I'm reading a book called Being Peace, by Thich Nhat Hanh, a name I can only pronounce after a couple of fermented malt beverages. I'm only about thirty pages into the book, but I wanted to write a bit of what has captivated me.
Hanh is Vietnamese Buddhist monk that writes about what it takes to walk towards enlightenment in our lives. He starts the story by laying the foundation that everything we do in the world, and everything everyone else does, has an effect on everything else. He describes life as all interconnected beauty.
He goes on to mention a poem that we can adopt that will help us change our lives if we let them. It goes as follows.
Breathing in, I calm my body
Breathing out, I smile
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment
These seem like such simple things to do, but can affect our outlook and behavior with minimal effort. He puts them in context after a great lead-in about the benefits of smiling and appreciating the immediate; the present. He also talks about the benefit of meditation and spending alone time with no media/music, etc.
Now, understand I have heard about the Buddhist lifestyle for years and I've always veered away from it, thinking it a threat or an affront to my Christian faith. (I don't know what I was worried about, my faith is deep and isn't likely to be shaken by anything at this point.)
As, it turns out Buddhist thought is more of a philosophy than a religion. It has spiritual leanings to be sure, but that's not to say that it's principles have to step on the toes of Jesus. And while I don't plan on selling everything and buying a Sarong, or whatever monks wear, I do think there are some things to be gleaned from this book and applied to my own life. As I read, I'll separate the wheat from the chaff and use what I can.
One of the reasons I was so anxious to read the book when it was mentioned was because I wanted to look at ways to quiet the noise of life. Like many of us, I've built a world of social media, and computers and phones and tablets that has made my life nothing short of "noisy." The problem is, while I know how to fix it - largely by unplugging - I'm not sure I can or fully want to yet. Add to that that it's all a big part of building a writing platform, that to unplug entirely would be writing suicide. That said, I think there are ways of paring down the tweets, posts and phone checks.
So, it's my hope that this book will help me make some of these adjustments. One thing I've tried to do more of is reading before bed. Instead of staying plugged in until it was bedtime, I've been going up a half hour to forty five minutes earlier to get some reading in. It is so much more rewarding than surfing Facebook, that I may try working toward more like an hour of it every night.
Another way to help might be to go back to writing in longhand, thereby getting away from the ding of Facebook notifications and the temptation to check email. I'm like a digital crack addict here.
I'll check back with you in a few months. Until then, I'll get back to reading my new book.