Clare will be running a 'Mindfulness for Living Well with Cancer' Course in Oxford for 8 weeks starting on the 23rd April, for more information please see her website.
Last Thursday I led a silent day of practice and after we had come out of silence gently and slowly and reflected on the experience, the day was then drawn to a close with the bell. However, we continued to sit and chat for a while. The difference between the beginning of the day and the end of the day was striking – one person spoke at a time, people listened and then the next person spoke. It was wonderfully calm and peaceful and nourishing.
Being in silence for a period of time like this reveals how busy our minds are and shows us the repetitive or habitual thought patterns we get drawn into again and again. After surgery to remove a tumour on my voice box I was not allowed to speak for a week. I am incredibly grateful to a wonderful nurse who was there after the surgery, who suggested I use the time like a retreat.
Peace is every step.
The shining red sun is my heart.
Each flower smiles with me.
How green, how fresh all that grows.
How cool the wind blows.
Peace is every step.
It turns the endless path to joy.
Thich Nhat Hanh
When I walk the dogs, the countryside is still and quiet, particularly the ancient wood nearby where the stillness is palpable and yet at times, I am suddenly woken up by the sheer beauty of a tree or the sunlight across a field and I realise I have been walking in this silence with an extremely busy, stressed mind – the noise within is deafening and battering me about.
Maybe being is this sitting here, writing this, feet on a cushion, bum on a chair, dog softly snoring – this is enough, this moment is enough. Eckhart Tolle suggests repeatedly asking ourselves “what is wrong now?” Right now, I am warm and comfortable and enjoying writing this. Perfect moment. Wonderful moment.
To read more of Clare's Mind Choice series please click here.
For details on Clare's 8-week 'Mindfulness for Living Well with Cancer' Course in Oxford, please see her website.