The pigeons dive sharply, engrossed in their glide through the chilly morning air. In a corner, the cat is preoccupied in licking herself clean. Meanwhile, a tree at the lawn’s edge is busy shedding her old, worn-out leaves.
When we take time to observe Nature, we grow spellbound by how she is always caught up in the act of being herself. Being present in every moment, in every form – be it through the tiny bug crawling slowly towards a leaf, or the humongous mountain at peace with all that is growing upon it – creates the core of Nature’s flow.
Then how can we humans, who are yet another form of Nature be any different? How is it possible for us to not “Be” when that is how Nature has willed us to be? This very aspect of “being” forms the essence of Mindfulness.
It is said that the Buddha developed the art of Mindfulness. In reality, Mindfulness has always been flowing through life. It is Nature’s way. In fact, we can say that Mindfulness is the most ancient of Earth wisdoms.
Caught in the act of leading harried, frenzied lives, we have completely forgotten that Mindfulness is nothing other than our own inherent nature presenting itself to our consciousness. It is our state of being grounded to the present, experiencing each moment for the uniqueness it has to offer.
Ever since the Buddha began the arduous task of bringing people closer to their inner nature, the concept of Mindfulness has donned varied avatars, one being that of Zen.
“Rootedness” is the main idea behind the Zen way of life. Zen teaches us to not only delve into the nature of things but also express our insights in everyday life, and in a way that will benefit others. The easiest way to fall into the practice of Zen Mindfulness is to live simply and simply live, according to Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.
The beloved Buddhist monk founded various world-wide movements that are aimed at ushering people across the globe into the art of mindful living. Thich Nhat’s ideals are based on concepts of inter-connectedness that spans through every creation of Nature, connecting everything from the invisible world of fungi to the very visible world around us. The Zen master implores us to honor the sacred in everything through the woke way of Mindfulness.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s way of mindfulness modifies ancient Buddhist practices such as walking meditation, sitting meditation, working meditation and breathing mindfully into methods that are easily adaptable to suit modern living.
To be mindfully Zen is to embrace simplicity, seek contentment in our blessings, and lead a holistic life that is rooted to wholesome wellbeing of both the self and that of the community.
Yet, being mindful is easier said than done. In a multi-tasking, highly distracting and continuously overwhelming world, practicing Mindfulness is no easy task. At the same time, it is also the most needed medicine for a mentally fatigued world. More than anything, we need to practice Mindfulness not because of its well-researched cognitive benefits, or for its ability to aid the treatment of depression, but because if there is any way to get close to our soul and stay just as close, it is through Mindfulness.
Anupama Ramanujam is an author, blogger and obsessive seeker into the nature of things. She has completed her masters in communication and is a self-taught creative writer. In an attempt to give voice to the deeper conscious spirit, Anupama pens fiction and non-fiction stories, essays and poetry. She is a self-published author of four visionary fiction novels and also has several blog posts to her credit. When Anupama is not researching or writing, she plays house-keeper and exasperated mother to a teenager.