Happy 2014!

1 January 2014
6:00 pm
Edinburgh

T. —

I sang at St. Giles today, and sang Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium four times. I’m sure I’ve posted the sung video up here before in one of my letters, but today I found this brass arrangement. It’s really beautiful.

So, some research for making ornaments out of Christmas cards:

  1. Option 1: This is what I was envisioning.
  2. Option 2: so many options! Andrew now wants an entire tree of pinecone ornaments.
  3. Option 3: I like the wreaths and gift tag options on this site.

I’m going to go through the stack of cards and get started =).

*

I finished reading “The Miracle of Mindfulness” today, and here are some of my favorite sections:

“You might well ask: Then how are we to practice mindfulness?
My answer is: keep your attention focused on the work, be alert and ready to handle ably and intelligently any situation which may arise — this is mindfulness. There is no reason why mindfulness should be different from focusing all one’s attention on one’s work, to be alert and to be using one’s best judgment. During the moment one is consulting, resolving, and dealing with whatever arises, a calm heart and self-control are necessary if one is to obtain good results. Anyone can see that. If we are not in control of ourselves but instead let our impatience or anger interfere, then our work is not longer of any value.
Mindfulness is the miracle by which we master and restore ourselves. Consider, for example: a magician who cuts his body into many parts and places each part in a different region — hands in the south, arms in the east, legs in the north, and then by some miraculous power lets forth a cry which reassembles whole every part of his body. Mindfulness is like that — it is the miracle which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.” (14)

“Thus mindfulness is at the same time a means and an end, the seed and the fruit. When we practice mindfulness in order to build up concentration, mindfulness is a seed. But mindfulness itself is the life of awareness: the presence of mindfulness means the presence of life, and therefore mindfulness is also the fruit. Mindfulness frees us of forgetfulness and dispersion and makes it possible to live fully each minute of life. Mindfulness enables us to live.” (14 – 15)

“Don’t drink your tea like someone who gulps down a cup of coffee during a work break. Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life. Don’t be attached to the future. Don’t worry about things you have to do. Don’t think about getting up or taking off to do anything. Don’t think about ‘departing’.” (30)

“In the first six months [of meditation], try only to build up your power of concentration, to create an inner calmness and serene joy. You will shake off anxiety, enjoy total rest, and quiet your mind. You will be refreshed and gain a broader, clearer view of things, and deepen and strengthen the love in yourself. And you will be able to respond more helpfully to all around you.” (42)

– Thich Naht Hanh

*

Goodnight,
M

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