This coming Sunday, April 30, 2017, our service at First Church will focus on the work of the Buddhist teacher — Thich Nhat Hanh. I highly recommend his new book to you — At Home in the World.
But for today, one day, a Wednesday, I tried to move into a place of greater mindfulness by following the insights of Thich Nhat Hanh . . . And so . . . in the spirit of transparency . . . I offer my day to you . . .
- I woke early. A dream. Water rushing down the alley next to my boyhood home in Indiana. So much water. I’m in the front yard watching it flow into Main Street. I think to myself — “I wish I could capture that water. I could use the water for a garden.”
- I go downstairs with the dogs at 5 am. They go outside and do their business. They run back into the kitchen because they are hungry. I wonder if they enjoy food. I think of the difference between eating and dining. I love to dine. I don’t do much of it these days, but I love it when it happens.
- I fix a cup of coffee. It is delicious. Dark. French roast. I quickly scan the New York Times. One of my favorite restaurants, Union Square Cafe, is reviewed and receives three stars. I want to go there. I miss New York City.
- I drive to work with the dogs in the car. I begin writing a sermon in my office. I talk to a friend on the phone. The dogs settle in by my desk. I am reading Thich Nhat Hanh. I love his writing. I have never met him, but I wish I could. He must be old now. I think of my mentor Brother David Steindl-Rast.
- I had lunch yesterday at USC with Jim Burklo. He gave me his book on mindfulness. It looks great. My mind hops around like a rabbit as I try to write a sermon. But I come back to myself.
- My assistant comes in and interrupts me. Not once but several times. She has a job to do. I understand that. She’s good. I step back and try to embrace her interruptions. I try not to see them as interruptions. That’s an ego place for me. Interruptions. I try to welcome them.
- I’ve been writing a sermon for a couple of hours now. But emails keep coming. And dings. And text messages. They’re driving me a little crazy. Again, I try to step back. Is there a gift in that disagreeable email? Is there a gift in that unwanted advice I just received as a text? I wonder: How do so many people have my cell phone number?
- Mindfulness is inviting me to a different place today. Here it is. A text. An email. A phone call. It’s not good or bad. It just is. It is life. I open myself to be present with it. Not fighting it but welcoming it.
- The sermon is moving along. I feel energy writing it today. That’s usually a good sign. Need to wrap now. Appointments are coming in.
- I head home late in the afternoon and go for a walk. I don’t want to take the dogs. I am tired of the dogs. But they give me a look. That looks the says, “Really, you’re going on a walk without us?” I think of companionship. They count on me. I count on them too. I take them with me. I don’t feel like exercising, so I try to embrace the joy of walking. Gratitude for each step. It feels pretty good.
- I come back home and fix a gin and tonic. The Cubs are playing. They are losing but that’s okay. I let myself enjoy the game. The beauty, the slowness, of baseball. I eat dinner. I didn’t fix it. Carry-in from Joan’s on Third. It’s delicious.
- I think of the tax cuts being proposed by President Trump. I’m worried that all the Senate met privately with the President about North Korea. Could we be in a war by the weekend? It would not surprise me.
- The sun is setting. It’s been a good day. Tomorrow is busy. So is Friday. Anthony Rizzo just hit a homer and the Cubs are only behind by one run now. Hope springs eternal. I want to live each day more simply. Aware / Mindful / Conscious / Grateful / Alive.
Take a Breath. Consider trying one day mindful. The spiritual life is not about escaping the world; it is about embracing it more fully.