Return to Innocence

A good friend told me about his recent trip and the great experience he had with his little grandchildren. He told me that now that he is practicing mindfulness he was able to really be in the here-now with them, immersing himself more fully in their world, something that he hadn’t experienced before. He was able to better observe them and realize the depth of their curiosity, as well as their genuine amazement with what they were seeing and discovering for the first time. We talked about how vital it is for us, adults, to keep this curiosity and capacity for amazement alive. And we reflected on the words of Jesus, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Yes, the kingdom is right here, right now. Heaven is here if we want it to be.

I always heard that children are innocent, but only now, almost three decades after the birth of my first child, I can say that I understand what that truly means. The practice of mindfulness opened my eyes, allowing me to see this innocence anew and realize how incapable I was of grasping its essence, meaning, and beauty before.

I feel deeply that children are the greatest teachers. They live in the here-now. We — with our fears, worries, and regrets — are the ones who remove them from the enjoyment of the present moment, telling them that they have to push themselves to be more, do more, and have more. We are the ones who instill in them all the things that spoil their innocence.

I remember my kids during the first decade of their lives, when they were discovering the world. How innocent they were! How I wish I could go back with what I know now, and instead of trying to teach them, simply relax and learn from them.

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I facilitated a silent retreat yesterday and spent time in nature, walking mindfully in a beautiful botanical garden. This morning, I received an advice that I should spend more time in nature. Unexpectedly, the music video of the song “Return to Innocence” by Enigma — that I watched many years ago — came to my mind. Watching it again made me remember the innocence of my sons. I remembered cutting my oldest son’s hair and teaching him to ride a bicycle. I remembered the two of us watching the sunrise together, while he pointed at the sun, talked to the ocean in his own universal language, and smiled.

I also remembered the love I received from the women who shared their lives with me. I remembered myself as the writer whose words vanished from the pages. I remembered myself as the sower of seeds of mindfulness. I remembered myself as the shepherd who followed his sheep as we, together, returned to innocence.

An old man remembers.

A newborn remembers.

I remember.

Return To Innocence

That’s not the beginning of the end
That’s the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

Love
Devotion
Feeling
Emotion

Love
Devotion
Feeling
Emotion

Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself don’t hide
Just believe in destiny.

Don’t care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don’t give up and use the chance
To return to innocence.

That’s not the beginning of the end
That’s the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

Don’t care what people say
Follow just your own way
Follow just your own way
Don’t give up, don’t give up
To return, to return to innocence.

If you want then laugh
If you must then cry
Be yourself don’t hide
Just believe in destiny.

Songwriters: M.C. Curly
Return To Innocence lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the official Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.

It’s just a thought

Where do thoughts come from? Who generates them? What is this non-stop narration that we hear in our heads? Who does the talking? And who does the listening?

……..

After a great performance of his band, my son was joyfully and justifiably relishing in the praise. He was celebrating, feeling really good, and having a great time. His band opened for another band, and it was a great concert! Then, something happened that caused an interruption in those good feelings and spoiled that moment for him: he was accused of something he didn’t do: stealing beer from one of the venue’s many bars! Evidence was brought to light, and soon things were clarified, proving that he hadn’t done anything wrong. The beer had been given to his band before the concert, and was in their rehearsal room. That’s where he took it from after playing the opening act and coming to the floor to watch the rest of the concert. Those who accused him quickly apologized with great sincerity, and even gave him a gift as a compensation for their hurried misjudgment: more free beer!

Now, rather than returning to the enjoyment of the present moment, and taking in the joy of a great concert, my son kept ruminating the accusation, totally ignoring all the good he had recently experienced, and could be experiencing still. He had a difficult time letting go of the bad and redirecting his attention to the good that came out of it — a sincere apology and a gift —  proving, one more time, that “the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, and like Teflon for positive ones.” He kept repeating to himself, “How could they think this of me? Who do they think I am? I would never do that! It hurts. I am hurt.” But, in reality, who or what was hurt? His image? His reputation? His ego? And what are those things if not abstractions, if not thoughts, just thoughts?

……..

Time to think: “Why does blame stick for such a long time and praise wash away so fast? Why do we retell negative stories and not so much the positive ones?”

……..

Do not get stuck in the quicksand of what is negative. You can get out. Actually, with some practice, getting out of this quicksand becomes quite easy. There’s no need to retell painful stories. Do not revive upsetting emotions.  You can choose! You can remain their prisoner, or you can liberate yourself by simply saying, “It’s just a thought.”  Give them a shoulder shrug, and move on! Enjoy what is good in your life, right here, right now, without magnifying what is bad. Remember that everything comes and goes. One moment gain, the next moment loss. One moment pleasure, the next, pain. One moment praise, the next, blame. Everything is impermanent, and nothing stays the same. The past is gone. And what is the past if not a thought in the present moment, right?  Let it go.

It’s just a thought!

You can choose. If you are going to get stuck, get stuck in the territory of the good events and good feelings. If you are going to retell stories, choose to retell the pleasant ones. This a training for you. Practice to notice what is good, pleasant, and positive in your life. Practice to retell the good moments of your life. This is going to activate new pathways in your brain that will predispose you to notice more often all that is good, which in turn will enhance your positive outlook, optimism, and the quality of your life.

