What is there to keep in mind wif I return home?


Wif! Do some of you know the word "wif"? Wif is spelled w-i-f. Wif is a word for meditators to use death reflection in their speech. Wif is a combination of two words, when and if. Now I could say, "When I get back to Thailand, I'm going to do such and such." But if you've got death reflection, maybe I'll get back to Thailand and maybe I won't. So, "When and if I get back to Thailand, I'm going to do such and such." That's more to the truth, when and if. So I invented the word wif, w-i-f for anyone who wants to use death reflection in their speech.

What is there to keep in mind wif I return home? Everything is to keep in mind, all the practice is to keep in mind. But I think they're meaning a special kind of technique that can help you extra at home that you don't do in retreat. One thing I give everybody, especially our long-term students who are the assistants at Wat Kow Tahm, I give them the technique of being extra special mindful with their fingers when they're back in the West. If you notice, for most of you right now, your hands are in front of you. Your hands often tell you things that you don't see straight away. It's just like when a person gets real angry, the heart beats fast, etc., and if the person's a meditator they often know that they're angry, and then they see the thoughts of anger after they see the body. It's a hint, it can feed us information.

With your hands, since they're always in front of you, they can start telling you if you start fidgeting. How many people do you know who start playing with their hands when you're talking with them? I had one interview, the clicking of the pen was louder than the person's voice, they were so nervous. How many times do you start playing with them, people crack their knuckles, people do all sorts of things with their fingers besides chewing the fingernails and such. The hands can give you information, so if you're more mindful of your hands, especially when you're around other people, it's very helpful.

One of the techniques that I do to make sure that I'm more mindful with other people, especially in the West, is I'll do walking meditation with my fingers. Any way you want, or I may just start tapping them. Or I may let one move across the other, and people just don't see it, they don't see it because they're too busy talking, thinking about what they want to talk about and they're looking at my face instead of my hands, but I know I'm doing it. It's like walking meditation, and it grounds my attention, makes me silent, makes me know that here I am, I'm here, and then I'm not so agitated or worried about things I normally hear in the West, which is about taxes, the price of food, this or that. And when people do get very excited about politics, and such, I try to stay back a bit and using the hands helps. Even if it's just a gentle tap, with the fingers, it just brings me back a bit, I'm not so involved in the conversation, in the story. I'm listening, considerate, but I'm also keeping a sense of calm, keeping my cool. This is very helpful when you're returning out of retreat, and you can certainly practice it here if you want.

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