My Mindfulness experience at the Nan Tien Temple | The Art of Slow Living
An opportunity came up at school for me to attend the Nan Tien Temple for a two day 'Mindfulness in Teaching' course. I jumped at this opportunity not only because I thought that my students would benefit from its implementation into my classroom, but more so for the fact that I felt like I needed it myself.
Try as I might to 'destress' and 'be present' I still found myself stressing about stupid things, worrying about stuff I cannot control and playing the game of comparison.
I was living in a future reality and not enjoying the present.
This course was super informative and gave me a range of strategies not only to use with my kids, but also to practice myself. One of these was mindful walking. Our task was the leave the classroom and spend 15-30 minutes walking around the Temple. Our challenge was to focus solely on the act of walking and our breathing as we walked. If a stray thought popped up during the exercise, we weren't to let it worry us, but instead return to the breath as an anchor and refocus on the task. When we returned to the classroom afterward, relaxing music was playing and our instruction on the board said simply to write about our experience. This is what I wrote:
I walked mindfully around the Nan Then temple.
I found it a relaxing and peaceful experience. I walked slowly but not too slow. I noticed that my body was heavy and tired and that the muscles across my chest were sore and tight. I noticed that one arm carried my jacket but the other one was free and swayed and made a twirling movement. My feet were light but my left ankle had a bruise and continued this dull ache the entire time which limited my level of enjoyment.
Outside of myself, I noticed the sweet scent of incense but it wasn't present the entire time. I noticed that the leaves of the lillies made this dancing movement and looked like large hats. I noticed that the quiet crunch of the leaves beneath my feet as I walked sounded like a snap, crackle, pop of rice bubbles. I noticed the breeze through the trees turning them into an orchestra of wind chimes. I noticed the strain in my muscles as I climbed the stairs and I liked the feeling.
To be honest, I wasn't paying much attention to my breathing- it was quiet and soft and shallow but soothing at the same time. I noticed that there were other people around, but I paid no attention to what they were doing, saying or wearing.
I liked the feel of the dry heat on my face and the wind touching my skin.
I was amused watching the duck clean itself- he looked happy. I liked this exercise because I wasn't thinking about anything else other than what I was doing, seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling in that present moment.
While I still struggle with being mindful and frequently get stressed. I do feel that the gift of mindfulness is something I will continue to practice and refine. This weekend alerted me to some of the unnecessary things I had been holding on to and challenged me to let go of some of the stuff in my mind so that I could live a more peaceful life.
I am challenging myself to incorporate more mindfulness exercises and practices into my daily life during 2019, particularly in relation to my occupation.
How are you being mindful in your daily life?
Check out my YouTube video below on my experience of mindfulness at the temple and my beliefs on why it is so vital in our daily lives. While your at it, why not subscribe to my channel.