Being Mind Full

mind·ful·ness
  1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Mindfulness is a big buzz word in Buddhist, Zen and new-age spiritual circles. I have even heard the term uttered on occasion from the pulpit of the traditional protestant church I attend.

I describe my religious persuasion as a very suspicious liberal christian with a Buddhist hue. What that means is I believe about 49.9% of what my conservative, bible thumping christian brothers and sisters believe and the other 50.1% is just noise. As I have drawn closer to the end of the path my “Buddhist hue” has become more prevalent in my spiritual life and as such mindfulness has become a dominating theme in my everyday interaction with this world.

“The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”  Thích Nhất Hạnh has written about and taught many wonderful lessons about mindfulness. Though his health is failing he will leave a legacy of work that will affect the lives of many, mine included, for generations to come. I thank the cosmos everyday for Thay’s remarkable life and his ongoing missions.

One of Thay’s many advocacies is the fair treatment of people. Take for instance the tennis shoes you may be wearing. When you were shopping for them several factors came into play with probably the biggest being the price. If you were to look at the label on those tennis shoes you would notice that they were probably made in Indonesia, China, or maybe Vietnam. If you did a little research you would also discover that the individuals making your $100.00 tennis shoes are probably being paid less than $4.00 (US dollars) a day, are working 60 to 70 hours a week, six days a week. Go a little further and you would realize these people work in horrible and dangerous conditions. Honestly the term sweatshop doesn’t even begin to describe the risk these workers face everyday so that you and I can simply get a “good deal” on a pair of shoes. I haven’t even discussed child-labor, worker abuse, or maiming’s.

You want to practice mindfulness? Hold those tennis shoes in your hands and close your eyes and be mindful of souls that made those objects for your use. Think about their lives, the lives of their families. Think about the struggles that they deal with, how hard they work and the conditions they work in just so you and I can get the color and style of shoe we want at the right price.

Mindfulness is a deeper practice than being kind to your neighbor, or letting the car beside you merge into your lane. Maybe you think that will get you into heaven but I am pretty sure God, at least my God, is going to frown on you for not trying to right the wrong you know existed tied to your feet. Mindfulness is a world view, not a tip of your nose perspective. See the bigger picture, live in the bigger picture.

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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13 Responses to Being Mind Full

  1. Marisa Ulrich says:

    I only profess Christianity, but I sure think Jesus meant us to be mindful! Too few in today’s church are. Good thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia says:

    Patrick Swayze would not ride in rickshaws when he made a movie in Tibet because he felt it was insulting to the Tibetans who pulled the rickshaw. The Tibetans were insulted because they felt that Swayze had belittled them by not partaking of the rickshaw services. The rickshaw pullers are honored to pull rickshaws and that is how they make their living. It was felt that Swayze thought to ride in a rickshaw was beneath him. Patrick was very sorry about the misunderstanding.

    I will be mindful of the people who made products I buy which were made in third world countries thanks to you but will continue to support the workers by buying the items. We may think we are helping by boycotting the products but it has little affect on the company unless no one buys them but it does take the little money the workers are able to earn. Catch-22. Just my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicky M says:

    I needed to read this today – I’m struggling with all things mindful. I need to practise holding those tennis shoes! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patty says:

    Working for international companies I know there are a some, who would like to pay more salary to their workers. However they are bound by laws of those countries. In addition to that, they have to honer the cultural difference in those countries. If they paid more, those employees get a hard time by their neighbors, even by family-members.
    The companies I worked at, made sure the working environment is up to the ‘western’ standards and at the same time they pay the highest salary possible (by law and by cultural ethics ). I just wish more big companies took that effort.
    Mindfulness, yes, it’s so important in so many different ways 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • We also have problems in our own backyard. McDonald’s pays its workers minimum wage, less than 30 hours a week so they don’t have to pay benefits. I used to stop by and get a sweet tea from time to time until I went and the owner of our local McDonald’s had parked her new Mercedes-Benz S-class right in front of the door for the world (and her employees) to see. I don’t begrudge anyone’s success, I do when you throw it in my face. Mindfulness.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As usual, your post echoes my daily thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing this perspective. I often feel helpless and overwhelmed by the horror in the world and have a difficult time knowing where to start to change this world for the better. Raising my children to help others, recycling, shopping at thrift stores, sending Christmas connection boxes are small contributions compared to the work that needs to be done.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gina Marie says:

    I am very fond of my faith, and yet I too must say that many of the voices from the pulpits of my life are just noise. I appreciate you walking me down a path I had not really been mindful of, which has opened up considerations for me that never have existed before. I agree with some comments here that most things are not black and white, but I personally feel we Americans often use that phrase to exonerate ourselves from action. I am not suggesting anyone here has done that, nor am I insisting what said “action” should look like, but sometimes issues or the whole idea of “mindfulness” is like starting the Stephen King book “The Stand” (that is my family’s reference to starting a huge endeavor that seems impossible)…….it may feel daunting at first, but as you progress, “page by page”, you find the journey perhaps challenging at times, but there are plenty of reasons you’re turning the next page. Thank you for handing me a new “book” to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

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