I’ve been thinking about a certain story in Florence Caplow and Sue Moon’s book, The Hidden Lamp, in which a monastic woman has undertaken to keep the 311 precepts required for her ordination. When a young visitor asks how she could possibly keep all of these vows, she responds, “I keep only one. I just watch my mind.”
If you are resolved to make or keep New Year’s resolutions in 2015, consider keeping just one: watch your mind. If you’re new to meditation or mindfulness, check out this quick article, Getting Started — from Zen teacher Norman Fischer.
If you are inspired or daring enough to take up yet another resolution, then consider this one: commit to serve.
These are the two foundations of Om School’s newest program: Children Creating Change — more affectionately known as C3. This family program combines training in secular mindfulness with social engagement. We’ll meet monthly to discover a new aspect of mindfulness while serving our community. Slated projects include: gardening with elders at the Senior Center, taking needy dogs to the park, renegade compost-ball-poppy-seed-bombing hillsides and empty lots, and making Valentine’s Day cards for hospice patients.
In this awesome interview, Thich Nhat Hnah tells how he became involved in compassion-based social change. He says, “When bombs begin to fall on people, you cannot stay in the meditation hall all of the time. Meditation is about the awareness of what is going on – not only in your body and in your feelings, but all around you.”
In this newest offering from Om School, we will endeavor to take our practice into the world — for and with all beings. As Thay says: “You have to learn how to help a wounded child while still practicing mindful breathing. You should not allow yourself to get lost in action. Action should be meditation at the same time.”
Our first meeting will be at Sophia’s Garden — the biodynamic farm that’s home to our weekly classes. Monique Camp, the owner and operator of this botanical sanctuary, has helped make Om School possible by welcoming us onto her land. Her farm sustained much storm-damage this winter, so we will begin our service-work there by pulling weeds, turning compost, laying mulch, and giving back to the place that has so generously supported us.
We’ll also move our bodies learning our new class song, hear a story about Avalokitesvara (our class mascot, bodhisattva, and one-who-hears-the-cries-of-the-world), share a formal practice, and enjoy eating mindfully together.