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Het wonder van mindfulness - De klassieke gids: het nieuwe boek van Thich Nhat Hanh

Over oeroude wijnen in gloednieuwe zakken gesproken…
door Tsenne Kikke - woensdag 12 februari 2020 17:46

Mindfulness is een gecommercialiseerde vorm van een boeddhistische meditatietechniek, waarbij men heel bewust op een ego-vrije manier de aandacht in het hier-en-nu tracht te brengen en men de dingen zonder te oordelen ervaart of uitvoert. Moeilijk?... Ja! Aartsmoeilijk, maar niet onmogelijk.

Om dit te bevorderen, doet men aan meditatie en maakt men gebruik van diverse aandachtoefeningen zoals die, onder andere, in Oosterse Zenscholen en Tibetaanse kloosters al eeuwenlang worden toegepast. Meer hierover vind je op Wikipedia.

Anders gezegd: het duurt jaren vooraleer men het ietwat onder de knie heeft. Gurdjieff zou daarbij zeggen: "Doe het met jouw gehele wezen." Je moet er dus zowel het denken, het voelen en het gewaarworden bij betrekken; een iets, waartoe geen enkele sterveling in staat is.

Praktijk toont dan ook aan dat de beoefening ervan in groepsverband meer succes heeft vanwege het aangename karakter. Ideaal dus voor emotioneel ingestelde menstypen, die voornamelijk van het gezellige samenzijn houden.

Met andere woorden: in hun eentje zijn er maar weinigen die mindfulness elke dag een half uur lang kunnen volhouden. Het heeft dus geen enkele zin om het een- of tweemaal per week/maand te beoefenen - en dan nog maar voor enkele minuten, misschien - maar natuurlijk kan men er ook iets in een luie zetel over lezen -  want...

Het boek ‘Het wonder van mindfulness. De klassieke gids’, een uitgave van Uitgeverij Ten Have, verschijnt op 18 februari. Het bevat 112 bladzijden en verkrijgbaar aan de prijs van 20,99 euro.

In dit boekje geeft monnik, zenleraar, schrijver en vredesactivist Thich Nhat Hanh praktische aanwijzingen en oefeningen om kalmte en gemoedsrust te vinden. Zelfs simpele handelingen, zoals theedrinken of een avondwandeling maken, kunnen krachtige oefeningen vormen voor innerlijke rust. Via mindfulness leren we ons te verbinden met het hier en nu, zodat we onszelf en de wereld om ons heen steeds beter begrijpen. Naar het schijnt brengt Thich Nhat Hanh via dit werk wezenlijk geluk voor iedereen binnen handbereik...

De volledige tekst kan je in het Engels dankzij deze link lezen, teneinde een idee van de inhoud te verkrijgen. Geheel onderaan vind er enkele interessante uittreksels van...

Toegegeven: mensen die aan Zelfkennis doen - een Zelfkennis, gebaseerd op de leerstellingen van Gurdjieff, mogen maar hoeven het niet te lezen - gewoonweg, omdat er niets in afgedrukt staat dat niet allang geweten is. Aan alle anderen geef ik gerust toe dat de inhoud voor eenieder die het kan toepassen waardevol is .

De Vietnamees Thích Nhất Hạnh is één van de vele individuen die het populaire mindfulness in onze gewesten heeft geïntroduceerd. Anderen zijn, bijvoorbeeld: Herbert Benson, Jon Kabat-Zinn en Richard J. Davidson.

Kopen?... Klik op deze link (vanaf 18/2/2020).

Enkele uittreksels, als voorsmaakje...

- If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not "washing the dishes to wash the dishes." What's more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can't wash the dishes, the chances are we won't be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future - and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.

- The Sutra of Mindfulness says, "When walking, the practitioner must be conscious that he is walking. When sitting, the practitioner must be conscious that he is sitting. When lying down, the practitioner must be conscious that he is lying down. . . . No matter what position one's body is in, the practitioner must be conscious of that position. Practicing thus, the practitioner lives in direct and constant mindfulness of the body..."

- The positions of one's body is not enough, however. We must be conscious of each breath, each movement, every thought and feeling, everything which has any relation to ourselves. ln the Sutras, Buddha usually teaches that one should use one's breath in order to achieve Concentration. The Sutra which speaks about the use of your breath to maintain mindfulness is the Anapanasati Sutra. This Sutra was translated and commentated on by a Vietnamese Zen Master of Central Asian origin named Khuong Tang Hoi, around the beginning of the Third Century A.D. 'Anapana' means 'breath' and 'sati' means 'mindfulness'. Tang Hoi translated it as 'Guarding the Mind'. The Anapanasati Sutra, that is, is the sutra on using one's breath to maintain mindfulness. The Sutra on Breath to Maintain Mindfulness is the 118th Sutra in the Majhima Nikaya collection of sutras and it teaches 16 methods of using one's breath.

