Jean Smith is the author of many books including 365 Zen and The Beginner's Guide to Zen Buddhism. She divides her time between the Adirondack Mountains and Taos, New Mexico. In this timely paperback, the author elucidates the bounties of mindfulness and meditation.
On each left-hand page, you will find a brief commentary on a subject that is a natural part of daily living; these are intended to be used pondering, journaling, or discussion in small groups. On the opposite page, you will find invocations similar to gathas, the name given to verses for reflection in the Buddhist tradition. These two approaches are designed to bring the practice of mindfulness to every moment of existence so that nothing is slighted or overlooked. The book is organized into segments on presence of spirit, of heart, of mind, of conduct, in relationship, and in the world.
These reflections and invocations can bring us to a fresh appreciation of being present. When it is hard to imagine what contribution we can make to lessen the anger and the hatred afoot in the world, it might be helpful to use Smith's invocation:
May my commitment
to not harming others
through my thoughts, words
inspire me to work
to bring peace to all beings
with whom I share this world.
The author suggests that we use various sounds in our lives doorbells, a kitchen timer, a clock chiming, dogs barking, or a car horn as cues to practice mindfulness. She shares this invocation to be repeated throughout the day:
May I learn to attend
to all the mindfulness bells
in my world,
so I can be present for my life
and for the blessings that surround me.