Mindfulness: Catching the small things1 Comment September 11, 2014 / Posted in Mindfulness
Today is the feast of St. Nicholas of Tolentine. Fifty-five years ago on this day I along with 43 other novices of the Fratrum Ordinis Eremitarum Sancti Augustini (Augustinians). As Brothers of the Order of Hermits of St Augustine we professed our vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. I realize that it is all the small things in my life that bring me to this present moment. Those memories of a yesterday in a yesteryear seem so far away. Yet so close in my mind’s eye. The beginning of 9 years of spiritual training and development so long at the time and from the perspective of time just a moment, an eighth or 12.5% of my life.
The Preface of the Rule of St. Augustine written in 400 A.D. read every Friday during a silent lunch helped remind me: Before all else, beloved, love God and then your neighbor, for these are the chief commandments given to us.
It is with gratitude and appreciation for the lessons learned that I received by living in community.
It was in all the small things along the way. In the early years the schedule of monastic life was taken as a chore. Only years later did I recognize the schedule was about a practice not imposed as was the feeling during formation but a practice chosen. A practice that frees one and allows for doing what needs to be done in order to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.
In Lee Thayer’s newest book Mental Hygiene he touches on be addicted to habits that lead to good mental hygiene and habits that lead to bad mental hygiene. That hygiene starts in how I think influences who I am and who I am impacts what I do and what I do creates my habits and then my habits create me. How I know if my habits of mental hygiene are good or bad is seen in their efficacy. I will know if the habits I’m addicted to are good or bad by the consequences of my practice. I go back to the Kalama Sutra
“After thorough observation, investigation, analysis and reflection, when you find that anything agrees with reason and your experience, and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, and of the world at large; accept only that as true, and shape your life in accordance with it; and live up to it.”
Daily, I walk up the back stairs to enter my home. The habit is to get out my keys as I close the door to the back house and walk up the steps. Unlock the door and go in making sure the cats don’t sneak out. A few months ago I saw a piece of one of our potted plans had grown and a small flower had budded on the edge of the door mat. I noticed it because I saw I would step on it. I realized I had been walking past that plant for a year or more and never really noticed the small flowers the plant had put out. It was a moment for reflection of how many little things go unnoticed through out my day, oh yea of mindfulness.
Looking behind a pot the partially hid other pieces of the plant growth, I found one of the plants other flowers in full bloom.
Now as I walk up the steps I am reminded to be mindful of the small things. A please. A thank you. A smile. A word of appreciation or gratitude. Blinking my lights to allow another car to enter in front of me. Listening to what is being said with care.