Open Heart, Expanded World

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    This past weekend I attended a day-long meditation retreat using the mindfulness practice of Thich Nhat Hanh. It felt good to slow down. I enjoyed the simple pleasures of stretching, breathing, sitting and eating in silence. I appreciated the woods, the birds, and the fresh air as we moved slowly through the day aware of the world around us.

    As we enter the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness that the consumer culture presents. Without being mindful, slowing down and enjoying the simple pleasures, the hurried pace and to-do lists can be overwhelming. Rather than losing yourself in the many tasks and social engagements, create space to breathe into the spirit of the season.

    An essential teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh is “Peace in Oneself, Peace in the World”. I encourage you to pay attention over the next few weeks to how you are creating peace in yourself and peace in the world. ‘Peace on Earth’ begins with every step.

    Meditation on mindfulness

    Repeat these as necessary over the next few weeks:

    As you enter your office, your car, your workspace, breathe deeply. Fill yourself with calm, peaceful breath. Allow the breath to move through your head into your chest, expanding your chest with pure peace…..

    Follow the breath through your body, inviting it to carry peace into your arms, hands, fingers. Now feel your shoulders, jaw and back relax. Notice how you feel as you breathe deeply, carrying nothing but calm and peace through your body temple.

    Today, when a worry, doubt or fear emerges, greet it as a visitor who has arrived at your door. Say, “Hello doubt, hello worry. You may come and go as you please. I am not attached to when you come and go. I am peace in this moment.”

    Breathing in I am aware, Breathing out I am peace.

    Doubts and worries are just thoughts. They move through you as reflections of what you carry inside. As you focus on peace, mindfulness, and openness, you expand awareness and offer calm to your world.

    Breathing in Open Heart. Breathing Out Expanded World

    When you feel stressed, tense, hurried, bring your focus back to your breath. Allow your breath and focus to rest comfortably in your chest and heart again. Easefully, mindfully, effortlessly fill your body and life with peace and calm.

    Now breathe deeply again mindful of your body. As you expand your chest, breathe deeply in your heart. Open your heart and fill it with new prana, new breath, new life. Expand your heart and let it grow more open as you bring in the breath. Notice how your body feels with an expanded heart. Notice how your thoughts shift as you focus on opening your heart.

    Send the expanded energy out to your workspace, your boss, your co-workers. As you open your heart, you expand your presence. As you expand your presence, you expand your world. Move through your day with this expanded presence, sending calm and peace to those around you.

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    For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.

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    Linda’s new book, “Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand”, will be available in paperback Jan. 2012. Orders for autographed first editions are being taken now. Contact Linda for more information: info@lindajferguson.com

    Linda's new book cover
    Linda's new book available Jan. 2012

    Go to her website www.lindajferguson.com to read more about her spiritual life coaching, view video clips of her talks, and read more blog posts.