Tuesday, July 7
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Buddhism

Mindful Monday: Control Issues?

Buddhism, Challenge, contemplation, mindfulness, overwhelmed, Spirituality
Do you have control issues? I do. In the past five years, my family has experienced a long string of stressful events—terminal illness diagnoses, deaths, breakdowns, emergencies, chemo and radiation, surgeries, and alarming revelations. Life kept falling apart. It still is. I struggled to control the outcomes of these events because I found myself terrified by suffering and loss. Surely if I knew how to do just the right thing, I could make a situation turn out well, solve the problem, or keep people from dying. When I couldn’t, which was most of the time, I felt like I had failed: bad mother, bad daughter, bad wife. Self-loathing escalated. Margaret Wheatley, a consultant, writer, and student of Pema Chödrön, sheds light on this idea of hating oneself because we think we fall short whe...
Mindful Monday: Listening to Fear

Mindful Monday: Listening to Fear

body, Buddhism, Challenge, Grief, mind, mindfulness, Spirituality
This post is the second of three on the topic of mindfulness and listening. ~~~ My mother had pulmonary fibrosis during the last four and a half years of her life. This disease slowly steals your breath, hardening your lungs until you die of heart failure or suffocation. Her illness angered and terrified me, as much as it broke my heart. I never overcame the fear, to my regret, and a lot of times, I didn't know what to say or how to be. Rodney Smith, a former hospice chaplain and the guiding teacher at Seattle Insight Meditation Society (SIMS), urges us to listen mindfully to our reactivity when we listen to someone else, including the sick or dying. He asks: "Can you connect with [another] person's humanity? Can you access his [or her] pain? Are you able to own that anger that you proj...

Mindful Monday: Teacup Listening

Buddhism, contemplation, Lectionary, listen, mind, mindfulness, Scripture, Spirituality, United Church of Christ
This post is the first of three on the topic of mindfulness and listening. ~~~ "Now the Lord came again and stood there, calling as before, 'Samuel! Samuel!' And Samuel said, 'Speak, your servant is listening.'" (1 Samuel 3:10, NIV) For those who don’t know the context for this scripture, today’s daily lectionary selection, here’s a link to a brief explanation, written by Mary Luti for the United Church of Christ’s “Feed Your Soul Daily Devotional.” After an even briefer synopsis here, I’m going to consider one way that mindfulness and listening work together by relating a Buddhist story I just read. A twelve-year-old child, Samuel, heard someone calling him in the night. He believed that it was Eli, the priest under whom Samuel was training to be consecrated for service to God. Eli was g...