November 3, 2011
|"We like to talk and give advice, but we must give some of that up to listen, to allow space for the other person to speak."|
KANSAS CITY, Mo - - It seemed fitting that a world-renowned expert and teacher of mindful meditation began a 1 ½-hour session with Avila University faculty, students and staff with 2-3 minutes of quiet, peaceful meditation. It was Br. Chan Huy's way of getting himself and his audience totally in the moment and ready to accept his – and the group's – musings on mindful health.
As everyone in the group of a dozen or so sat quietly, eyes closed, Huy, a smallish and soft-spoken man from Vietnam, periodically rang a small bell he clasped in his hands, keeping the circle of people in the moment.
"I try to make any time a time of practice (in mindfulness)," said Huy, who was ordained as a Dharma teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh, a famous Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist.
Br. Huy's message to the group largely centered on listening, both to the one speaking to you and, perhaps even more important, to yourself.
"You want to really hear what a patient is telling us, what is behind the words being said," he said. "The message behind it is more important than the words being said.
"When listening to the other person, we're also listening to ourselves and our hearts."
Only by doing that, Huy said, can we then turn around and express feelings to others.
"Sometimes, we need to express deep feelings and first have to experience and feel it inside before we can express it," he said.
Huy spoke to the group about what he termed, "rules of engagement."
"For me, the practice of listening is a very important practice," he said. "We like to talk and give advice, but we must give some of that up to listen, to allow space for the other person to speak.
"We listen for one reason – to let the other person free of their suffering."
In giving yourself up to listening fully, and opening your heart, Huy said every moment in life can become a moment to practice mindfulness.
"I've been asked, Why are you doing all of this?" he said. "I'm doing this out of love, for ourselves and our surroundings.
"After all, it's impossible for us to be well if our country is not well and our world is not well.
"It's all about connection, being in touch with all the senses."
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.