So, whenever you are accused of doing something wrong, either repent and apologize if you have actually done it, or, if not, say to yourself, “I know who I am. I know the ground where I stand. I know what I did and what I didn’t do. I will listen to those who accuse me first, and then I will speak my truth quietly and clearly, hoping to clarify the situation and be understood. But if I’m not, there’s little I can do. If I’m unjustly condemned, so be it. I have no control over other people’s judgments. If people choose to think bad of me and spread falsehoods about me, so be it. I have no control on what other people think, say, or do. Whatever others think of me is none of my business. I know who I am. I know the ground where I stand. I know what I did and what I didn’t do. The people who know me and care about me, my true friends, know who I am. And those who doubt my integrity and character, don’t really know me, and are not truly my friends. If they depart, there’s no loss for me; only for them.”  Say it, and move on in peace.

So, there you have it: a suggestion on how to mindfully respond when people falsely accuse you, misjudge you, or spread falsehoods about you.

Remember what Dr. Seuss quote: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

May you be able in uncontrollable situations to give a shoulder shrug, accept, let go, and move on in peace.


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

www.PeacefulWays.org

Doing without Doing

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

“Wu Wei” is Chinese for non-doing  or non-action.  It refers to creating without striving, without excessive effort, without trying to desperately control the outcome.

“Wei Wu Wei” is action without action, the competence of easily achieving results without really having to do much at all. It brings to my mind images of allowing Life to flow naturally while trusting the Universal Wisdom, obeying the commands of our Inner Voices, and offering ourselves to be used by the the Universe to create through us.

“The Sage is occupied with the unspoken and acts without effort. Teaching without verbosity, producing without possessing, creating without regard to result, claiming nothing, the Sage has nothing to lose.” ~ Lao Tzu, in the Tao Te Ching


 

Flowing in the zone

Do you remember those times in your life when you were fully focused and energized, thoroughly enjoying what you were doing, feeling that you weren’t really doing anything and that things were being done through you? Do you remember being in that state of complete immersion in the present moment while performing a task, with a calm confidence that everything you wanted to achieve was possible? Do you remember your amazement with the extraordinary results you were getting spontaneously and effortlessly, without thinking or striving too much? Do you remember losing track of time, feeling that everything slowed down like in a slow motion movie, and hours went by like minutes?

Many athletes and artists have told us that during their hyper-focused experiences they feel as if they are in a special zone where everything flows naturally, easily, without obstructions.

The practice of mindfulness expands one’s ability to enter “the zone” and stay in this state of “flow.”


 

Peace comes through the work we do to improve ourselves

Today we celebrate the birth of Peace Pilgrim, one of the wisest teachers of harmony that the world has ever known.

“In order for the world to become peaceful, people must become more peaceful. Among mature people war would not be a problem – it would be impossible. In their immaturity people want, at the same time, peace and the things which make war. However, people can mature just as children grow up. Yes, our institutions and our leaders reflect our immaturity, but as we mature we will elect better leaders and set up better institutions. It always comes back to the thing so many of us wish to avoid: working to improve ourselves.” ~ Peace Pilgrim

“This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.” ~ Peace Pilgrim


 

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Stay in touch.

Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/PeacefulWays/events/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/peacefulways

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Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.PeacefulWays.org

www.DAPAdiversity.com


 

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Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who hopes to inspire people to live lives that matter. He is a promoter of peace who believes that Heaven is here, if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation and mindful living, and organizes Silent Peace Walks.

Songs as Faithful Companions

Joni Mitchell’s ability to carefully choose words to convey emotions is admirable. Two of her songs — Down to You and Shadows and Light — have been my faithful companions since my youth. I guess we are still together after all these years because as I change, I keep discovering something new in them. These are poignant chants that remind me of the impermanence of all things, that change is the only constant in life, that the pleasant does not exist without the unpleasant, and that good and bad, right and wrong, reside in all of us. Great wisdom through inspired, sublime poetry!

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Down to you

(first and last strophes)

Everything comes and goes
Marked by lovers and styles of clothes
Things that you held high
And told yourself were true
Lost or changing as the days come down to you
Down to you
Constant stranger
You’re a kind person
You’re a cold person too
It’s down to you
It all comes down to you

Everything comes and goes
Pleasure moves on too early
And trouble leaves too slow
Just when you’re thinking
You’ve finally got it made
Bad news comes knocking
At your garden gate
Knocking for you
Constant stranger
You’re a brute you’re an angel
You can crawl you can fly too
It’s down to you
It all comes down to you

Joni Mitchell © 1973; Crazy Crow Music

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Shadows And Light

Every picture has its shadows
And it has some source of light
Blindness blindness and sight

The perils of benefactors
The blessings of parasites
Blindness blindness and sight

Threatened by all things
Devil of cruelty
Drawn to all things
Devil of delight
Mythical devil of the ever-present laws
Governing blindness blindness and sight

Suntans in reservation dining rooms
Pale miners in their lantern rays
Night night and day

Hostage smile on presidents
Freedom scribbled in the subway
It’s like night night and day

Threatened by all things
God of cruelty
Drawn to all things
God of delight
Mythical god of the everlasting laws
Governing day day and night

Critics of all expression
Judges in black and white
Saying it’s wrong saying it’s right

Compelled by prescribed standards
Or some ideals we fight
For wrong wrong and right

Threatened by all things
Man of cruelty-mark of Cain
Drawn to all things
Man of delight-born again born again
Man of the laws the ever-broken laws
Governing wrong wrong and right
Governing wrong wrong and right
Wrong and right

Joni Mitchell © 1975; Crazy Crow Music


 

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Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the official Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.

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www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.PeacefulWays.org

www.MindfulSouthFlorida.com