Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I did a funeral yesterday. In the eulogy I talked about the fact that one of the gifts of the deceased was that he "payed attention". I talked about how important it is to pay attention to this moment because this moment is the life we are living, the life we have, the life that is for us, right now!

I quoted from Mary Oliver's poem Summer it she says..."I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention..."

"Pay" attention! Have you ever thought about the "pay" part? 

So to give one's attention cost something of us. 

I like that because one of the things I said about "paying attention" was that it was a sacred thing to do. It is a giving of yourself. 
It is an act of compassion. It is an act of love. And it is a spiritual discipline.

Seems to me if we could just learn to "pay attention", our lives would experience the deeper things, people around us would be changed in a good way.

I'll be the first to admit that I am still struggling with "it's all about me" and the simple act of paying attention to that character flaw (or personality disorder) is something that can make a difference in my relationships.

But it is not just about relationships. 

From a Buddhist perspective it is called "mindfulness" and from a Christian perspective, "the sacrament of the present moment". But then again, it is about "relationship", relationship to what we are doing, thinking, being in this very moment.

I think some folks in my family struggle with how I keep my life somewhat simple. When I say simple, I mean my activity. I still struggle with wanting "things". But the simplicity is about how I structure my day. But the simplicity about how I structure my day is how I try to practice paying attention, paying attention to those things that really matter. My rule of life creates the potential for me to "pay attention", to pay attention to what really matters.

So "paying attention" is something I am thinking about today. And the more I think about it, the more important it seems. And I need to pay attention to that.


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