Mindfulness Activity #88
On Changing the World
Good Morning. I have been thinking about change. Our lives have been different for the last 3 months. We have been frightened and humbled by the power of disease. We have been shocked and appalled by racism and violence. But, disease has been present. Racism and violence have plagued our country since Europeans arrived in America. What has changed? COVID-19 has gotten our collective attention. While people limited their activities and attended to the news, videotapes of George Floyd’s murder afforded an opportunity to see what activists had been fervently trying to communicate for decades—people are suffering.
A United States Veteran being treated for PTSD from his tour in Afghanistan said what bothered him most was that his brothers were dying and people back home did not seem to care. He explained, “we are at war and people in America are at the mall.” I think what bothered him the most was the fact that so much suffering went unnoticed, and worse, that it was not responded to.
There is a natural pull to be unmindful…to be focused on the minutia of every day…what will we eat for dinner? What will I do today? But, there are also thousands of moments that invite connectedness and mindful attention, if we are open to them-if we are attuned. We have been practicing daily together, some of us for months. If you have been practicing, do you notice anything different about your days? You may be better able to calm yourself and focus with a breath. You may actually be more attuned to suffering—in others and in yourself. Noticing and accepting that suffering is present is the first step in ending it.
Today’s practice will only take a moment. So try to place 100% of your attention on the practice. Sit wherever you are and hold a position you can keep comfortably for a minute. Take a deep breath in and out. Read this phrase by 13th century Persian Poet, Scholar and Sufi Mystic, Rumi, and take five deep breaths in and out, reflecting on the phrase.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
Think about how your daily practice has changed you. How and what will you continue to change?
Wishing you a peaceful Sunday!