In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Vietnamese poet and monk Thict Nhat Hahn teaches the concept of mindfulness by describing the attentiveness of a lover who is being fully present with his beloved. I found the intimacy of his example so touching I was inspired to share it with you for Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you can put it to good use this weekend, or at some point in the future, and with that in mind, I’ll also share an ingenious lovability practice that I picked up from a “tantric sex” teacher named Jwala, then I’ll sprinkle it all with some erotic wisdom from David Bowie. Interested?
To introduce mindfulness, Hahn asks his reader to consider that we’re always “giving our attention” to someone or something. In Buddhist psychology, however, only attention that is given to the present moment is mindful or “appropriate” attention, while attention given to anything else is considered “inappropriate.” This criteria makes mindfulness an very elusive goal, as I’m sure you’ve discovered if you’ve ever tried to meditate. Human attention is just so easily pulled into different directions by our thoughts, emotions, and “habit energies,” that mindfulness has to be a continuous practice, as in over and over, of “remembering to come back to the present moment.”