Healing through Mindfulness: Sister Dang Nghiem

Zen Lessons On Healing After Loss

This is such a great post!  For anyone who is dealing with a loss or any type of on going suffering, please read this.  Not only read it, but begin to practice mindfulness.  It is only when we live here, in this moment, that we free ourselves from our OWN suffering.  The only way to live is day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute.  Be here, be free. – TheLove4Happiness

When she left her career as a medical doctor, Sister Dang Nghiem, MD, a Zen Buddhist nun and disciple of Thich Nhat Hanh, learned the true meaning of healing.

For Sister Dang Nghiem story, click here.By Siobhan O’Connor

Breathing heals; time doesn’t.
It’s a myth to say that time can heal. Time cannot heal. Breathing and mindfulness can. [Long after a traumatic event happens to you,] a sight, a sound, a smell, a taste, a touch can trigger the complete stress response as though it’s happening all over again. What saved me was the mindfulness of breathing. Sometimes I would lie down to breathe and put my hands on my belly to slow it down and anchor my body. Through breathing, you learn to slow the stress response, the fight-flight-or-freeze response. If you can do that when going through a very intense experience, the next time you recall that trauma, you will do so with more peace, mindfulness, and clarity.

You can cultivate joy even when you’re hurting.
It’s been 14 years since John died. I still miss him every day, but I have learned to cultivate joy and peace in each breath, even though I feel that pain. You have to do them both at the same time. It’s like a garden: You have to take care of the weeds, but you also have to plant flowers. If you only weed, you’ll be exhausted and lose hope. And if you plant enough flowers, eventually there will be less room for all the weeds. (Get more ideas on how to find joy everyday.)

“Applied Buddhism” means mindfulness happens all day.
We’re not saying you have to set out 1 hour a day to sit on a cushion. We’re not saying quit your job and go live in the mountains. We’re just saying if you eat, don’t eat your projects. Don’t eat your sadness. Don’t eat the argument you just had. Just eat. If you walk, just walk. If you drive, drive. We have to choose again and again to be in the present moment. The moment you realize you are not being mindful, that’s the moment you are mindful. And you come back to it again and again. It’s a mental training.

You can keep the dead alive.
When a person dies and you lose all your joy, then it is like you are making sure that person is as dead as possible. But you can learn to call on the spirit of that person for help and learn to see him or her around you. When I see a purple flower, I remember that John loved purple flowers, and I smile. That flower, in that moment, becomes him.

Mindfulness is powerful medicine.
Mindfulness is the most effective preventive medicine there is, because it teaches you to care for yourself. Because you learn not to cause harm to yourself or others, physically, mentally, psychologically. I learned in medicine that so many of our illnesses are from lifestyle, and the biggest factor of our lifestyle is stress. Stress will bring on any illness. Diabetes runs in my family. My mother had it; my uncle had it. My brother, who is 4 years younger than I am, developed it in his mid-30s. I’m in my mid-40s now and I still don’t have it. We can have a genetic predisposition, but our lifestyle can determine when an illness will manifest, if it will ever manifest.

Kind actions matter.
In the Buddhist teaching, we talk about karma. Karma means actions, thoughts, speech. So really everything we do in life matters. You think, Oh, it doesn’t mean anything to bend down and pick up a nickel and give it to the person who dropped it. You think, Oh, it doesn’t mean anything to open the door for somebody. But you know what? Everything you do means everything. Every word you say to somebody or to yourself accumulates. Mindfulness allows us to make [more thoughtful choices in the moment]. And so we are more likely to have more positive and wholesome seeds in us to save us in daily life and very difficult moments.

Real medicine means being present.
If a doctor learns to practice mindfulness, if she learns to do a walking meditation as she’s going to the patient’s room—gathering herself, truly present—and she walks in quietly, peacefully, that’s already medicine. She’s calm. She’s not outside of her own body. The patient feels that attention, that tenderness, that care, that true presence. The patient is already soothed.

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21-Day Meditation Challenge by Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra is offering one of his FREE 21-day Guided Mediation Challenges on November 5th!

This is SO exciting!

I participated in Deepak’s last 21-day meditation challenge three months ago. I can honestly say, from the bottom of my heart, that it was one of the best choices I have ever made!

Meditation allowed me to see my life through a clearer lens. It helped me become more aware of my thoughts and realize how each one of them effected me negatively or positively throughout the day. I began to sleep better and I felt more at peace with myself and others.

