Slowing Down

I want to share with you a bit about the unfolding of the path for me since participating in the Mount Madonna retreat last April and also listening to Thay's tape, "Looking Deeply," for the past year. Probably the shift began when I looked with mindfulness at my two basic daily activities, walking and talking, and saw how much violence and separation there was in them--violence and separation from my body and the universe. I realized that I wanted to begin having more gentleness and connectedness in my life. It took about six months to change the pattern of hurrying. For example, I worked on how to maintain slowness and gentleness without being an interference amidst scurrying workers and traffic in the San Francisco financial district. I am now paying attention to breathing deeply while walking gently. In January, I saw that I wanted to start speaking more slowly during the coming year. I'm still in the process of working out how to do this, trying to listen well and respond more slowly to others rather than actually speaking the words more slowly. I'd appreciate any ideas or resources concerning the practice of silence in daily life as possible aids to the practice of speaking slowly.

In seeking more gentleness in my life, I moved from Oakland to Alameda this year. And in April I began working in Alameda. This marks a big shift for me after having chosen centers of great activity--New York City and San Francisco-for over twenty--five years! So I'm in a state of thanksgiving for continual blessings.

Shirley Peterson Alameda, California

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