Mediocre Mystic

The Quieted Mind: Home (for the Holidays) 2020

December 22, 2020 The Quieted Mind Season 1 Episode 10
Mediocre Mystic
The Quieted Mind: Home (for the Holidays) 2020
Show Notes Transcript

A gift to you from Fundamental Shift and The Quieted Mind. 

Many of us this year are dealing with the reality that we cannot return home for the holidays. When we talk about going home, it is helpful to be reminded that our true home is in the here and now. The practice of mindfulness is one of constantly arriving in the present moment.

This guided meditation is adapted from one described by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh in a Dharma Talk he delivered at Plum Village, France on July 16, 1996. You can read the text of that talk at PlumVillage.org.

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Music by '86 Aerostar

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It is December as I record this, and many here in the U.S. and abroad are in the midst of our holiday season which runs until early January. 


During the holiday season, many of us are accustomed to visiting or being visited by friends and family. Some of us wish to return to a place we once called home, and some of us normally remain at our own home for the holidays. In a time of a pandemic, such as we currently find ourselves, many of those customary gatherings have been cancelled or have taken a new form, such as online gatherings through Zoom or FaceTime or Skype.


The holiday season, even in a so-called “normal” year, for many of us, can be a source of stress. We want to create the best possible experience for our friends and family. Perhaps we fear certain topics that may arise in conversation, or awkward situations that accompany cultural differences or differing dietary needs. Maybe we are concerned about safety for ourselves or our loved ones   , or we are hoping that negative experiences of prior holidays or family visits do not repeat themselves this time around. 


For some of us, perhaps it’s the difficulty of facing that first holiday season, or the second, or the third, without that person who meant everything to us. 


When we talk about going home, it is helpful to be reminded that our true home is in the here and the now. The practice of mindfulness is one of constantly arriving in the present moment. In this season, we so often find ourselves drifting into the past or the future. 


In times like these, in order to take good care of ourselves, we must go home—to our true home—and touch the peace that is available to us here and now.


This meditation is adapted from one described by zen master Thich Nhat Hanh in a dharma talk he delivered at Plum Village, France on July 16, 1996, in which he said: “If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. Go back to the present moment where you can be alive, where you can live deeply each moment of your life, and where you can allow your body and your soul to live. You do it for yourself, but you do it for all of us. We need you to be peaceful. We need you to be stable. We need you to have joy. That is for the sake of the world. Your practice is not an individual matter. Your practice will benefit the whole world.”


Let’s begin our meditation. 


Find a comfortable position. You may prefer to sit on a cushion or mat with your legs crossed and spine straight; on a couch or chair; or you may like to lie down. 


Once you have found a comfortable position, close your eyes. Now take a deep breath in, filling your lungs with air. Hold it for a moment and then breathe out slowly. Notice how it feels to breathe deeply, how the air feels in your lungs, and when you release it as you exhale. 


Take another full, deep breath, and release it.


Once more, take a long, full, deep breath, and let it go.


As we return now to our true home, the present moment, continue to take note of your breath. Our centering phrase during this time is this: “I have arrived. I am home.” We are constantly arriving in the present moment—the only moment that is available for us to live. 


As you breathe in, say silently to yourself: “I have arrived.”

As you breathe out: “I am home.”


I have arrived.

I am home.


I have arrived.

I am home.


I have arrived.

I am home.


Practice arriving. Arrive in every second, every moment. 


*Bell sounds*


The bell of mindfulness draws us toward arrival. Listen to the bell as you continue breathing. When you hear the bell, think to yourself, “This sound brings me back to my true home.”


*Bell sounds*


This sound brings me back to my true home.


We do not need an actual bell to practice this. A bell of mindfulness in our daily life could be the sight of a traffic light, or the sound of a cash register, or the ding of an elevator arriving at your floor. Find a bell of mindfulness in your daily life, and when it manifests, repeat the centering phrase to yourself: “I have arrived in the present moment. I am home.”


Continue your mindful breathing now. 

Breathing in, I have arrived.

Breathing out, I am home. 


As you continue, if you become distracted by stray thoughts or sounds, return to the centering phrase. I will keep track of the time, and at the end of our meditation, I will sound the bell, which will close our session with one more recitation of the phrase: 


I have arrived. I am home.

I have arrived. I am home.

I have arrived. I am home.


*Bell sounds*


//Silent meditation with background music//


*Bell sounds*


I have arrived. I am home.

I have arrived. I am home.

I have arrived. I am home.


Namaste.