A Poem

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

by Portia Nelson

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost…I am hopeless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

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I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

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I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in… it’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately

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I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

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I walk down a different street.

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Living In The Moment, Not In Our Heads

A powerful influence takes us away from being fully present: our automatic tendency to judge our experiences as not being quite right somehow; not good enough; not as expected; hoped  for; desired.These judgements then lead us into sequences of thought about blame, guilt, about what needs to or should be different and what could or should be changed. Indeed these thoughts often take us down well travelled and well worn paths in our minds- almost automatically and thus we lose awareness of the moment, the real moment and the freedom to chose what action needs to be taken.

We can regain our freedom if, as a first step, we simply acknowledge the reality and actuality of our situation, without being hooked into automatic tendencies to judge, fix, or desire things to be other than they are. The body scan provides an opportunity to practise simply bringing an interested and friendly awareness to the way things are in each moment, without having to do anything to change things….to accept and to simply be.

Alongside the body scan daily practise can include specific activities to develop the habit of mindfulness. Taking time once a day to eat mindfully- to really take time to observe, smell, taste, chew and savour each and every mouthful is a valuable tool in every day routine as is mindful walking. A daily walk is food for the mind, body and soul in terms of health but to do so mindfully, savouring the sights and sounds around, the sensation of the ground beneath you is to truly embrace the full advantage of this simple exercise.

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Image result for mindful walking

Image result for mindful walking

Image result for mindful walking

Image result for mindful walking

Image result for mindful walking

 

The Summer Day

A Poem By Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

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A valuable reminder to take time to notice, to appreciate and cherish the natural world around us and then to reflect and acknowledge ourselves in that moment.

 

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Little thoughts

A little post on what can be accomplished if one is just a little bit mindful. For the past couple of days, or maybe more, I’ve had trouble staying present in the moment – a lot on my mind that seeps intrusive  into my being. I’ve not been overly stressed, just a touch discombobulated. Anyway, I knew that if I didn’t do something about it nothing would be achieved and it would only get worse. What did I do? Well, I decided to address certain dead-lines. Then I slept…and after I’d slept I said ‘right what is it that you’re doing?’. I went from one task to the other in a state of complete mindfulness, just by asking that one question. At the end, I realised I’d managed to get a lot done with no stress or worry at all and feel bliss.

Blessings to all.

The Wisdom Within

Philosophy gives us the opportunity to think more deeply about the subjects that really matter to us eg. What does it all mean? Who am I? What is my part in all this? How can I find meaning and satisfaction in life? Philosophy deals with the big ideas, which govern human life. The world we live in is shaped by philosophy, whether we know it or not. For example, Plato lived over 2000 years ago and what he said about subjects such as truth, beauty and justice have influenced the world to this day. Philosophy can simplify , clarify, enrich and provide direction to our lives, especially when other areas of life fall into a state of uncertainty or doubt. It can give us a greater sense of perspective.

Ultimately philosophy can rise our awareness, to enable us to see things for what they are and bring us closer to our true selves. In this sense, it is the supreme means of self discovery.

Philosophy means:

  • Philo: love of
  • Sophia: Wisdom

Finding Wisdom

The dictionary definition of wisdom is ‘experience and knowledge together with the power of applying them practically’ (Oxford English Dictionary) In a sense anyone who has mastered their trade or area of specialism could be called wise in their sphere of knowledge- for example, if we call someone a wise doctor we may mean he or she has knowledge and experience of  medicine and is able to apply it practically.

However in our case as philosophers, the idea is not to be a wise doctor, or wise anything else, but to be wise people. We are interested in life itself- therefore the knowledge we seek is that which can enable us to master the art of living.

So when we use wisdom, we can define it to mean that knowledge which will enable a person to live truly happily.

The Concept

Wisdom is not just about the mind. It is also a question of being: the state of one’s being. Sometimes life can seem shallow, the mind continuously darting around on the surface without much experience of real depth. The experience of depth paves the way for greater wisdom and understanding.

In order to help bring about a greater depth of experience it is necessary to gain the ability to become truly still. This is not just stillness at the physical level but also stillness of the mental and emotional activity. This can be achieved by focussing on the five senses. Pay close attention to what is experienced through them. Allow the attention to drink deeply from what is presented from the exercise.

The Exercise

First, let the mind be free of any concern or occupation.. Be aware of where you are now..Feel the body…Feel the weight of the body on the chair… Feel the gentle pressure of the clothes upon the skin.. Be aware of where you are now…Feel the touch of your feet on the ground… And the play of air on the hands and face.. If they are open let the eyes receive colour and form without any comment..Taste… Smell..Be fully here…Now be aware of hearing…Let sounds be received and let them rise and fall without comment or judgement of any kind…With the body completely relaxed, let the hearing run right out to the furthest and greatest sounds, embracing all and rest in the great awareness for a few moments.

Source: Mindfulness Course, Tunbridge Wells 2013