If you've meditated regularly, you've most likely experienced some of these benefits, like a feeling of calm, inner peace, increased creativity and energy, or greater clarity and focus.
What most people don't realize is that meditation also has the benefit of making the world a better place. Let me share here some wisdom for Thich Nhat Hanh, a world-renowned Buddhist monk and activist. (If you didn't know this, he was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr., to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.)
"As a novice in a Buddhist monastery, I was taught to be aware of each thing I did throughout the day, and for more than fifty years, I have been practicing this. When I started, I thought this kind of practice was only for beginners, that advanced people did more important things, but now I know that the practice of mindfulness is for everyone. Meditation is to see into our own nature and wake up. If we are not aware of what is going on in ourselves and in the world, how can we see into our own nature and wake up? Are we really awake when we drink our tea, read our newspaper, or use the toilet?
"Our society makes it difficult for us to be awake. There are so many distractions. We know that 40,000 children in the Third World die of hunger every day, but we keep forgetting. Our society makes us forgetful. That is why we need practice to help us be mindful" (Thich Nhat Hanh, Call Me By My True Names, 110).
Ferguson, the Middle East, the Ukraine. Homelessness, economic inequality, racism, lgbt injustice.
Mindfulness is the kind of spirituality that doesn't help you escape the world, but it brings you deeper into it. The point is not to bring us to despair, but mindfulness brings each one of us eventually to a point where we ask ourselves: What is mine to do? How am I being called to show up to make this world a better place?
With this in mind, here's your coaching assignment for the week:
- As you enter into the holiday season, spend some time in meditation and be mindful of your own being and the world around you. If you notice the nudging that you're being called to show up in the world in some way, what one thing can you do to be a beneficial presence on the planet?
Sometimes it only takes one small act to change the world.
I'd love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below.
Special Note: I'm doing a tele-seminar on Wed, Dec 10, 2014, at 12pm called "Gay Men's Meditation: A Mindful Approach to the Stress and Rush of the Holiday Season." If you know of anyone who might be interested in attending, I'd appreciating you sharing this link. Thank you!