Thursday, July 3, 2014


Toward Being Mindful

By John Potts

   I want to share with you what I learned in my Mindfulness Trainings.  I completed this formal training on the 5th day of January 2013 in Oakton, Virginia along with several others from my Mindfulness Practice Group based in my home church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, Maryland.  We were sitting on floor cushions surrounded by many experienced robed followers closely resembling Zen Buddhist monks.  No, I am not suggesting that we all wear robes or take vows to become Zen Buddhists; mindfulness practices can be found in many Spiritual teachings going back centuries.  Individuals of any faith or little faith at all would become calmer, happier, whole and involved in peace-making wherever they dwell if they began practicing these Refuges and Mindfulness Trainings.
   Saying I "completed" the training may be mis-leading as "mindfulness" is really an on-going progressive daily practice we all would do well to follow.  In fact, the world would be a much better place of peace, harmony and ecology if all pursued a "mindfulness" lifestyle.
   The following wisdom is quoted from the small booklet I received designating my new unique Dharma, i.e. Buddhist doctrines, name on the day of my training in January 2013:

The Three Refuges

   1.  I take refuge in the seed of awakening that lies deep inside me.

   2.  I take refuge in the teachings of mindfulness, concentration and insight that lead to understanding and compassion.

   3.  I take refuge in the community that guides and supports me along the path of transformation and healing.

The Five Mindfulness Trainings

   The Five Mindfulness Trainings represent the vision of all our spiritual ancestors for a global spirituality and ethic.  They are a concrete expression of a path of wisdom and true love, leading to healing, transformation, and happiness for ourselves and for the world.  To practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings is to cultivate a way of life which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair.  Following this way of life, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future.

First training: Reverence for life

   Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals.  I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking or in my way of life.  Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.

Second training: True Happiness

      Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting.  I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.  I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair.  I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy.  I am committed to working in a way that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.

Third training: True Love

   Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful sexual behavior, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and society.  Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends.  I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse an
d to prevent couples and families from being broken by unmindful sexual behavior.  Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy.  I will cultivate loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness which are the four basic elements of true love for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others.  Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.

Fourth training: Loving Speech and Deep Listening

   Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen
to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations.  Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope.  When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak.  I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into its roots, especially in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person.  I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to release the suffering and see the way out of difficult situations.  I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord.  I will make daily efforts, in my speaking and listening, to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.

Fifth training: Nourishment and Healing

   Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming.  I will practice looking deeply into how I take in edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. to consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and our Earth.   I am determined not to use alcohol, drugs, gambling, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations.  I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment.  I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption.  I will make every effort to consume in a way that preserves, peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society, and our Earth.

   Thus you have the Three Refuges and the Five Mindfulness Trainings, understanding that after receiving the Mindfulness trainings, the practitioner should recite them regularly so that the practice of the Mindfulness trainings will deepen day by day.

Allow the Spirit of Truth Consciousness to Awaken You

  You could possibly progress in this kind of living on your own while applying 
the many books on mindfulness meditation and living, however, it would likely be much better if you could locate a Mindfulness Practice Group near your home which you could be a part of.  If you are near a Unitarian Universalist Church, many of them have such a group meeting there led by an insightful person.  You will find that such a small group is friendly, loving and compassionate.  With a little on-line search on Google, you will find such a group in no time, as I did.
   If, perhaps, someday you receive a similar Mindfulness Training as I did, you might even be given a Dharma name chosen after meditation by the leaders.  The name given me is: "Arriving Home at the Source".  For several months, a definition of the name seemed a mystery to me but then it seemed to make a lot of sense.  You can read about how I view the name in the first posting of this blog site:  I feel that you have been brought to this article for a purpose -  to expand your quality of life on this planet.  

Remember - you can be a member of any church or religion or none at all and progress "Toward Being Mindful".

Slowly progressing,
With love,
John Potts
Arriving Home at the Source

More of my sites to explore:
"A Little Child Shall Lead Them"

I would love to hear your comments or questions.  See comment section below.

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