"Change myself, change the world"
I must, however, say that Thich Nhat Hahn's wonderful teachings seem far removed from the apparent austerity of the Zen schools of Japan (with which it is closely linked, as he is a 42nd generation Lin-chi (Rinzai) Master of Lieu Quan School of Vietnamse Buddhism). I am continually surprised to be instructed at the beginning of a meditation session "Enjoy your breathing".
I feel very at home with these gentle and compassionate people, and find their good humour contagious. It is such an ordinary, practical and every day useful practice - not ivory temple stuff at all. " A practice of joy, harmony and transformation". That's all I ask. I cant transform people and situations around me, but I can change my "unwholesome mental states".
And yesterday, Sunday, some of the more local of us got together in a Day of Mindfulness in a lovely location on Dartmoor. A warm wooden practice centre called The Barefoot Barn. It has walls of windows that look out onto the rolling hills that lead up to the moors, and underfloor heating and a wood burning stove. But the windows were wide open yesterday, as it was one of those brilliant blue sky bursting days of winter, when the sun turned up its heating by several notches. We did chi gong exercises by a small still lake, fed by gentle streams. It was total pleasure to look up at the sky through open pine tree branches and feel the sun's warmth really heating up your body. I felt very organic just soaking it up like everything else in that soft landscape.
Unusually (and may there be more of it) I was content to wander past mossy rocks and look out on the scene from the hillside without grasping at the delightful experience and trying to capture it and take it with me, to have and to hold. A gentle attention on the continually changing was exquisite and light.
I only fleetingly regretted not having my camera to try to capture it to share visually with you!