Rina Deshpande – Reflections From Plum Village, A Journey Into Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

Rina has been following Thich Nhat Hanh’s work for quite a while. Shortly prior to the recording of this podcast Rina traveled to Plum Village for a mindfulness and meditation experience lasting a couple weeks. See the link below. The experience was a combination of seated meditation, walking mindfully, eating mindfully, and work meditation.

Early in Rina’s experience, she was challenged with walking mindfully. She was asked to walk through the French countryside and focus on the mechanics of her walking, focusing on how her foot touched the ground, feeling the heel, the side of her foot, and the bend of her toes. As a New Yorker, Rina described wanting to get where she was going, but as she worked through this experience, she began to both see the benefits of it and enjoy experiencing the sensations of it.

She was forced to confront her desires in the moment, the rush to squeeze every bit from the experience. She described this feeling as a stressor through her time working on a Master’s Degree at Harvard University. Having the opportunity to shift from the pressure of having experience gave-way to allow the opportunity to follow what feels good, to remain in the moment.

Rina described the experience of being mindful. She described the importance of being patient in the moment, to provide a level of love and self compassion. She described the experience as, “It’s that wanting is natural and normal, for me it can be externally driven to meet someone else’s standards” A way it can be managed is with mindfulness which is to pause, breathe, reflect and offer yourself kindness to just slow down, and to take more grounded steps instead of sprinting.”

In our conversation we described a connection of Mindfulness to Self-Determination Theory. Connecting external motivators that manifest themselves as guilt, desire, and pressure that are described in Self-Determination Theory as introjected motivations. Rina furthered the conversation by explaining the connection of mindfulness to overcoming these difficult and often inconvenient motivations.

Rina’s experience of stress in her decision-making has created pressure for herself, both at the meditation retreat and in her daily life. She attributes her mindfulness work to overcoming these challenges.

“I really can’t say enough about giving yourself that moment (to be mindful) at the beginning of the day it could be 5 minutes it could be two but that’s a symbol that I give to myself so I can give to others.”

The tables are turned as Rina asks me to describe why I stayed in Tae Kwon Do for two decades. She continued this description of how there are barriers to engaging in the practice, and that as you continue with it, you realize the importance of it, they joy of it.

“It’s my peaceful loving kindness wish for others to be happy in the work that they do.”

Listen in to hear what it means for Rina to be happy in her work. She describes it as Flow, founded by Dr. Csikszentmihalyi. Calling it happy isn’t enough, it can be so much more than that. “It is the feeling of knowing why I am alive.” “The label of happiness doesn’t do it justice.”

Rina takes us through a few mindfulness techniques for beginners.

Engaging in mindfulness practice doesn’t change at it’s root if the scene or context changes. Giving myself the room and the forgiveness to do the practice as I am able to do… it doesn’t mean I can’t do it as I am walking to the Subway.

“Giving from a whole vessel, giving from a place of abundance. Rather than giving from a place of sacrifice. I’m able to sustain it longer, be more creative, and to fulfill me.”

Buddhist Meditation Retreat in Southern France: http://plumvillage.org/

You can find Rina at https://rinadeshpande.com/

Music is courtesy of www.freemusicarchive.org.

Sound Effects are courtesy of freesound.org. https://www.freesound.org/people/caquet/sounds/221165/ https://www.freesound.org/people/Tritus/sounds/197288/ https://www.freesound.org/people/caquet/sounds/221165/

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