Dear Thay, dear Sangha,
I was introduced to mindfulness during a training course at work several years ago and I have found that it has helped to transform my life. I am an artist and an art therapist and I now use mindfulness meditation a great deal with my patients. Often I begin with a mindfulness meditation and then I encourage the patient to draw their observations.
I read your story, “A Peaceful River” (Summer 2012), as the clouds were rolling past my small studio window. I became absorbed in the sky and the clouds as I reﬂected on your words and felt inspired to paint. My painting shows my orange mug, full of tea reﬂecting the clouds as they ﬂoat past. Underneath the blue sky I have pasted small pieces of torn-up newspaper which were from an article that troubled me. It was about the environment and the loss of trees through constant development in England where I live. I visualised the issue attaching itself to the clouds and knew that this too, like the clouds, would pass.
Thank you for your inspiring story and for the other encouraging stories in the Mindfulness Bell.
Withnewfound peace and joy,
I recently received my ﬁrst issue and am thrilled to be brought into the circulation of your mindful readership. Keeping a mindful awareness and positive perspective here in prison is difﬁcult but with the inspiration and support of works by Thich Nhat Hanh, IT CAN BE DONE one breath at a time. Enclosed is a compilation/composition of mine that was recently inspired by my meditation on the depths of “aimlessness.” Thanks for all you do for all of us and please know how we in prison already have the elements for happiness within us but we need frequent reminders not to try too hard.
Trying Too Hard
Consider the lilies of the ﬁeld: How they grow.
They neither toil nor spin.
The Tao abides in non-doing.
Yet nothing is left undone.
Buddha taught that there is no need to
Struggle to be free.
The absence of struggle is itself freedom.
Be Still and Know that I Am God.
How hard could it be?
Blessings & Peace,
Danville, Illinois, U.S.A.
I wanted to pass on my appreciation for a recent story in the Summer 2012 issue of the Mindfulness Bell. In June 2012 I became a new mom. In the early weeks I struggled with my role as a mom. Then I read Sister Trang Moi Len’s “Mama, Today Is a Special Day.” Through my tears that is. Her words helped me reconnect to Thay’s teachings and ﬁnd the strength and courage to love my baby daughter. Thank you for such a wonderful publication and for the reminder to ﬁnd our true selves.
Chirgwin Massachusetts, U.S.A