Relational Mindfulness: A Handbook for Deepening Our Connections with Ourselves, Each Other, and the Planet by Deborah Eden Tull
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If I could summarize the essence of this book it would be to stop and smell the roses, really smell the roses.
Deborah Eden Tull spent several years mastering the practice of mindfulness while living as a monk in a Zen monastery. Abandoning all her worldly belongings and living as part of a self-sustaining community built around simplicity, sustainability, and harmony with oneself and ones surroundings, Tull routinely practiced meditation and mindfulness.
After leaving the monastery, she embarked on a journey as a teacher, speaker, writer and activist to share what she refers to as relational mindfulness.
In a nutshell, relational mindfulness is the practice of abandoning the separatist state of "I" for the inclusive state of "We." It requires us to move beyond our innate conditioning and allow ourselves to experience the moment with curiosity and kindness. As we allow ourselves to feel connected to others and the world around us, we can make decisions that not only honor ourselves but also honor the world we live in.
So much of how we respond to life is reactionary, automatic, conditioned knee-jerk responses that often lead us to assumptions that are inaccurate, unfair, and overly judgmental. Rather than judging, Tull encourages us to simply consider what is with openness and curiosity. Mindfulness is simply the act of being present in the moment, fully and with compassion. It's about breaking free of expectations, learned responses, and critical judgements of ourselves and others. It's about making choices that honor our connectedness to each other, the world we share, and all the creatures we share it with.
The book itself is well-written and logically organized, and offers the reader insight that while not earthshattering is certainly something worth contemplating, especially in today's fast paced, social media driven, technological society, where our interaction with nature and each other has changed dramatically in a very short period of time, and that often leaves of feeling disconnected from ourselves, each other and the earth that sustains us.