Saturday, January 12, 2013

Live Like the Dead

"Without true mindfulness, we live like the dead."  --True love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh

"Through the voice of the Holy Spirit you come alive again. Mindfulness is moment to moment, every moment. Being alive is being in the present moment, this moment. When we practice deep looking, mindfulness, we receive help, understanding. "Mindfulness brings concentration, understanding, love and freedom," writes Hanh in his book, True love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh. 

Buddhist monk and teacher, Hanh further expresses his understanding about the Holy Spirit; he says, "if you are a Christian, you could say that this energy [mindfulness] we are talking about is known as the Holy Spirit, the energy that is sent to us by God. Wherever this energy exists, there is attention, compassion, understanding and love. And this energy has the power to heal. Since Jesus embodies this energy, he has the energy to heal whoever he touches. When Jesus heals people, he heals them with the power of the Holy Spirit."

Hanh notes that it may be said that healing occurs as the establishment of the energies of compassion and love. Mindfulness is the energy that makes it possible "for us to be aware of what's happening in the present moment." Thus without mindfulness in this view, we live like the dead. "Through the Holy Spirit you come to life again every moment."

In the modern world, many seek to live with and in the Spirit. For most, it's not easy. Author Richard Hauser S.J. writes, " Rather than respond to the Spirit, we find ourselves responding to these [other] pressures. We don't have to be convinced of the pressures towards evil within ourselves. Daily we experience our self-centered [dream] drives for popularity, money, power, prestige, and pleasure; these can dominate our lives in very obvious and in very subtle ways, blocking our responsiveness to the Spirit... We see happiness as coming primarily from fulfilling our personal needs and desires as much as possible. This self-centered orientation puts us in conflict with other individuals, communities, and nations; any of these which threatens, becomes an enemy to us, as persons or as nations." para. 

These pressures can motivate our lives in a direction opposed to the energy of the Holy Spirit. A solution for practice is to build a daily lifestyle that fosters the Holy Spirit and the mindfulness for living. We must consider the ways in which our talents and gifts may be put to use to heed the calling of the Spirit; How are we called to love and to serve? In the Gospels, Paul gives a list of the qualities that are signs of the Spirit's presence: love, joy, peacefulness, patience, goodness, kindness, trustfulness, self-control, and gentleness. The Spirit's absence is indicated by: feuds, wrangling, jealousy, bad temper, quarrels, disagreements, factions, and envy.

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