Today, I visited a speech given by a Buddhist monk on mindfulness. He was a lank person with bushy fair eye brows. He wore the traditional orange garment and he was shaven-headed. Born in California he experienced the Vietnam war in a state of stonedness far off the battle fields. On a subsequent journey he travelled to Asia and decided after a while to join Buddhism.
His way of talking was deliberate and calm, his hands rested on his lap for the whole time. Only his deep eyes were wandering through the room, fixing many persons for a while before wandering to the next. He explained the bases of Buddhism, in relation to American everyday life. Many things I knew already, but I had forgotten them and was delighted to see them restrengthened. I was thinking mainly on Erich Fromms The Art of Loving, especially the final chapter when Fromm gave some advise on personal advancement.
The main aspect was the awareness of the present. Not to sway into future or past with their many grievances, hopes and anxieties. Just be (in contraste to the popular shoe slogan). An interesting comparison was that of the very word human being. With todays fast-paced life, humans tend to become human doings, meaning that their mind is always focussed on doing something, and not on the moment. In order to train this kind of awareness, he suggested meditation.
Tomorrow there will be a whole day of mindfulness, meaning three meditation and discussion sessions with him. The first one starts at eight in the morning, so for the first time since our home volleyball tournament I will have to get up early. I am really looking forward to the whole thing, since I am feeling a little bit unbalanced in the last weeks.