Musings from the Moonroom

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A Year of Mindfulness: True Compliments

Last week’s mindfulness practice was to eat without distractions. No newspaper, book, internet, iPad, or TV.

How did you do with this practice?

I found it to be a nice change of pace. Since I work by myself,  I typically eat while either checking email and news on my iPad or while sitting in front of the TV.  Sometimes I do this because I want to catch up on events. Other times I simply need the noise in the background. I can’t say that either activity enhances my dining experience.

When I first tried this practice, I think I ate a little faster. Then, as I slowed down, I noticed how quiet my environment was. I could listen to the rhythm of the clock ticking. Or I could enjoy the birds singing. I noticed the taste and texture of my food; sweet, juicy, cold, crunchy.

Without the distraction of my iPad or the TV, I ate my meal and got into the studio a bit sooner. At lunch time, I’d go for a walk after my meal. All good things to do instead of lingering over the news or flipping through the TV channels.

This week’s practice: Give true compliments

This week’s practice is to give a genuine compliment once a day to someone close to you. The more specific the compliment, the better.

Giving compliments is a good practice in gratitude. With this practice you must really pay attention to both the big and small things that people do. If this practice is difficult for you, step back and observe if you tend to only notice problems and are critical of people.

As Jan Chozen Bays stated in her book, “When someone becomes part of the furniture of our life, we forget to notice what they do and it doesn’t occur to us to give them compliments. In fact, we may only comment on the negative, the things we think need to be changed.”

With this practice, also pay attention to how it feels to receive a compliment. Depending on how we were raised, giving a compliment may be easier than receiving a compliment.

Reflection: You should know that kind speech arises from kind mind, and kind mind from the seed of compassionate mind. You should ponder the fact that kind speech is not just praising the merit of others; it has the power to turn the destiny of a nation. -Zen Master Dogen