I have decided to dedicate a post on Thursday to therapy, and offer you the many tips I have learned on the couch. They will be a good reminder for me, as well, of something small I can concentrate on. Many of them are published in my book, “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.“
In his book “Touching Peace,” Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh describes the big bell in his native village temple in Vietnam. When it sounded, all the villagers stopped what they were doing and practiced mindfulness … they became present to the moment. The Buddhist master writes:
At Plum Village, the community where I live in France … every time we hear the bell, we go back to ourselves and enjoy our breathing. When we breathe in, we say, silently, “Listen, listen,” and when we breathe out, we say, “This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.”
The equivalent for me is my Serenity Prayer keychain.
I hear it jingling exactly when I need to be reminded of the prayer’s wisdom. Like when I’m ten minutes late to David’s school because a little person forgot his lunch, and a pea-brained driver in front of me won’t let me get over to the right lane. I’ll hear the clank of my key chain and remember that there are some things in life that I can’t change–they fall into the first category of the prayer–and that I best leave the demonic automobile in front of me alone.
Thick Nhat Hanh’s poem “Inviting the Bell” is much more poetic:
May the sound of this bell penetrate deeply into the cosmos,
In even the darkest spots, may living beings hear it clearly
So their suffering will cease,
Understanding arise in their hearts,
And they can transcend the path of anxiety and sorrow.