Image from here.
I am an enormous fan of opportunity shops (thrift stores). I love them. If I am on foot when I pass one, I can’t go past it. You just never know what might be in there. And that’s the beauty of them: you just never know. You may find a treasure, you may find nothing. There’s no certainty. Shopping elsewhere, you can be fairly assured of what you’ll find, and security is certainly an important and necessary thing. But an opportunity shop…well, it provides you with opportunities. Can I use that? Can I wear that? Would that go with those red shoes of mine? What would I do with that?
And today was no exception. In amongst the faded Mills-and-Boons and the old Womens Weeklys, I spied Present Moment Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh. For $2! He is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and he is a great advocate of the principle of Mindfulness. For some time, I have been aware that there are some thought patterns and behaviours of mine which could do with, shall we say, a re-adjustment. As a result, I have been thinking a lot about different ways of seeing the world. The notion of Mindfulness has much that’s appealing to say on this topic but I have found it to be a difficult notion to define for myself, to understand in a way which provides me with a personal meaning for it and ways in which I can make it a part of my life. Even my GP said to me, “Mindfulness…yes. Very interesting. But I’ve often wondered—(his voice dropping to a bewildered whisper)—just what is it?”
Well, Thich Nhat Hanh sums it up beautifully. Certainly he talks about such important and complex topics as meditation practice, but he also brings Mindfulness to bear on washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, cleaning the bathroom, eating, throwing out the garbage and answering the phone. Be aware of each dish and the sensation of the warm water on your hands. Don’t make time spent doing housework unpleasant, being in a hurry to move on from it. Brush your teeth in preparation for a day of compassionate speech. Answer the phone with a smile and so sending that positivity to whoever is on the other end.
The profane is the sacred, Thich Nhat Hanh tells us. There is beauty and meaning in everything, not just in the extraordinary or the expensive. Treasure is everywhere, you just need to stop and look and take your opportunities as they present themselves.
Previously in the Land of Meg: