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Mindful Hygiene

In case you prefer to read rather than listen or watch videos, I’ve posted the transcript of my latest video below.

I’ve been watching the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic unfold in both the inner and physical worlds. I’m sorry to say it appears this is only the beginning of what might be some very trying times. The fallout from this experience will continue for many years. The good news is this is an excellent opportunity to practice. As Buddhists, we use moments like this to evolve and Awaken.

I want to remind you of the power of your mind. When people hear that, they often go to extremes. One person might hear that and think all they need to do is focus and pray, and they’re all done. Another might go to the opposite side and think the power of the mind is a just a fluffy idea that makes us feel better psychologically, but has no real effect. The Truth is in the Middle Path.

We have the opportunity to recognize how deeply our mind affects our physical world AND how deeply the physical world affects our mind.

When we watch the latest news, we can observe our mind and notice: is it taking us into fear and despair? Do we feel crushed and angry? In that moment, we can choose to shift our focus. We can observe how people all over the world are coming together right now to help each other. We can focus our gratitude for all the positive aspects present in our life in this moment. As we do this, we can watch how our energy changes, and how we go from feeling closed down to feeling open. We can shift from caring only about our own well-being to concern about how others are doing. Then we can put it into physical action by actually doing something that will have a positive impact.

You see the world right now is at a pivot point. It’s rare for an entire planet to have the opportunity to face this together. But because of technology, we know what is happening all over the globe. We can use the information we are consuming to harden into fear based thinking, or we can use it ask, “how can I help?” The choice before us is do we want a world centered on “me and mine” or do we want a world centered on “us and ours”?

Living with a chronic illness has trained me to be aware of the surfaces I touch and to religiously wash my hands. I do this not out of fear for my own well-being, but out of love. I know if I keep my body healthy, I can continue to be of service to others. Because of this physical practice, I rarely get colds.

Practicing mindful hygiene is a powerful act you can do to be of service. But don’t do it with only your body. Watch your mind as well. Each time you wash your hands or watch what surfaces you touch, be fully present mentally. Notice if there’s a fear response; notice if there’s clinging to your own personal safety. If there is, embrace it. Acknowledge what is. Then, shift. Allow yourself to consider how many lives you are saving by simply washing your hands and by being careful of what surfaces you touch.

If you get sick with a contagious illness, even if it’s a mild cold, stay home. Let your body heal. And know you are doing it not just for you, but to protect all those you share this beautiful world with.

As I said, we’re at the beginning of a major shift in the world. How we incorporate that change is up to each one of us. Use this opportunity to release the fear that holds you in misery. Allow the awareness of our interconnection to be brought fully into your mind. And once you recognize it, start basing your physical actions on this wisdom.

May all thoughts arise from loving-kindness.
May all words arise from compassion.
May all actions arise from wisdom.

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be healthy.
May all beings be happy.

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Published inBuddha Lessons / Mindfulness