Well, its the last Sunday of another year. Some of us might be laying around like bloated walruses because of too much celebrating. You might be laying on your back on the couch, staring at the ceiling, as you listen to whatever you've indulged in crawling slowly through your intestinal track, the chemicals from the processed foods leaching though the walls into your system.
Slowly, your body wakes up, and manages to put up natural barriers to the garbage you've poured into your bloodstream. The body is reacting differently to each new chemical. It is happy one second, and taking a nose dive the next moment, trying to shut your brain down into a sleep induced state to protect itself from further assault.
Many of you have been engaging in our national pastime of the "New Years Resolution", aka "setting yourself up for failure".
I did something last night I should have done at the beginning of my vacation. I started to read a book by a teacher. You've read about my teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn, before. He is the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk who lead the Vietnamese Buddhist Peace delegation to the Paris Peace talks.
One of the meditations he teaches is "walking meditation". I'm far from an expert in the practice, but the idea is to just walk. Yeah right, that's simple. No, its far from it.
Normally when we walk our mind is at odds with the practice of walking. We think of buying the groceries, arguing with our partner, what we didn't do, what we have to do, or what we don't want to do. We don't walk. We don't feel our foot as it connects with the ground. We don't feel the weight of our body as it applies pressure to the ground through our foot. We don't feel our body settle in position for the next step. We don't really walk.
The purpose of "walking meditation" is simply to become one with the walk. Instead of thinking of everything else in our lives, we should be doing nothing but walking, and being in the place we are at the moment.
I heard David Wolfe talk once about how he uses every moment of his life to the fullest. When he eats a meal, he'll read a book, cramming as much of his life as possible into that moment.
But can we honor the author of the book by also eating? How can we honor the chef by splitting our thoughts between the book and the food? In my opinion we do a disservice to both by splitting our attention.
Like walking meditation, we should practice to live in the moment by honoring that act we are participating in the moment before us.
When we take a bite from an apple we should think of the taste of the apple. We should savior the the juice as it rolls off our tongue, and realize everything contained within the small piece within our mouths. The apple is not just a fruit, it is the people who nurtured the apple to its ripeness. It is the tree, and the ground from which it grew. The apple is the rain, the clouds, the sun, and the stars. When you ingest the apple you ingest a small portion of the universe to nurture yourself, and become one with all that exists...
Whatever you do, make sure in the coming year that you honor the act. If you're preparing a raw food meal, leave the kitchen television turned off, and give yourself totally to the preparation of the food.
If you're eating your meal, just eat. Make sure that you start digesting your food before you take the next bite. Give honor to the food, and realize where it comes from, and who has made the food you eat.
Realize how we are interconnected with all that is, and for the upcoming year, try just living. You might just discover how fun life really is when you go with the flow.
When I spent a week in Estes Park, Colorado several years ago, at a week long retreat with Thich Nhat Hahn, he taught us a mantra, or prayer, which helps me to center.
In the here, in the now,
I am solid, I am free,
In the Ultimate I stand.