Given the context we are living in I wanted to share with you a practice that is dear to me and that I find healing.
4 years ago around this time…I found myself feeling distraught. My heart ached for our world, for our country, for life.
I was full of anxiety, hopelessness and helplessness. Feeling angry and also, paralyzed to act.
I began to incorporate this practice into my morning routine and found ease, freedom, and a way forward. Anxiety eased. Sorrow moved through and could be expressed and released. I felt empowered to take steps forward, to continue my work in the world, my work to meet the world with openness and compassion, to join waves of people creating ripples of goodness and love.
The beauty of this practice is that it helped me to shift from “being” anxiety, to “being aware of”, to observing, anxiety. This allowed it to move through, as understanding and compassion arose around it.
Here is the practice:
There are 3 melodies.
While playing (or listening to) the first melody, bring awareness to challenges in your life. The purpose is to allow understanding to arise and compassion to be born in our hearts, to help heal us. (allow your eyes to close…inhale deeply… slow outbreath…)
While playing the second melody, bringing awareness to someone close to you, and sense challenges they may be experiencing. The purpose is the same: to allow understanding and compassion to arise. (relaxing with the breath, with the movement of the breath…)
While listening to or playing the third melody, bring attention to the suffering in the world a little bit everywhere: violence, illness, social and racial injustice, poverty, hunger, war…with the same purpose, to allow understanding to arise and with it, compassion.
You can play through the cycle of 3 melodies several times. This creates a field of mindfulness and compassion.
I have found that this practice creates shifts in me that are liberating.
This practice is adapted from a Thich Nhat Hanh talk. I first heard it on the podcast, Thich Nhat Hanh Dharma Talks. The title of the talk is, This is a Legendary Moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh explains that we likely have a strong desire in our hearts to help people suffer less, to relieve suffering and pain in the world.
This takes tremendous energy. You can renew your energy when you wake up to the beauty of the world – being in Nature, feeling the miracle of our bodies, sharing moments of love and connection.
With mindfulness practice, mindful breathing, mindful walking, you can awaken to the infinite beauty of Nature.
Another source of energy, he says, is when you listen to the suffering inside, you come to understand, and in the moment of understanding, compassion is born.
This shift in ourselves heals us and gives us the energy and space to listen to the suffering of others.
“When compassion is born in your heart, you don’t suffer anymore. You are no longer angry at yourself, or another person, because you understand your suffering, you understand his or her suffering.”
This is why the practice of deep compassionate listening, or mindfulness of suffering, is so important.
With this practice we can generate the energy of mindfulness and compassion and help hold our pain or despair.
As Thich Nhat Hanh says, you practice like a drop of water in the heart of a river, letting the river embrace you and transport you.
It is a way of turning mud into a lotus.
Here are some ways to get comfortable playing it yourself.
1. Check out this video. It has 2 parts:
Part One – Recording for learning the fingerings on an A minor Native American flute
Part Two – Recording for listening to the practice (E minor flute)
2. Fingering charts
a) Simplified melodies, using only the notes of the pentatonic scale.
b) Full melodies