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Lions Roar : January 2014
sound, such as a kettle whistling or a baby crying, but it doesn’t have to be. On this retreat, Lynd has been using doorways. Every time she passes through one, she pauses, breathes in and out, and allows the doorway to remind her to say hello to herself and the world around her. At home, Lynd rings a bell before meals. When she introduced this practice to her children, she described the intent as listening until you could no longer hear the last little bit of vibration. “There was instant focus,” she remembers. “It was a kind of game. It was playful.” Thich Nhat Hanh recommends that every family have a bell. It’s also helpful, he says, if there’s a mini-meditation hall in the house. It can be a whole room or just a corner—all you need is space for a few cushions and maybe a flower. Every morn- ing and evening the family can gather in the instrument feels cool in my hand. Breathing in, breathing out, the whole family recites together: Body, speech, and mind in perfect one- ness, I send my heart along with the sound of this bell. May the hearer awaken from forgetfulness and transcend the path of anxiety and sorrow. The first time I try to bring the inviter to the bell’s lip, I bring it down too gin- gerly and miss. I try again and the bell wakes. Each time I invite the bell, my dharma family says with me: I listen, I listen. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home. I listen, I listen. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home. In his speech “Let Freedom Ring,” com- memorating the fiftieth anniversary of the the mini-meditation hall and invite the bell. They can also invite it whenever the atmosphere in the house is not peaceful. “Whether you are a child or an adult, you have the right to invite the bell,” says Thay. “When you want to cry, when you’re irri- tated, you can go to that small room in your house, invite the bell, and breathe. Maybe Mommy is in the kitchen cutting carrots. When she hears the sound of the bell, she knows that her child is practicing, so she stops cutting carrots and enjoys breathing in and out. And maybe Father is at his desk. He also hears the sound and stops to practice. That is the most beautiful landscape you can see. I think every home in the twenty- first century should have a bell and a mini- meditation hall. That is civilization.” My dharma family’s bell is sitting on a red and green cushion shot through with gold thread. When it’s my turn to invite, PHOTOBYSTEFANBAUMAN 56 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2014