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welcome whatever comes your way

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From time to time, someone at my monastery sends out a mindfulness task. Feel free to play with it in your everyday life — at home, at work, at school, walking down the street, waking up, talking to people, daydreaming, or whatever happens as your day unfolds. Kyoku writes:

This one’s about saying Yes to everyone and everything (unless it’s likely to cause injury). This is the practice of embracing everything that comes towards us. This does not mean we approve of it or even like it. This is the Yes of allowing what is and choosing what is offered.

On a practical level this task means saying OK without objecting or substituting our preference. We can apply mindfulness to whatever arises in our minds and bodies. We can observe how saying Yes affects our lives. What are the sensations in the body when we say Yes? Is there ease, irritation, compassion, resentment? How does saying Yes affect our connection and communications with others? 

What happens for you?

image: wordsforhirellc.com

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5 responses »

  1. O boy! This is a good one. I’d barely posted this when 2 email in a row got my hackles up. Both had to do with the senders’ actions/attitudes which were contrary to my liking. To add fuel to the fire, I responded from a place of annoyance. Bad monk :-).

    ps: i’m sending a note of apology to both.

    Much to learn.

    Reply
  2. this brought up for me my internal reaction of irritation to a house guest, who likes to talk when i like to be quiet, etc…and some guilt arising with the feeling i should be ‘entertaining’ my guest when i don’t feel like it….

    Reply
  3. …Roshi St. Benedict offers this as ‘radical hospitality’… greeting everyone as Christ. Maybe, it could also be called ‘radical humility’. Giving and Receiving…

    Consider the movie Blind-Side…
    one practice is radical hospitality… loving much
    one practice is radical humility… blessed are the poor in spirit

    both… changing lives through ‘yes’.
    It certainly looks like Michael got the better end of the practice ehh?
    What is easy to miss is that Leigh Ann Touhy did everything with the same intensity that she intervened in Michael’s life. Everything…! Loving much, needed to learn those lessons that come from the practice of humility. Hard to imagine a Roshi, Spiritual Director, Abbot, or Life Couch stepping up to smooth the rough edges off Leigh Ann Touhy. Perhaps, that is part of Michael’s practice…

    I’m in the middle of the dance of these two practices…
    stepping on toes
    apologizing
    trying again

    every day
    dying and rising
    all over again
    Amen

    Reply
  4. for me this brought up the idea that when we have ‘positive’ or cheerful thoughts we feel better and when we have ‘negative’ or sad thoughts we feel down. So, I feel what I think and say. Although it would at times be difficult to say ‘yes’ to everything I think it would be a great excersise to do when I am down as it would lift spirits! Just as smiling, saying hello, being friendly can make someone’s day and thus also make my day…this is not to say that everyday can be like this as I also believe there are times for introspection which may bring about sadness, etc. but the more I can be ‘up’ the better I feel and I think the more pleasure I get from living…

    Reply
    • that’s a tricky preposition, darcee, as it opens into dualistic thinking — one being better or more desirable than the other. i trust I understand your points accurately.

      by welcoming all sensations — so-called good, bad, pleasant, unpleasant, positive, negative, etc. — I open myself to all of life. each ‘state’ can teach me something. preferring to ‘feel good’ sets me up to suffer if things don’t go my way.

      it’s an ongoing practice (and one easier described than lived) to see the roller-coaster of life for what it is, rather than judging or categorizing certain moments along my likes and dislikes.

      Reply

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