Day in the life: Deer Park 3/4

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Continued from Part 2

12:00pm Everyone begins lunch together and eats for 20 minutes in silence, after which the bell is invited to wash your dishes, get seconds and/or converse with those around you.

When I first arrived, the fact that we were socially obligated to sit for 20 minutes before getting up felt like a chore. What if I was done earlier? After a few weeks, I began to realize the wisdom inherent in such an arrangement.

I recalled a year ago, when I attempted to adopt a consistent mindful eating practice. I was in my apartment in Chicago, and I’d make myself a nice lunch and resolve to eat it undisturbed, savoring every bite. More often than not, however, there was something else that desperately yearned for my attention. I could return that phone call to Kevin I’d been meaning to get to…A trailer for that movie Peter told me about…That promising article Brad sent which I had skimmed. If I didn’t crack and indulge in the second activity, then I oftentimes thought about it repeatedly. The meal had finished and I felt like I only really enjoyed a few bites of it.

While eating at the monastery, all of those distractions are gone. No one has a cell phone, laptop or newspaper out. All you do there is eat. Revolutionary, I know! Continue reading Day in the life: Deer Park 3/4

Thank you

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“Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon?” -Hal Borland

A benefit of experiencing four seasons is that each time of year carries its own distinct mood. The transition from autumn to winter is a contemplative one, a time of acceptance towards the cold days to come and a reflection on the final colors of autumn. Thanksgiving accentuates this time well, and provides a natural space for expressing gratitude.

I have many things to be thankful for this season, and they are summed up in a song by Native American singer-songwriter Joe Reilly, called “Thank you” Continue reading Thank you