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living at peace with unpeacefulness

One of the mistakes people often make when they take up the practice of meditation is that they form a false image of it. They think that being mindful means not being afraid, that it means being calm and at peace at all times. This is not living in mindfulness. Mindfulness and mental calm are related, but they are not the same. For me, living in mindfulness means that I can live peacefully in non-peace, that I can accept the reality of non-calm. In all our lives, there are moments of calm and moments of non-calm. If I live in mindfulness, I can accept that these moments come and go—like a gentle rain or like a hurricane, but they do come and go. In mindfulness I see their beauty when they are here, I can celebrate what they offer me, knowing that they will pass and also knowing that they may return. If I am living in mindfulness, if I can look deeply into the nature of myself and touch my suffering, I can learn to live with my fear, my doubts, my insecurity, my confusion, my anger. My task is to dwell in these places like still water.

From Bringing Meditation to Life: 108 Teachings on the Path of Zen Practice by Claude AnShin Thomas (Oakwood Publishing, 2021)

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