This week I am on Holy Isle with the Year 2 and 3 MSc students (For more information: click here). It is idyllic here. I have just been walking on the foreshore, sun shining, birds singing, wild ponies with a foal and a guy playing the mandolin – it was quite a surreal experience and extremely beautiful!
The Year 2 students have been doing some teaching skills training and now are completing the insight training (For more information: click here and scroll down) and the Year 3 students are having a writing retreat to help them with their final year thesis. They are all out walking now over the mountain and so I am taking some time to write this to you.
We heard about the attack in London and have dedicated the benefit of our practice to all involved.
Vin led an excellent session on ignorance this morning where we explored our personal rules. We explored how these rules are to do with MY preferences and are often quite reasonable. They are often unseen and can cause us to suffer if they are infringed. Mine was about not pouring coffee grounds all over the dirty dishes in the sink when rinsing the cafetière. My husband does this all the time (although he says he doesn’t) and it drives ME nuts and gets ME thinking about many petty revenges! However, looking at this from a wider perspective, it doesn’t really matter and I would be a lot happier if I just let the rule go and occasionally had to rinse the dirty dishes.
The attack in London breaks many of our rules and we have a terrible sense that this shouldn’t be happening. If we allow it, this can lead to anger, even hatred and our energy is consumed by these emotions that disempower us and separate us from others.
If instead, we can recognise, as Jo Cox said, that we have so much more in common than which separates us, then a wider perspective can emerge, which allows our energy to be freed up for a more creative and connected response. There is so much benefit if we can come together as a community, young and old, rich and poor, all races, all religions and all abilities, to work together.
The very least we can do is smile and say hello to those we pass on the street – if everyone did this how much happier and connected we would all feel. It’s a start.
We can choose not to let anger or despair overwhelm us and instead we can choose to practice kindness and compassion and create space to respond creatively to life’s complex problems and come together. I saw this happening in Manchester last week and I hope it is happening in London.
As a wonderful example of what we can do together, this morning the group here went out and did some Mindful walking and brought back a handful of natural items they found and which particularly appealed to them. Then mindfully, they placed them on some paper to together create some natural art. Here is the photo. It was a very profound, joyful and connecting experience.
It is amazing what happens when we come together in mindful compassion. Let’s do more of it!
Kind Wishes Heather
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