I was fortunate this week to have the opportunity to watch Walk with Me, a documentary about Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village monastery. Rather than attempting to expound upon his teachings, the documentary offered a more experiential feel into life in Plum Village. Very much like Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings, the documentary experience was subtle, simple and direct.
Thich Nhat Hahn cuts through a lot of language and describes meditation as the simplicity of arriving into the direct experience of this moment, over and over again. In keeping with this spirit, a bell goes off every fifteen minutes in Plum Village as a call to pause and arrive here and now. ‘Here’ is the amalgam of sounds in the environment, the feeling of earth beneath you, the touch of sky above, the eyes of the one across you, the sensations of your body breathing now. It is that simple and perhaps that elusive. Rather than arriving in this way, we may spend many moments of our day in the world of our preoccupations – our plans for tomorrow, the residual feelings of the past, all the things I wish I or someone else had done. The list can be quite long.
Adyashanti says, “Our mind is looking for answers, but our heart is looking for a deep, direct experience with existence”. Looking for answers can be exhausting, and without reprieve, we may be looking in all the same places with little room for anything new. More so, I don’t always feel at home in my mind, but when I drop in directly, often regardless of the circumstance, I begin to feel the soft touch of ease offer its embrace. I begin to feel at home, and, in time, available to a wisdom that is more intuitive than mechanical.
While the simplicity of direct experience is always here, we need the support of daily and frequent reminders. Perhaps we pause every morning or before every meal. Every stop at an intersection can become the opportunity to breath and feel, rather than remaining absorbed in the preoccupations. We can even ask ourselves, am I living directly in the world in this moment or am I living in the world of my preoccupations? If the preoccupations are there, we are not trying to push them away. We are simply widening our field of attention to include more than the thoughts.
If you would like, try it right now.
Wherever you are, begin to listen and feel the energy of the sounds around you.
Feel the sensation of earth beneath you… And the sky above.
Feel the melodies of life within you, the heart beating, the body breathing and the field of sensations.
Feel yourself arriving, here now, simple and direct.
For more about the documentary, explore here – http://walkwithmefilm.com/.