Since the bandages on my back needed to be changed daily, it gave me a chance each day to ponder how, in the span of six months, I had two totally different experiences in the way my body healed. What had made the difference? Did my lack of active participation affect the degree to which the wound was repaired? Did inviting divine participation affect the outcome? Honestly, it was a challenge to wrap my head around this new way of looking at healing. Throughout those summer weeks I continued to process my expanding perceptions!
It was also during this year that I investigated different ways to calm my mind and body. After reading Dr. Herbert Benson's book The Relaxation Response I began taking a structured quiet time each day for about fifteen to twenty minutes. During these times I would concentrate only on my breathing, counting each complete breath as "one." I liked this because with the repetition of "one" I was better able to just breath without my mind becoming involved in keeping count. Believe me, my mind had more than a bit of difficulty giving up control. Many random thoughts would enter my mind, so with each one I would gently set it aside and return to my breathing. I remember after several times of practicing this type of relaxation, I realized that I was no longer aware of my breath...it was as though I had reached a place where my mind and body were suspended in silence and a deep sense of peace wrapped me in stillness. I must admit that initially this new feeling scared me, so I took one very deep breath to reassure myself that I was fine. Another new experience for me to process...exhilarating for sure, and yet a bit scary at the same time.
In the midst of this introspective period, another book crossed my path that encouraged me to expand my awareness in still another area of living...The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. I can honestly admit that I had never considered the concept of mindfulness, and yet after being exposed to it, I could only wonder how I had become so occupied in busyness, making me unavailable to a different way of living. I thought about my initial attempts to quiet my mind and the difficulty I had calming the constant activity. After reading this book I came to a profound self-realization...mind full, most definitely yes...mindful, most definitely no! Oh, my journey with mindfulness had just begun.