Part 2, Step 5 by Sara Neall
Sister Henrita started her mindfulness blog post with the beautiful image of her walking through The Christine Center bookstore and being attracted to the children’s book, I am Peace – A Book of Mindfulness. She writes, “It is what I needed. It enabled me to move with memories of my long journey with acquiring mindfulness.” In that moment, Sister Henrita remembered that she had everything that she needed.
I love this image for two reasons. First, knowing that the Sisters, Henrita, Johanna, Gabe and Marge, continue their steady work of prayer through this COVID-19 time, for me, has been a great comfort. Second, because Sister Henrita remembered.
Mindfulness, or Sati in the Pali language can also be translated, to remember.
In Step 5, Karen Armstrong states, “The purpose of mindfulness … is to help us detach ourselves from the ego by observing the way our mind works.” p.105
Buddhism refers to the ego as Self. The Self is the location of I, me and mine. The Self looks to the future and it looks to the past. It clings to its own preservation.
In this time of so much uncertainty, I notice my own fear of what the future holds and my anger at what was done in the past. I notice how I cling to my ideas of what is right and what is wrong. And I notice how easily I can get lost in the narrow view of me and mine. This clinging to Self strangles compassion.
Compassion arises from a belief that we are enough and that we have enough. It is rooted in the present moment. Compassion requires letting go of Self.
Thich Nhat Hanh, likes to Remind us that, “We already have everything we need.” It is in this present moment, each time we Remember, that we live and act with compassion.