Along the path of our seeking: the path of our return.
At the end of his book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, the gracious and enlightened Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh presents very simple reflections on putting into practice the concept of mindfulness. He shows how in our waking, our walking, our eating, our washing dishes, in all of our activities, we can cultivate a spirit of awareness, of mindfulness of the breath.
But it was the very last few words of the book that caught my heart as I was reading them this morning:
“I’ve only written down those things which I have lived and experienced myself. I hope you and your friends will find these things at least a little helpful along the path of our seeking: the path of our return.”
The “path of our return”, the thought that occurred to me was that meditation, this wonderful practice of the mindful noticing our breaths is simply a return to who we are. It is not a new direction or a journey to a foreign land. Awareness of breath is our native and most basic birthright. Over time we have lost the ability to notice our breath and through this have lost the ability to notice our thoughts, our actions and their consequences. Mindfulness is the invitation to choose that path, the path of return to our true nature.