struggle to put it into practice. 

The film opens with a lengthy scene of Thich Nhat Hanh leading a group through the woods on a meditative walk. I found this poem of his on Walking Meditation for your contemplation. 

Take my hand. 
We will walk. 
We will only walk. 
We will enjoy our walk 
without thinking of arriving anywhere. 
Walk peacefully. 
Walk happily. 
Our walk is a peace walk. 
Our walk is a happiness walk. 
Then we learn 
that there is no peace walk; 
that peace is the walk; 
that there is no happiness walk; 
that happiness is the walk. 
We walk for ourselves. 
We walk for everyone 
always hand in hand. 
Walk and touch peace every moment. 
Walk and touch happiness every moment. 
Each step brings a fresh breeze. 
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet. 
Kiss the Earth with your feet. 
Print on Earth your love and happiness. 
Earth will be safe 
when we feel in us enough safety.

(from “Call me by My True Names  – The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh”, Parallax Press, 2005.)

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