Whenever I met with him, I learned quickly not to compliment or even comment on any of the books stacked around his shelf or his desk. This was hard, since we are both book lovers and we loved to discuss old books, new books, and whatever we were reading. But if I even said, “Oh, I heard great things about that book!” he would make me take it home. Even if I was able to keep my lips shut, he still sent me off with a handful of books. (…)
Fr. Ed was one of the most detached people I have ever met. He knew, with assurance, that his treasures were stored up in heaven and that his possessions on earth were only passing, and because of that, he was open-handed with everything—his books, his money, his meals, and especially his time. He was the embodiment of self-gift. His life was a lesson for us, to let go of our possessions and see them only as tools or gifts for others.
-Brandon Vogt’s eulogy for Fr. Ed Thompson
In my Sunday reading, I read a good article on Soji, a practice at some Zen Buddhist temples. I found it interesting that everyone must stop after 20 minutes, rather like the 15-minute sessions used for squalor-prone people overwhelmed by the thought of cleaning their homes.
If you’re wondering if I went searching for “How to live like a monk” – why no, I didn’t. As usual, I followed a link from another topic: mindfulness.
Several of my friends have gotten interested in it, including a teacher who taught squirmy elementary students ways to focus on the task at hand (especially tests). I was even
trieked talked into encouraged to join a “intuitive eating” class by Rodale Press. One of the first lessons involved Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindful Eating Exercise, otherwise known as the Raisin Meditation. If you’d like to try it for yourself, UC Berkeley’s Great Good in Action has the background, how to do it, and why it works.
(A list of Rodale’s 21-day Challenges is here. If anything looks interesting to you, save yourself 20% by typing MINDANDBODY as a coupon code. Rodale sent me the code after I enrolled and encouraged me to share, so help yourself!)