July 27, 2011

This Sunday: Remembering to Remember

Dear Friends,

Last Sunday we talked about letting go, and how faith in our ability to handle whatever arises can facilitate our letting go of mind states that harm us more than help.  A common misunderstanding of letting go is that it will leave us passive, while the opposite is true.  It actually leaves us better able to cope with events because our minds are not muddled with tormenting thoughts and emotions.

Below is an article from Tuesday's Chronicle with a dramatic example of this profound kind of presence.  Oddly, it's probably easier to be mindful during a bear attack, though, than in a conflict on the job or at home.  How can we summon the kind of presence that enabled these kids to survive such a crisis?

This Sunday we'll talk about "remembering to remember" during our ordinary lives.  Practice can enable us to return to mindfulness in those moments when pitfalls are camouflaged by tedium.  You all probably have stories of remembering to be present during the routine of a day.  How did that happen, and how did your regular practice contribute to that moment of awakening?

Bring your stories, bring your friends, and together we'll learn more about living a mindful life.
Best wishes,

This (edited) article was on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle on Tues., July 26, 2011:
Victor Martin Jr. survived an attack by a grizzly bear in Alaska over the weekend.A Richmond teenager was headed home Monday evening after his first camping trip ended when a bear believed to be a grizzly attacked him and other teenagers in a remote part of Alaska over the weekend.
The attack occurred about 8:30 p.m. Saturday as Victor Martin, 18, and six other teens made their way through thick bushes in the Talkeetna Mountains.  The group, on the 24th day of a 30-day wilderness education course, was crossing an unnamed creek when it came across the brown-colored bear with a cub. The purpose of the month long expedition is to teach students to recognize, avoid and manage risks. Martin had received a scholarship.
Two teens at the front of the group received the brunt of the attack.  The animal then turned its attention on Martin, who was third in line. …  Martin kicked the bear until he was able to break free and ran up a hill. Martin [then] returned to his group as soon as he could to help the injured.  A helicopter crew reached the group at 2:45 a.m. Sunday after the teens activated their emergency location beacon. In all, six teens were injured, but none as seriously as Berg and Gottsegen. They remained hospitalized in Alaska in serious and good conditions respectively.  Martin was treated and released.
 His family said Monday they were relieved that he survived but not surprised that he went back to the group to help the others.  "He's the type who will help out, that's for sure," said Tonnette Martin, Martin's grandmother and guardian....

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