Although it has only been three months, much has changed in my life. I decided it was time to set new intentions and take control of my life in a more happy and positive direction.

After the challenge I began writing every morning. I dedicated 30 days to document my thoughts in pursuit of discovering my “Working Passion”. At the time I was working for a great company and enjoyed it. However, I knew deep down that it wasn’t a job which would fulfill me much longer.

About a week into my morning writings I stumbled upon an idea. I was in a coffee shop and while browsing through their greeting cards, one caught my eye. It had a very nice picture with a thoughtful message next to it. I thought to myself, “Hmm I can do that!”.

“I love to inspire others and I also enjoy graphic design. Why not combine the two and create something unique and special?” I thought.

And that is exactly what I did!

I left my job, unexpectedly, and began diving into the Greeting Card Business. And although I am not a HUGE company by any means, I took a chance! I took a leap of faith and now I am creating and selling cards which inspire me and hopefully inspire others as well!

This blog post is not about tooting my own horn, because it hasn’t been all sunshine! But, at the end of the day, believing in myself is what guided me to this point in my life; Never giving up and continually pursuing my heart’s desires.
Maybe you don’t know what your heart desires? Here is the chance to open another door and create a new path for yourself. I truly believe participating in this meditation challenge is one step closer to opening your eyes to your true potential!

Committing to the 21-day meditation challenge was the first step on the path I am now creating. It allowed me to become more aware of myself, the present moment, and my life’s purpose. If you already know your life’s passion, do it for your mind, body, and soul. It is life-changing for anyone and everyone who decides to take part in this challenge!

I would love to hear stories and people’s thoughts after the challenge is finished!

ENJOY!

Sarah:)

NOTE: By clicking on the “Links” above you will be directed to Deepak’s website and his Guided Meditation Challenge Page.

DROP THE MIND #Anam Thubten Rinpoche

This past weekend opened my heart to see even more of my true self. I attended a meditation retreat and was blessed to be in the presence of one of the greatest Buddhist teachers, Anam Thubten Rinpoche. I went to the retreat with the intention of furthering my meditation practice, not realizing that I would be in the presence of a magnificent human.

There were many enlightening teachings he shared with us throughout the retreat. I didn’t bring a writing tool or anything to write on (until the final day), but because his words were so empowering, there was no need to write any of them down. My heart opened up and took them inside, hopefully to never forget him or his words.

I want to share with everyone what I thought were the most powerful moments of the retreat.

It is not easy to convey his messages via writing, because there are no real words for what I experienced. However, I will try my best to explain the past couple of days in a few short, but wonderful words.

DROP THE MIND

SURRENDER to any Concept or Belief you feel is making you suffer.

EXHAUST yourself with your concepts, beliefs, and thoughts so that the only way out is to DROP THE MIND.

Once you DROP THE MIND, you will be awakened to your true self and what will reveal itself is PURE Freedom, PURE Awareness, and PURE Emptiness (Emptiness: Once you rid yourself of all your made up beliefs about yourself and life all that will remain is Pure Emptiness).

So how do we achieve such things? The first step is to become more aware of our thoughts and our life. We must begin to train our minds to focus and live in the present moment. It begins with…

Mind Control.

Meditation is a very useful practice to help train our minds. Meditation allows us to become more aware of our thoughts, which then helps us to control our thoughts. Once we have learned to control our thoughts we can then begin to un-attach ourselves from the delusive beliefs and concepts we have created throughout our lives.

Daily meditation or even meditating 2-5 times a week will have a profound impact on the quality of your life.

Meditation Practice:
Sit with yourself in silence for five minutes. Focus your awareness on the breath, the inhale and exhale. When a thought arises, don’t label it as good or bad, simply observe it and then let it go, returning your awareness back to your breath. REPEAT.

Once we have learned the practice of meditation, dropping the mind will not seem so foreign. After meditating for only three weeks you will see a vast change and will be more aware of yourself and your life. If at times you feel overwhelmed by the busyness of your mind, simply ask yourself to “Drop the Mind”. It will become easier once you tame your mind to live in the present moment, because that is what mediation is. It is living for right now, for this very moment!

“Saying that you don’t have time to improve your thoughts and your life is like saying you don’t have time to stop for gas because you are too busy driving. Eventually it will catch up to you.” – The Monk who Sold his Ferrari.

If you would like to learn more about Anam’s retreats you can go his website and check out his schedule. He is one busy man, traveling every other week, however he travels all over the U.S. as well as internationally.