A story of how the buddha taught practical mindfulness.

Photo by Frank Albrecht on Unsplash

It is well known that the Buddha would sit under a Bodhi tree each day and teach, the hundreds of people who came to him each day, to listen to his wise words. Most of them sat in the hot sun and listened for hours each day.

The woman who drew the water from the nearby well, for the comfort of all the crowds listening to the Buddha speaking each day, was also listening while she worked.

One evening she stopped him, once everyone had left, and asked him how she could possibly manage to do all that he taught…

photo used as prompt for international poetry contribution for exhibition - reproduction allowed

Footprints on the sand, — Anthropocene Lucy.
Someone walked here long ago, evaporated,
marks in sand preparing to become fossil records.
No bottles with messages from afar, to be read
by some excited stranger, a connection across space and time
Imagine, the rest of the world carries on regardless,
fauna must start from the beginning. Humans were here!

The world has stopped on this beach. Tides come and go gently,
marking hours without number, rhythms of eternity.
Trees, blighted by storm, re-establishing their presence.
No plastic discards, broken down, part of the ecosystem.
No turtles lumber here at night to lay their eggs,
No birds plunge their beaks into the watery sands edge
to find molluscs, shellfish, invertebrates.

Life, earth endures, always surviving our
destructive natures, stripped, bleached, naked,
echoes of teeming lives of all those who once walked these shores.
What have we done?

Photo by Rick Medlen on Unsplash

The silence of breath, at dawn, of a lover’s moment, being held.
A silence of familiarity, of deep enduring love and contentment.
The only bliss needed for a whole day ahead, the pulse in your neck,
your life. Just this silence says it all,
a baby sleeping peacefully in your arms.

The silence of a full moon in winter, icy frost in the air,
certain death of those caught out, the harsh cruelty of winters grasp
the loss of breath, frozen vapours subside
as the weary homeless man releases his last gasp.

The silence of a beach empty of people…

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

When you died the whole world changed.
Not just the part that once held you in place,
the space you occupied for 97+ years suddenly vacated, a void.
Such longevity, you’d think we’d become acquainted in that time.
With death comes phonecalls, recollections from all
who knew you, those we never met, those we did.

Each voice talked of a different person, a stranger, that list of phone calls introduced us to someone we had never met, never been recipients of the long list of attributes which now became yours to claim. Each story, our eyes grew wider, our mouths…

Going places mindfully

Photo by Dmitry Schemelev on Unsplash

I love to walk — I have always loved to walk. Mindful walking is also one of my favourite mindfulness practices because I can do it even with my ADHD.

You can make contact with the place you are in when you walk, feel the earth beneath your feet, the air on your skin, the actual climate you are living in. You cannot do this if you are on transport, or inside houses.

When we walk we are connected in ways that make us equal, that keep us part of it all. When we drive or bus or train or…

Why this is so important for good mental health

Photo by Manson Yim on Unsplash

Life is a series of choices, the highways we travel along, the path less or more travelled. These are all choices, whether we make them consciously or unconsciously. Life is also series of constraints on our choices. We cannot get away from either of these two factors.

If we want to feel freedom, absolute freedom, then we must also face consequences. That is another basic fact of life and also the basis of much misunderstood Karma.

Another saying I often hear repeated is that life is a hand of cards and the skills is in how you play them, not…

How poetic inspiration can arrive anytime.

Photo by USGS on Unsplash

This particular poetic inspiration arrived after decades and in the most surprising ways.

At school we were to read TS Eliot selected poems for my A level English Lit exams. I sort of liked them but they were clearly a bit above my head at the time, though I find myself still repeating learned lines in relation to my adult life. The poem The Waste Land was the most challenging though. If you haven’t read it I do recommend that you do so. It is an astonishing feat of literary creativity. …

How the moon got her many names

Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash

I went swimming the other afternoon with a friend who told me that a few other keen all-year-round sea swimmers were going for a full moon swim the following evening, to celebrate the ‘Worm moon’.

I had never heard that term before, but it makes sense.

I am a keen gardener and this time of year, when digging or turning soil, you will find an unusual number of worms coming to the surface after their winter retreats deeper underground. I am often surprised by how many survive in my water drenched land, so badly you cannot stand on it without…

authors own image —’ Dawn, the light comes flooding in.’

Meditation reveals not a concept of truth, but a direct view of truth itself.
This we call Insight, the kind of understanding based on attention and concentration.’

~Thich Nhat Hanh

I love dawn, I love taking photos of it too, and sunset. These seem to me to be magical times of day, moments of transition.

I am often up just beforehand to witness dawn’s arrival — one of the benefits of intermittent insomnia all year round. I think of a new day as a new chance for enlightenment arriving, for me to practice my mindfulness and deepen my understanding of…

Who are you and does it matter?

Photo by Eugenia Maximova on Unsplash

When we look into a mirror what or who do we see?

How well do we know that person, and how does that affect our relationship with the person who we see reflected back to us? After all it is supposed to be us, but who is that?

And why do different people seem to see such different versions of me? What do they experience that I miss and what do they miss that I experience? Why do some people resonate or gel and others are almost repellant, me too of course?

I remember a novel by one of my…

Sylvia Clare MSc. Psychol

Mindfulness teacher, poet, author of ‘The Well Mannered Penis’, ‘No Visible Injuries’, ‘Living Well and Loving ADHD’ ‘Julia’ and others.

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