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The Mindfulness Survival Kit: Five Essential Practices
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Book Discussion > Reader's Guide for Ch. 5-7 of "Mindfulness Survival Kit"

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Parallax Press (parallaxpress) | 53 comments Mod
Wonderful book club friends!

Our third reader's guide for our October pick is up!

As always, it is available on the web and below for your use, discussion, and sharing with friends.

We only have one more week of reading to go! Congratulations! If you’re a little behind, there is still one week to go until November and of course these reader’s guides will continue to stay up for your reference.


1) Let’s try practicing true love, the Third Mindfulness Training. Whenever you are walking outside on a city sidewalk or at the park, practice true love by wishing all beings you encounter loving-kindness along the way (maitri in Sanskrit, metta in Pali).

Random passersby? Silently wish them well. A little squirrel running in fear from you? Wish it well. A little flower growing between the cracks of the sidewalk? Wish it well.

Notice how good it feels to practice loving-kindness!

2) Next time someone provokes you in some negative way or you have negative thoughts about someone, immediately think of at least one way you’ve benefited from that person.

3) Notice your tendency to want to interrupt when a person is speaking to you —oftentimes we look at our phones, or try to interject. Let your interlocutor finish speaking, then respond.

4) Take one moment each day to eat something in complete mindfulness, practicing the Fifth Mindfulness Training.

It can be an entire meal, or even a single thing, such as a cookie.

Savor each bite and think about what went into the food you are eating: the soil from which it came from, the laborer that harvested the ingredients, the sun and the rain —the entire universe makes your life possible. What a miracle life is!

Food for Thought

“We may feel incomplete without a partner or feel lost without a romantic relationship. We think that we need someone to protect us and take care of us, and that it’s the role of the other person to do this. Perhaps being around the other person makes us feel relaxed and safe, as we did when we were taken care of as infants.

The Third Mindfulness Training is a reminder that we can love people from a place of understanding and compassion, not just out of need.” p.64

“Everyone has sexual energy. Sexual energy in itself is not unwholesome. When sexual energy leads to activity that causes suffering, it is unwholesome.” p. 66

“You don’t need another person in order to practice love. You practice love on yourself first. And when you succeed, loving another person becomes something very natural. It’s like a lamp that shines and makes many people happy. Your presence in the world becomes very important, because your presence is the presence of love.” p.73

“It’s helpful if, before speaking, you’ve practiced being able to listen well. You can begin to practice this on your own by listening to yourself in your meditation.” p. 80-1.

“When you practice compassionate listening, it’s important to remember that you listen with only one purpose, and that is to help the other person to suffer less. You give the other person a chance to say what is in his heart. Even if the other person says something harsh, provocative, or incorrect, you still continue to listen with compassion.” p.82

“We have to tell the truth in such a way that it benefits others, the world, and ourselves. When we tell the truth, we do so with compassion; we speak in such a way that the hearer can accept what we’re saying.” p.85

“Our consciousness consumes our thoughts and feelings and the environments in which we spend time. We need to be aware of what we’re feeding our consciousness. Consciousness can consume the good things it contains, or it can consume the things that aren’t so good.” p. 110

“Happiness is not something that we have to look for and find somewhere else. Returning to the present moment, we are in touch with the wonders of life inside and around us.” p. 113

Alexa | 20 comments I really love the ideas to practice these teachings, especially wishing the people and creatures we pass well!

I also love the overall lesson that love and happiness is available within ourselves, and that we don't need to search for it externally. I think this is very easy to forget.

One thing I've found helpful when I have trouble feeling love for myself is to imagine that someone who loves me is saying the type of thing I'd find comforting, and then realizing that it was really me who generated that comfort. Slowly, this has helped me realize that I have the ability to be happy and feel loved on my own. It also feels extra-special when I'm with loved-ones and they're actually showing me love and comfort. =)

message 3: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Fisher | 38 comments I really appreciated the reminder to speak truth skillfully in order to behave wholesomely and helpfully. On the occasions when I feel like offering an unskillful "truth" (less frequently now, I'm relieved to say) I can stop and ask myself what it is that I really want to say. It usually has to do with my own hurt feelings. The urge to speak isn't so strong then. :)

I love the 6th Mantra (p. 98). "You're partly right." It's genius and accurate no matter what it's said in response to. It's a great way to acknowledge the truth in what someone says without getting all proud or feeling unworthy. Thank you so much for this, dear Thay.

Jason (jasonukim) I feel the same way Alexa. I'm hard on myself and I feel it is generally easier for me to forgive or love others, rather than to do these things for myself, or to allow others to love me. I know that sounds odd, but unfortunately it's something I'm working on!

Elaine -- I love the "you're partly right" mantra too! It is so simple, yet so effective.

I know that I am often focused on only the truth and not necessarily the way I communicate the truth. So for example when I argue with my mom (which is often), I often am in the right and am telling the truth, but often my bluntness or refusal to accept anything less than the most logical outcome hurts my mother.

Meditating on my struggles with my mom have made me realize this... that I can be 100% right, yet also 100% unskillful.

Eileen | 15 comments Hello, dear ones...I want to share with you a lovely experience that brought Thay's teachings, and my sangha's strength and support, out into my community. I was asked to lead a small group of 8 and 9 year olds on a walking meditation, as part of their faith formation class at my church. 4 parents also joined us. No one in the group had practiced walking meditation before, and it was a practice of both learning and teaching for all. We began slowly, out of the building and up the street. My only instruction to them was to pay attention, use their senses, and pay attention to all outside of them and what was happening within them. What we had planned as a 15 minute walk became 35 minutes. I realized, early in the walk, that although I had driven the side street many times, I had never walked it, or paid attention to where I was. My instruction, then, was to realize that we knew nothing about the people in these houses except that they were our brothers and sisters. We didn't need to know more. And as we noticed each window, each door, each blade of grass, we could silently send a blessing to these neighbors...may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe, may you be at peace. At the end of the walk, I was so very grateful that this wonderful group had been my teacher for the day. And I'm sure that they will share parts of their experiences with others in their lives.

message 6: by Tonja (new)

Tonja Palmer | 1 comments Lovely

message 7: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim | 12 comments Just wanted to say I really appreciated Thay's comparisons of ethics systems today. It helped me understand Buddhist meta-ethics more clearly, and it appealed to the heady philosopher part of my personality. Wonderful book. Excited for the next one :-)

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