By Jim Fauss I had the good fortune to be at Plum Village this summer. But leaving Plum Village and the support of the community was a serious challenge to my equanimity. In Paris, I missed my flight to San Francisco, and spent an extra two days there waiting for another flight. I arrived home at 12:30 a.m. exhausted, and had to be at work at 6 a.m. the same day!
I often ask myself, "How can I practice at home as I did at Plum Village?" I often seem to be more in forgetfulness than mindfulness. I am a bus driver, and I let myself get irritated at my passengers and at other drivers. To get off the bus at the next stop, passengers pull a cord above their head and a chime sounds. The sound of the chime is very irritating to me. It means I have to stop, and that can get me behind schedule. I know that some passengers even pull the cord just to annoy me.
So now, I use the sound of the chime as a mindfulness bell. Each time I hear it, I return to my breathing, and the more I hear it the more pleasant it becomes. When a vehicle cuts in front of me I smile wide enough so that the other driver can see it I also try to know when I am becoming tense, so I can remember to breathe.
I am not always successful in bringing mindfulness into my daily work, but sometimes even whole days are great—as if I'm still in Plum Village!
Jim Fauss, newly ordained in the Order of lnterbeing, lives in Modesto, California.