A Day of Mindfulness Practices in Camaldoli with Wake Up Arezzo
On Saturday 6th September 2014, Wake Up Arezzo organised its first day of mindfulness. It was a wonderful day where the sun sustained us.
It was great to organise this day and we would like to thank everyone, those present as well as those who could not be here physically but supported us nonetheless. We would like to thank Mother Earth that accommodated us by taking good care of us; Plum Village, all the brothers and sisters who are always there to sustain us and nourish our practice; our families and ancestors who also contributed toward the unfolding of such a wonderful and enriching day.
“Gratitude, love, connection, brotherhood and sisterhood.” These are the first words that come to mind when I think back at that Saturday. Being able to not give for granted the situation that we can live daily is the way to truly come in contact with what we are doing, and this can only make us happy and joyous. Every time I see a group of friends getting together in order to take care of themselves, their minds and their bodies, I cannot help it but feel moved. Thay often reminds that:
“One of the greatest expression of love that we can offer ourselves is by taking care of our minds and bodies. Don’t you think that making the body relaxed and comfortable and calming the mind is a gift of love we can offer ourselves?”
Thank you everyone, I wish you all lightness and joy.
“In the Casentino, finding the body merging with nature, tasting the food that nourishes every cell, hearing the vibration of the wind, listening to the singing of birds, feeling the contact of insect on the skin, putting down roots like the chestnut tree, touching the silence within and realising being present. Thank you.”
“If we are able in our daily life to smile, if we can manage to be happy and at peace, not only us but everyone will benefit. If we really know how to live, what better way to begin the day but with a smile? Our smile reaffirms our mindfulness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an observant mind.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“You do not really know what is the here and now until you experience it with the whole body and all the senses. Sight allows you to penetrate the green and blue of the sky and play with the white of the clouds. The scent of the forest that is different in every step and every instant tickles the nostrils with its varied smells. The slow taste of a lunch in which every grain of rice celebrates by embracing the tongue and palate.
The far-away noises, the nearby sounds, the wind that whistles and the breath of the forest that ruffles the hair and makes a concert on your head. The voice of friends, the sound of their smiles. And the sense of touch. To realise the extraordinary sensitivity of your feet. To intimately discover that the sole of your feet can recognize the different terrains at every step, and being surprised of caressing the earth and being caressed back. Every step is a profound breath. Every breath is a sensation of peace. Life is an endless gift. And the heart bursts in gratitude. Thank you to each and every one of you for having practiced happiness with me. My pockets are full of beauty.”
The Gathas to recite before inviting the bell:
“Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness,
I send my heart along with the sound of this bell.
May everyone who hears awake from forgetfulness and transcend all anxiety and suffering.”
“Listen, listen, this wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.”
Confusion, memories, waiting, listening…then calm. Feeling the body without being able to see place or time. Only perceiving an infinite space. Being able to touch the thickness and the solidity of things. Putting it all back together, piece by piece, maybe imagining it, or maybe creating a parallel reality. Without projects or goals. The present now.
This experience has been full of power for me. I often feel torn between two worlds: the one where I feel in contact with myself and the world that I share with other fellow humans around me. Through this experience and the slow pace with which every moment presented itself, I have discovered (or we have discovered together) a way to put these two worlds together. We were in a beautiful place, Camaldoli, and mindfulness was abundant. I have to admit that I realised how I am NOT mindful during daily life, instead of having learned some “magic” way to be 100% always mindful. I must also say that the practice of eating, eating slowly and mindfully, has remained with me day after day!
“We all need a Sangha. If we cannot take advantage of a good Sangha, we may use our time and energy to create one. Whether you are a therapist, a doctor, a social worker, a pacifist or an environmentalist, you need a Sangha. Without a Sangha you will not be able to find the help you need, and soon your energy will be depleted. A therapist may choose among patients who have overcome their difficulties, and recognize in him/her a friend, a brother or sister with whom to create a group that can practice together like a Sangha, that may enjoy being together in peace and joy, creating a familiar atmosphere. You need brothers and sisters in the practice to receive nourishment and support. A Sangha may help you during difficult times. Your capacity to help others can be measured by observing who is around you.
…Remember that your “true home” cannot be found outside yourselves, but directly in your heart.” Thich Nhat Hanh