Posted in Mindfulness, Personal Growth

A Day of Mindfulness: A Life Long Messsage

A Sunday well spent


At 7:45 am I set off to the Blue Cliff monastery which is surrounded by mountains in upstate New York. The ride was about an hour and a half, 45 minutes consisted of miles and miles of immense trees. It began to drizzle and quickly stopped, as the grey clouds separated revealing a beautiful autumn sky. The closer I got to the mountains the fluffier they became, almost as if the clouds were aware of my plans and were conspiring to set the tone. After having an intense week filled with stress and responsibilities I had been counting down the minutes until I began my day of mindfulness. It was finally here.


Upon my arrival the monks and visitors had already begun singing Buddhist songs of love and peace, setting a welcoming vibe as I walked across Mindfulness Road to join them. As we put hands together in gratitude I looked around at the handful of people I’ve never met and yet felt at home with. Experiencing different walks of life that inevitably brought us all together for a day of peace and calm. Collectively we bowed our heads and set an intention before starting our mindful walk through the forest. For the mindful walks I have done in the past I usually focus my attention on my feet; slowly placing my left heel down and then my right, almost as if I’m walking in slow motion. This time I decided to change my intention to focusing on my breath and simply appreciating life.


If you’ve never heard of or experienced a mindful walk I highly suggest giving it a try. There are many different types of mindful practices, all of which consist of paying attention to an action, or actions that we usually don’t give a second thought to. We are turning off our autopilot and noticing it as if it were the first time. The mindful walk allows us a chance to view walking from a different perspective. We get from one point to another and often never pay attention to the in between. The how. It helps us practice gratitude for this simple act that we do every day.


For the most part the mindful walk was silent, only the sounds of footsteps crunching twigs and the wind that kept us company. When we first began it was difficult to silence my thoughts, especially because I had such a stressful week. It felt as if every second my mind thought of something else to distract me. Whether it was wandering into responsibilities waiting for me at home or replaying the events of the past week, focusing was difficult. Remembering my intention was to focus on my breath, I reminded myself of just that, over and over and OVER again. After walking for about 30 minutes we paused for a few moments to just be. Be grateful, be patient, be still.  Above me trees were swaying while others were immovable, all of them unapologetically beautiful in their stance. There were tiny chipmunks unseen but absolutely heard, while the birds were quietly in the open. Our walk continued and there were many different statues of Buddha surrounded by piles of 3 rocks on top of one another. People interpret this in different ways. I saw this as a chance to acknowledge that I was at peace and that I have the power to cultivate this at anytime.



“By realizing my emotion I understand impermanence.”

After our mindful walk through the forest we were given sometime to ourselves before sitting in on the dharma talk. I chose to use this time to watch the clouds of course, after all this is my favorite pass time. They were so beautiful I almost lost track of time. The breeze picked up and blew cool mountain air all around. I felt peace of mind for the first time in…I can’t remember when. I headed over to listen to the wisdom of the monk speaking. As she walked in, and again when she sat down, we joined our hands and bowed in gratitude together. Before beginning we collectively paid our respects to those who lost their live 15 years prior on the morning of September 11th. Strangers coming together to create a peaceful and loving feel on such a profound morning. The energy in the room was comforting.


The topic of the talk overall was how our emotions change due to the behavior of others. The example given was when someone does something we do not like we put them in a negative category in our mind. Once someone, or an event, is placed into a particular category it is not likely that we will cleanse our mind of those thoughts and labels. This got me thinking about the stressors I have been experiencing and the labels I have created for them. Just as I had experienced a bad day, or few days, so could the people who upset me. I felt my judgment toward them melt away. I decided that every being in my life had the right to a clean slate, just like me. We were then given a breathing exercise to try: when we inhale we realize the emotion that we are currently feeling, when we exhale we acknowledge the behavior caused by these powerful emotions. Listening to her speak was a life changing experience for me. Her words flowed through the room as if this were all so simply to understand, therefore easy to embody the next time an obstacle feels impossible to get through. Later on in the day I practiced this meditation next to a statue of Buddha and placed my own three rocks atop one another.


She continued on to explain the concept of nondualism. “We are not the same, but we are not different.” What I took from this is that we are all interconnected and yet still individuals who can not be compared to one another. As the lesson continued I began to understand how our emotions tie into nondualism. When a person or event causes us to experience a certain emotion we are quick to judge, and often not change the judgment we have passed until another experience occurs. This is because we have judged ourselves as well, creating an us vs them mentality. Nondualism embodies the principle that we do not have to have similar interests, lifestyles or mindsets for us to thrive together as human beings. It is imperative for humanity to accept that difference does not mean distance, rather it could present the possibility for an opportunity of understanding another way of life. The broader we expand our horizons the faster we break down the barriers between knowledge and ignorance, comfort and fear. When the dharma talk concluded I felt a shift in my being. I felt a boost of confidence in my ability to spread peace and love. Above all else I felt compelled to share these beautiful words with as many people as possible. If you’ve read this until the end, thank you. Do not underestimate the power of positivity. Please pass it on to someone who can benefit from these lessons. Namaste.


Mindfulness teacher, intuitive healer, energy worker, and wild woman living by the moon. These are my teachings, this is my journey.

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