Practice Back in the World

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!

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Jim Fauss, newly ordained in the Order of lnterbeing, lives in Modesto, California.

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