The real question is not whether life exists after death. The real question is whether you are alive before death.
While some may hope, wish, and plan in an effort to extend the duration of his or her life, the mindful person chooses quality over quantity.
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Mindfulness involves a sharpening or all our senses. Jesus when teaching people would often ask “Are you listening? Really listening?” Or, “Are you seeing, really seeing?” And sometimes…we are “looking for love in all the wrong places!”
May 18, 2021:
(From the Daily Calm App, March 9, 2019:)
Awareness and Mindfulness help us to see the “whole picture.” To illustrate this, think of the analogy of awareness as light.
Picture a single light shining down from the ceiling of a great hall. It only lights a small area directly beneath it, so there are limitations on what you can see in the room. But imagine now that you increase the wattage of that light, increasing the brightness of that light. Suddenly the light shines down on a larger area. With increasingly brighter light, the entire hall may come into your experience. This is awareness. As our vision grows, it includes more and more of what is true. We’re able to see things as they really are, not through our limited and/or distorted perspective. The cobwebs of our minds are cleared as awareness is practiced and increases, just as the shadows are cleared when light becomes brighter.
June 23, 2021
John 20:11-18 — Mary comes to the tomb after the resurrection. She “sees” a person that she thinks must be the gardener… she sees, but doesn’t RECOGNIZE that person as Jesus.
We see many people and things without really seeing them. We hear a lot of things without really hearing them. Without mindfulness, awareness and vision, we are largely deaf, dumb and blind. Jesus often asked the disciples, “are you listening? Really listening?” He could have just as well asked “are you seeing? Really seeing?”
May 19, 2021:
“We don’t go to heaven; we learn how to live in heaven now. And no one lives in heaven alone. Either we learn how to live in communion with other people and with all that God has created, or, quite simply, we’re not ready for heaven. If we want to live an isolated life, trying to prove that we’re better than everybody else or believing we’re worse than everybody else, we are already in hell. We have been invited—even now, even today, even this moment—to live consciously in the communion of saints, in the Presence, in the Body, in the Life of the eternal and eternally Risen Christ. This must be an almost perfect way to describe salvation itself.” (Richard Rohr)
May 20, 2021:
“Wisdom is not the gathering of more facts and information, as if that would eventually coalesce into truth. Wisdom is a way of seeing and knowing the same old ten thousand things but in a new way. As my colleague Cynthia Bourgeault often says, it’s not about knowing more, but knowing with more of you. I suggest that wise people are those who are free to be truly present to what is right in front of them. It has little to do with formal education. Presence is pretty much the same as wisdom!
Presence is the one thing necessary to attain wisdom, and in many ways, it is the hardest thing of all. Just try to keep your heart open and soft, your mind receptive without division or resistance, and your body aware of where it is and its deepest level of feeling. Presence is when all three centers are awake at the same time! Most religions decided it was easier to believe doctrines—and obey often arbitrary laws—than undertake the truly converting work of being present.
The Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches this wisdom through the ceremony and meditation of tea (a Buddhist parallel to the Christian Eucharist):
You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.
Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.
Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.
If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea.
You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone.
Life is like that.
If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone.
You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life.
It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished.
Learn from it and let it go.
The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.
Worrying is worthless.
When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment.
Then you will begin to experience joy in life.
As you eat your next meal—perhaps with family gathered for Thanksgiving—enter into the experience mindfully. Savor the aroma. Taste the sweetness. Appreciate the delicacy. Experience the joy—right now—without needing anyone to notice. But they will!
God is present, right here, right now.”