A Lazy Third Day of Mindfulness

by Anna

On a lazy evening followed a lazy day, where we can do whatever we like. Still, I got up before breakfast to meditate and practice yoga, which seems to come naturally to me here. It is good to have nothing else to do or not to need to go somewhere. This way I can fully emerge myself in my practice until the bell rings for breakfast.

Schedule of Lazy Day (click to enlarge)

I have to say that compared to a “normal holiday”, I feel so much more relaxed here, despite of getting up so early and sitting upright without back support for most of the day. This inner tranquillity, that I already feel after such a short time, is very pleasant.

“A true holiday begins within yourself”!

It is truly remarkable and sweet how much the nuns enjoy singing, even if they are not quite sure of the notes. They sing from their hearts, because it brings them joy, not because they want to shine.

Mindful Photography = take time to actually smell the roses!

Mindful Photography – try that 🙂

Most of my three weeks in New Zealand, nearly a decade ago, was spent driving around the north island, jumping in and out of the car, taking photos to capture as much as possible of this beautiful country at the bottom of the world, forgetting to actually be there in the moment. I have long since been aware that I keep doing this. Taking photos to marvel at after instead of looking at the actual motive. Now I am vowing to myself once again that in future I will take time to look at the motive more with my eyes than with my camera lens.

Before lunch today, me and my room mate decided to discover the area around Plum Village. We strolled up along the road towards Loubes-Bernac in fluorescent vests, which the nuns had asked us to do, since there are actually no pavements or walking paths here.

Yes I am a tourist and I am fine with that!

As seen from Loubes-Bernac

We took plenty of mindful photos of the town’s church and then carried on along the road, hoping it would take us in the promised circle back to Plum Village.

Church in Loubes-Bernac

When it was nearly lunch time we realised that we would never make it back to Plum Village in time for lunch. We asked a lady in a car whether she knew a quick way back to “Village des Pruniers” to which she looked at us in disbelief and offered us a lift back. Maybe we were actually lost, just a little bit 🙂

Plum Village Sign

After a few minutes of driving back along the road we had come from, it was now actually raining, we arrived at the Plum Village car park, excited like little children at Christmas. We exuberantly thanked the kind lady, even threw a few bowings in, just because it had become so natural for us to do, which seemed to delight the kind lady, and we cheerfully went on to have lunch.

Soaking beans for dinner

Today I realised that just chewing slower isn’t really mindful eating if you are at the same time already digging in your bowl, preparing your spoon for the next load. So I tried to wait until my mouth was completely empty and then began filling my spoon. What a difference! It took me twice as long to finish my meal, which I really enjoyed. This meant that I even got caught out by the mindfulness bell twice 🙂

The big meditation hall

In the evening we had a “New Beginning Ceremony”, which follows on nicely after yesterday’s revelation. The ceremony involves a lot of  “touching the earth” practice and I vowed to myself that I would leave the past behind, to live unattached by it, to accept it as it is and to start anew from today. This beginning anew can be done as many times as you like. Listening to the nun reading from a book, I begin to like the idea of it more and more, understanding that this practice helps to get rid of old grudges you hold towards others and to simply start again with a new mindset.

Buddha statue outside Dharma Nectar Hall

It differs slightly to my usual “trying to forget and get over it” in that it is actually leaving the past behind and not just jumping over it in an attempt to move on. But it also doesn’t mean you simply forget, but that you understand the mistakes of yourself and others and try to make it better the next time. It would also help if you share this with another person, particularly one that you have a disagreement with. If only it was that easy…

Swing under big oak tree

I’m spending the sunny evening on the swing, hanging from the massive oak tree with its deep green roof of leaves, listening to the evening song of a nun with the regular gong of the big bell inbetween. Apart from that, the wind in the trees and the distant song of birds, there is silence. Even the frogs in the pond are silent.

Big Bell