by Pam

Focusing on what really matters

September 14, 2023 | Creativity, Mindfulness

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In my dharma teacher training studies, I’ve been reading Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s been an inspiring book for me, and one of the chapters talks about the misuse of dogma or doctrines…or what I call the “shoulds” in life. We have so many SHOULDS!!! I should do this, I should not do that, I should be more this, less that…it never ends!

Yet while all these doctrines, rules, and “shoulds” are meant to help us, it’s important to remember the true reason for our mindfulness practice: awareness, held with compassion. The direct experience that is only available through awareness is what opens up the freedom to live in peace, joy, and wisdom.

I created a journal spread to help me integrate the teaching a bit more, and have already taught one class with it. Next week, I’ll also be presenting this lesson to my training cohort. Since I’ve had to work with this teaching for several weeks now, I’m seeing so many places where it is easy to focus on the finger (all those “helpful” rules) rather than the spaciousness of living in awareness. When I am dwelling in the moon of compassionate awareness, the doctrines, rules, and all those “shoulds” in life fall into perspective. I can appreciate them for their intentions and remind myself to look at the moon.

If you are interested in a class for The Finger is not the Moon, let me know. I’m sure we can find a date/time/place to make it happen.

About the author, Pam


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