"The practice of reflection can help us better understand and accept the nature and mystery of being," writes Donald Altman. The author is known as "America's Mindfulness Coach" for the multiple ways he integrates mindfulness tools, neuroscience, and spiritual values into modern everyday life.
We were first introduced to the wisdom and breadth of interests of this former Buddhist monk when we read Art of the Inner Meal in which he presented a smorgasbord of rituals, practices, and prayers designed to help us see eating as a spiritual path.
Next, we were immensely impressed with Living Kindness: The Buddha's Ten Guiding Principles for a Blessed Life. Here Altman delivers a succinct and enlightening commentary on the manifold meanings of the Ten Paramitas and their ethical ramifications.
Altman has written 13 other books on mindfulness which always incorporate very accessible practices designed to open our hearts and minds to the manifold meanings of life.
In this new book, Reflect: Awaken to the Wisdom of the Here and Now, Altman challenges us to develop our ability to focus on the mundane and the ordinary as we go about our daily duties; this leads to our experiencing these moments as Sacred and Divine. Here's how he describes a practice for doing this:
"Reflection caresses the light suraces and dark shadows of the ego's confining I-dentity. It shines a laser-like beam of clarity on all our deeds, perceptions, and thoughts. It shatters old illusions and dualistic thinking, and allows for new mindsets while breaking the chains of past conditioning. It illumines with surprising insights. It invites fresh ways of seeing and experiencing as it leads us into unexpected and untrodden pathways. It touches whatever we touch; even daily experiences with technology can be transformed when touched by reflection. This is the true seeker's path to reducing suffering, enhancing wisdom, and revealing secret treasures of the spirit."
After an introduction explaining the practice, Altman offers aphorisms to reflect upon, such as: "Your body is forever moving and dancing." "Everyone you encounter today needs love and compassion." "The most important person in your life is whoever is with you now." After a brief commentary on each statement, Altman invites the read to reflect upon in using three questions. The areas covered are:
Simplicity & Peace
To further whet your interest in this lively resource for your spiritual journey, here is a sample of one topic exploring being present:
"Be present with the next small thing, and then the next.
"Make the in-between time count.
Notice all the little moments
of doing the dishes,
walking to the shower,
and hugging your partner.
"The next simple moment
is where you get real-life traction.
"Don't get lost in the future.
You'll get there anyway.
without even trying.
"Reflect on this.
"What in-between moments do you neglect, ignore or push away?
"How could you be more present for the little in-between moments?
"How can you relish and remember today's ordinary moments?"