It goes without saying that harming others does not a friendly community make. With one-minute mindfulness, we can begin to refrain from doing harm while cultivating love and good relations.
When we live with this value, we honor all with whom we share the air and other natural resources, as well as all those who will inherit the seeds we plant today. Such is the sentiment echoed in my poem “Friendship Field.”
Each spring I plant a friendship field
with seeds of loving-kindness.
Every day I nurture my field
with caring words, actions, joys, and hopes.
I water it often with
compassionate action and laughter.
Come harvest time,
my field overflows with enough friendship
to warm and sustain me,
during even the darkest,
Four Ways to Plant Your Friendship Field
Here are four ways in which you can mindfully plant your own friendship field one minute at a time.
First, notice your negative impulses, which means accepting and recognizing that you can’t force yourself to be kind and loving all of the time. Even Mother Teresa’s path was filled with doubt. If you notice a harmful emotion or thought, take a minute to breathe and investigate what caused it. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can.
Second, spend a minute saying a prayer for a difficult person or situation in your life. When we pray for others, we feel compassion for the circumstances that make them who they are. This may help you gain more understanding and empathy.
Third, plant seeds of friendship by helping and cherishing others, even in little ways. It is the small actions that let others know they are loved and valued, and small actions only take a minute. Take to heart the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote in a letter,
“It is the history of our kindnesses that alone makes this world tolerable. If it were not for that, for the effect of kind words, kind looks, kind letters...I should be inclined to think our life a practical jest in the worst possible spirit.”
Finally, strive to let go of your expectations about the way people should act. Instead of getting frustrated, accept that all individuals are imperfect and subject to ignorance, confusion, and delusion. Then give as much as you feel capable of giving from your heart, without demanding anything in return. Give freely to others. And you never know from what direction friendship may come, so plant one-minute seeds of love and kindness wherever you happen to be.
PRACTICE: QUALITIES FOR DEVELOPING FRIENDSHIP
Make a list of the qualities you feel are important for developing friendship, such as loyalty, dependability, listening, trust, acceptance, and so on.
Embody these qualities one minute at a time to cultivate and grow your friendship field.
©2011. Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
New World Library, Novato, CA.
One-Minute Mindfulness: 50 Simple Ways to Find Peace, Clarity, and New Possibilities in a Stressed-Out World
by Donald Altman.
Being fully in each moment leads to peace and well-being — but it’s harder than it sounds, especially in a world with constant demands on our time and attention. How do you practice mindfulness when you’re faced with difficult coworkers, overwhelming schedules, or stubborn kids? In this book, Donald Altman brings the benefits of mindfulness down to earth and into everyday life. With fifty exercises and practices to build awareness and center attention, you will discover how to savor routine pleasures, build fulfillment in your work, enhance and heal relationships, change unhealthy habits, and connect to peace even in the midst of chaos or uncertainty.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book. Also available as a Kindle edition.
About the Author
Donald Altman is a psychotherapist, Award-winning writer, international workshop trainer, former Buddhist monk and past Vice-President of The Center for Mindful Eating. Donald’s passion is to bring ancient, timeless values and practices into modern life, and he has taught thousands of health care and business professionals how to apply mindfulness for self-growth, in relationships, and in the workplace. For many years he taught as an adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, in addition to Portland State University’s Interpersonal Neurobiology Certificate Program.
In addition to leading workshops and retreats, Donald has authored over 15 books on mindfulness that have been translated into several languages. His book The Mindfulness Toolbox won two national best book awards. Two other books, Clearing Emotional Clutter and The Mindfulness Code were named as One of the Best Spiritual Books of 2016 and 2010, respectively. His newest book is Reflect: Awaken to the Wisdom of the Here and Now.
Visit his website http://www.mindfulpractices.com.