I slipped from sleep into consciousness in a state of complete peace and relaxation. The warm rain drummed softly against the metal roof and the trees rustled outside the open window. Next to me, under a light cover, I was aware of my mother’s breathing, and the presence of Smiling Cloud Sangha members all around the room. Filling my awareness was the sound of an angel singing, one of the Sisters of Dieu Tram Nunnery leading a Deep Relaxation during our rest time. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. I felt completely aware, present, alive in the present moment. There was nowhere else I would rather be.
The Mobile Mindfulness Retreat was full of so many moments, beautiful moments of community, peacefulness, awareness, sharing, growth, and learning. That Day of Mindfulness at Tu Hieu, our Teacher’s Root Temple, had begun at 4:30 am with an entrance to the locked gates, joining the Sisters in their early morning meditation. Afterwards, we were led outside into the velvety pre-dawn darkness, the song of cicadas vibrating our eardrums. A Sister silently handed me a broom with a lovely smile and beckoned to me to follow her as we began sweeping the leaves down the road. As it slowly grew light, we began to talk, teaching each other how to count leaves in English and Vietnamese, communicating from the heart across the language barrier. During the rest of our Day of Mindfulness, we sang together, listened to a Dharma talk, and ate silently and formally with the Brothers, Sisters, and local families. The lay community stayed late into the afternoon to support the visitors who were taking the Five Mindfulness Trainings - some, like me, for the first time, others renewing them.
Heather Young, Loving Acceptance of the Heart, practices with the Cedar Sangha, Eugene, Oregon USA