I want to crow about boredom’s virtues. Boredom is the last best hope for life on earth. Boredom is the gateway to peace and ease.
Join in this Interfaith Day of Prayer and Fasting called by the Associated Clergy of Cape Ann
Please join us on July 8th at 5:00 p..m. at the Fisherman’s Wives Statue on the Boulevard in Gloucester, to begin a 24 hour communal day of fasting and prayer, in whatever ways your particular tradition teaches, to intercede and ask for God’s help right now for our nation, especially for the crisis concerning immigration and family separation.
We will gather at the Fishermen’s Wives statue on the Boulevard in Gloucester for a Service of Reckoning and Hope. Rabbi Lewis will preach, and we will offer prayers and songs. St. John’s Episcopal on 48 Middle Street will be our rain location.
For 24 hours, we will ask participants to fast and pray, meditate and dedicate themselves to action to support those most in need, on behalf of the children and families who are suffering in ICE detention facilities, for those who are fleeing their countries, for those at the borders of our country and other nations, and for wisdom for our national and international leaders, for compassion, and for hearts to be softened and turned toward mercy.
See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt?
What harm can you do? ~The Buddha
On July 9th, at 5:00 p.m., we will re-gather at the Fishermen’s Wives statue to close the fast with a brief service of prayer and blessing.
We decided to call for this day as one form of religious response to the painful time in our country. Our traditions share a common ground in fasting and prayer as spiritual practices of communal intercession, especially in times of crisis or great suffering. We hope you will join us, wherever you are.
For the last two months on Thursday evenings I’ve been offering teachings on meditation. These teachings have been loosely based on Pema Chodron’s brief, easy to read and highly understandable book called How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends With Your Mind. I especially like Pema Chodron’s making friends with your mind approach to meditation. It’s so down-to-earth and real.
Given my role as a Zen priest, if I do harm to another person these days that harm generally springs from either something I’ve said, or from how I’ve said it. Or, the harm might also arise from something I’ve left unsaid because I didn’t have the courage, compassion, or wisdom to say it when it could have made a beneficial difference. For this reason, Right Speech is a central focuses in my practice. I try to be as absolutely harmless with my speech as I’m able.
What we’re learning in Buddhist practice, and in Buddhist meditation specifically, is to let go of our attachments and our aversions, our likes, dislikes, and biases so we can rest and relax in now. The pure potential of being in every moment is now. Fortunately, we have unrestricted access to now. That’s fortunate because now is the most instructive teacher we could ever have.
One out of one hundred Americans is currently behind bars. At our April 2018 meeting, the Sweeping Heart Zen Board voted unanimously to send ongoing financial support to the Prison Mindfulness Institute. Support for PMI and its programs to relieve suffering is now part of Sweeping Heart Zen’s ongoing community service work. At the present time then we’ve added our support for PMI to the monthly support we provide to The Grace Center and Action, Inc. in Gloucester.
One of the things we’re learning in meditation is to live in the always present, unspeakably spontaneous, unpredictable liveliness of each moment. After our early morning meditation at Sweeping Heart Zen we chant “May the mind flower bloom in eternal spring.” That is, we remind ourselves that human beings can touch the eternal spring in each moment.
We just entered our first 6-week practice period here at Sweeping Heart Zen. Before we started the period, people who formally entered this time of invigorated practice submitted what’s called a Practice Period Intention Form. One questions on the form asks, “What theme or issue do you intend to focus on during this Practice Period?” I intend to deeply rest and relax in awareness.
Why meditate? Why practice mindfulness? The general consensus today is that meditation and mindfulness reduce stress. Fortunately, if we simply stop, sit down, and pay attention to our breath, we find relief from stress—for sure. Yet, there is much more to meditation and mindfulness. So this post is about how meditation and mindfulness can heighten our awareness of something called Inattentional Blindness. A force that hinders our happiness and our ability to make human connections.
The Buddha wisely recommended a relaxed, calm body and a non-harming frame of mind for meditation. The Buddha said he found this path of gentle practice through reflecting on a delightful memory of safety and ease from his childhood.