3 monks on the living room floor

3 Monks from Plum Village, before a Mindfulness Workshop

Recently, 3 monks from Plum Village came to sleep on our living room floor. We were helping them organise mindfulness workshops in Madrid, and they said, ‘don’t worry, we sleep anywhere’. We learned a lot in the week they were here!

On their first day in Madrid, a saturday, with no workshops organised they wanted to check out the city. We left home after a very long, slow breakfast, and started to walk very, very slowly across town. My son said, “this looks like walking meditation”. It felt like it too.

We crossed Madrid’s big Retiro park, stopping on the way through at the citizen vegetable patch, where Brother Patience, an expert gardener, was asked his opinion on whether or not to snap the flower heads off onions, then proceeded very, very slowly towards the Prado museum.

Deciding to return there later when entry was free, we walked very very slowly through the old city centre (stopping to check out a church for a while on the way) towards a favourite vegetarian restaurant where we had a very long, very slow lunch.

Then we went to the big Reina Sofia modern art gallery for a couple of hours, followed by another few hours in the Prado museum, and finally the slow walk home.

That’s three times more than I ever achieve on an average saturday, yet we left home late in the morning and did everything at a snail’s pace!

I usually run round like a crazy person all day, never stopping, and achieve about one thing. So big lesson number one, just what the hare and the tortoise fable tried to show us when we were young: there’s no hurry!

Though it often returns… half way around the Prado Museum part of the day, overdosing on art, I nipped out of the museum for a tea in a nearby cafe. “Quick! I’ve got about 25 minutes,” I thought, and starting rushing down a side street – then suddenly I caught myself… “Hello habit energy!” … and slowed right down to monk-pace again. “There’s no hurry, there’s no hurry,” I whispered to myself, and wandered slowly, smiling, towards the cafe.

19 thoughts on “3 monks on the living room floor”

  1. Sometimes when one is living life “in a big hurry,” the Universe finds ways to slow us down. This happened to me by way of having my aorta punctured and having a 10% chance of living. Needless to say, I am still alive, but my whole life has changed. And I usually know it’s for the best, but not always!

  2. I’m glad to hear you survived Sandi – I think you are right, when we refuse to slow down when we need to, other forces step in to make sure we do.

  3. Thanks. You are an inspiration. Unrelated question. In Genesis Cain, goes East and goes to a city whose sounds like chanoch. Could this be the ancient Hanoi?

  4. The monk story reaffirms my favorite saying — “There is no blessing in hurrying;” but I need frequent reminders. Thank you.

  5. I have hurried and worried my way through life only to find myself drawn to Buddhist studies ,what beautiful words there is no hurry, …

  6. Thank you Patricia and Mary too for your latest comments. I find myself still having to repeat this every day, almost every time I go anywhere – There is no hurry!

  7. Monk on climbing wall; not clinging and letting go – climbing without climbing… Wonderful.

  8. WOW!!!! That is awesome. It sure does make you think. I feel that I have slowed down a bit as I get older but still find myself stressed out and in a hurry. When I am home, I am relatively calm. This story is so inspiring. Stress causes cancer and this fast paced society we live in is definitely taking it’s toll on my body and soul. So much so, that I am moving to the beach. People ask what I will do all by myself there, not knowing anyone and I reply that I will probably fish, crab and stare at the water for the first 6 months. Everyone that replied to this needs to know that I enjoyed them all. It is nice to find something inspirational and to be able to enjoy the replies instead of some mean person disparaging the others. Thanks All!!!! I needed this. Peace!!!

  9. Thanks to you too Michael, I’m so glad to hear about your move to the beach – sounds like a GREAT idea to me!

  10. I live in Los Angeles and am amazed at the unspoken Mantra here
    I perceive it to be “hurry up and relax”… So nice to read this … Like most this is refreshing to being reminded to operate within your own time frame…deliberate and open… thank you

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