- When you are walking along a path leading into a village, you can practice mindfulness. Walking along a dirt path, surrounded by patches of green grass, if you practice mindfulness you will experience that path, the path leading into the village. You practice by keeping this one thought alive: “I'm walking along the path leading into the village." Whether it's sunny or rainy, whether the path is dry or wet, you keep that one thought, but not just repeating it like a machine, over and over again. Machine thinking is the opposite of mindfulness. If we're really engaged in mindfulness while walking along the path to the village, then we will consider the act of each step we take as an infinite wonder, and a joy will open our hearts like a flower, enabling us to enter the world of reality.

- I like to walk alone on country paths, rice plants and wild grasses on both sides, putting each foot down on the earth in mindfulness, knowing that I walk on the wondrous earth. In such moments, existence is a miraculous and mysterious reality. People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child - our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

- You should know how to breathe to maintain mindfulness, as breathing is a natural and extremely effective tool which can prevent dispersion. Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.

Breathe in lightly a fairly long breath, conscious of the fact that you are inhaling a deep breath. Now breathe out all the breath in your lungs, remaining conscious the whole time of the exhalation. The Sutra of Mindfulness teaches the method to take hold of one's breath in the following manner: "Be ever mindful you breathe in and mindful you breathe out. Breathing in a long breath, you know, 'I am breathing in a long breath.' Breathing out a long breath, you know, 'I am breathing out a long breath.' Breathing in a short breath, you know, 'I am breathing in a short breath.' Breathing out a short breath, you know, 'I am breathing out a short breath.'"

"Experiencing a whole breath-body, I shall breathe in," thus you train yourself. "Experiencing the whole breath-body, I shall breathe out," thus you train yourself. "Calming the activity of the breath-body, I shall breathe in,"  thus you train yourself. "Calming the activity of the breath-body, I shall breathe out," thus you train yourself.

In a Buddhist monastery, everyone learns to use breath as a tool to stop mental dispersion and to build up concentration power. Concentration power is the strength which comes from practicing mindfulness. It is the concentration which can help one obtain the Great Awakening. When a worker takes hold of his own breath, he has already become awakened. In order to maintain mindfulness throughout a long period, we must continue to watch our breath.

- It is autumn here and the golden leaves falling one by one are truly beautiful. Taking a 10-minute walk in the woods, watching my breath and maintaining mindfulness, I feel refreshed and restored. Like that, I can really enter into a communion with each leaf.

Of course, walking alone on a country path, it is easier to maintain mindfulness. If there's a friend by your side, not talking but also watching his breath, then you can continue to maintain mindfulness without difficulty. But if the friend at your side begins to talk, it becomes a little more difficult.

If, in your mind, you think, "I wish this fellow would quit talking, so I could concentrate," you have already lost your mindfulness. But if you think, instead, "If he wishes to talk, I will answer, but I will continue in mindfulness." Be aware of the fact that we are walking along this path together, aware of what we say, "I  can continue to watch my breath as well."

- After about 10 to 20 minutes, your thoughts will have quieted down like a pond on which not even a ripple stirs.

- Counting your breath... Making your breath calm and even is called the method of following one's breath. If it seems hard at first, you can substitute the method of counting your breath. As you breathe in, count 1 in your mind, and as you breathe out, count 1. Breathe in, count 2. Breathe out, count 2. Continue through 10, then return to 1 again. This counting is like a string which attaches your mindfulness to your breath. This exercise is the beginning point in the process of becoming continuously conscious of your breath. Without mindfulness, however, you will quickly lose count. When the count is lost, simply return to 1 and keep trying until you can keep the count correctly. Once you can truly focus your attention on the counts, you have reached the point at which you can begin to abandon the counting method and begin to concentrate solely on the breath itself.

- In my small class in meditation for non-Vietnamese, there are many young people. I've told them that if each one can meditate an hour each day that's good, but it's nowhere near enough. You've got to practice meditation when you walk, stand, lie down, sit, and work, while washing your hands, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, drinking tea, talking to friends, or whatever you are doing.

- Et cetera... :-)

Na de reclame van een boek, andere reclame...

Je mag duizenden boeken lezen, tientallen cursussen of bijeenkomsten bijwonen - maar, zolang je niet aan Zelfkennis doet, bestaat er geen enkele mogelijkheid om één ding in de praktijk toe te passen, gegarandeerd. Tenzij je jezelf voor de rest van jouw leven in een (Tibetaans) klooster terugtrekt, natuurlijk. :-)

Meer info? Contacteer DIMschool vzw!

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