A Knock Upside the Head by Mindfulness


Mindfulness is moment by moment practice. Sometimes we forget to be mindful and something will knock us upside the head to remind us.

The other day was Walk to School Wednesday and it was raining. My son’s elementary school has a program to encourage kids and their parents to walk to school (don’t even get me started on why they need this program), so once A MONTH, they encourage you to walk to school. Those who participate get a pencil.

Rumor has it that the kids with the most walk-to-school pencils at the end of the year get a bigger prize. I’m not going to go into a litany of how I never got driven to school, or how my parents claim that they walked halfway around the island of Oahu barefoot, or how my grandparents had to wake up before dawn to swim the Molokai channel to get to school. Let me just say that we walk to school on most days. But today it was raining and we slept in, and my youngest son decided that sitting on the toilet was silly when you can just go to the bathroom wherever you wanted, and I had a blog to post. You get the picture.

Fox TP

I know I used this photo before, but I love it. I am also shielding you from the real picture of what happened that morning.

So I was thinking that we would just drive to the edge of school and say that we walked, so my son could still be in the running for the probably-non-existent big prize. Then it dawned on me: I was going to teach my son that it was ok to lie for a fricken pencil. At the tender age of 5, he would learn to be deceitful in order to manipulate the system to get what he wanted. Great parenting, Kozo.

Then I started to think about all these little lies we allow in order to get what we want. For example, for those of you whose kids force you to eat fast food…

Sure, blame it on the kids

I’m trying to make a point here.

Isn’t the point you are making about telling lies?

Shut up, before I go back to watching Big Bang Theory.

Anyhow, like I was saying, how many of us have gotten extra change or an extra order of french fries at the drive-thru? How many times have you driven back and corrected the mistake? On the other hand, how many of us have left the drive-thru and found that something we paid for was missing? How did you react?

Zen Fountain

“My actions are my only true belongings.” Thich Nhat Hahn

There is a lesson to be learned here. We often play games with ourselves and rationalize why it is ok for us to break the rules that we expect others to follow. In the bigger picture, all we are doing is cheating ourselves. I’m going to make it a point to always try to be honest. Or at least be mindful of when I am telling a white lie and know the reasons for doing so. I consider this my practice of putting one clean drop of water into my cup of murky liquid. Hopefully, after time, I will purify my life and cleanse those around me.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.

How do you purify your cup? Please share.


22 comments on “A Knock Upside the Head by Mindfulness

  1. eof737 says:

    You raise many good points and, as parents, we sometimes forget that they learn by example. We are all guilty of it… the phone calls where we are not there… tec, etc, silly little lies that add up to big ones.

    • Kozo says:

      Exactly, Elizabeth. It is that these lies add up to bigger problems down the road. I’m trying to make it a point to dig up the roots of these weeds of mindfulness. Thanks for your honest comment.

  2. rarasaur says:

    In that one particular example… if you bring back your extra fries, they just make you keep them, and then look at you like you’re crazy, haha! I enjoyed this post, being mindful of white lies is the compromise between brutal honesty and etiquette… and it’s a peaceful balance. This post was a great reminder! 🙂

  3. it would be good if the teacher could be more flexible….know that they walk to school any one day during the week and praise that (with or without pencil!)

  4. Chris Edgar says:

    This reminds me of how I’ve found it so important to meet weekly with a group of people (men in my case) with whom rigorous honesty is expected. The more honest I can be about my emotional life, I’ve found, the more honest I will be about factual issues. The ideas of lying or not keeping a commitment, after I’ve had the opportunity to be so honest about my experience with a group for a long period of time, don’t occur to me very much these days because of the gift of this group.

    • Kozo says:

      That sounds like a great practice, Chris. I’m trying to do the same thing, but on my own. Do you blog about your men’s group? I would love to hear more.
      Thanks for the insightful comment. Here’s to honesty in all forms.

  5. diannegray says:

    I tried very hard to keep my children honest by good example when they were children and it worked (a little too well sometimes!).They’re blatantly honest, but this has really helped them in life (particularly with getting great jobs) 😉

    • Kozo says:

      Great to know, Dianne. It reminds me of the story of Gandhi when he was asked by a mother to tell her children to stop eating sugar. He told them to come back in one week. One week later, they came back and he said, “Stop eating sugar.” When the mother asked why they had to wait a week, Gandhi said, “I had to stop eating sugar before I could tell them to stop.”
      “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
      Children are such great everyday gurus.
      Thanks for the comment, Dianne. {{{Hugs}}}

  6. seeker says:

    Honesty is doing the right thing when nobody is looking, but that somebody is you. Who else will catch you but yourself. That goes for me too. Yes, it’s a game, a lonely game. Practice to perfection, if there is such thing. Much to much to ponder upon. I thank you.

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you, Perpetua. I have to add that it is all “practice.” The game is already won. We are already godliness; we just have to re-member.
      P.S. I am now a seeker follower.

  7. Parenting is one of the hardest job to do, for the very simple reason it is about leading by example. Your post is a great reminder of how it’s also about the little white lies we tell day in and day out that teach our children to follow suit.
    I love your analogy of the drop of clean water in your murky bowl…Lots to ponder 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Yes, Anyes, parenting has been a great motivator for me to be a better person. I think, however, even if one does not have children that they need to set an example for the youth in our society. Not to be corny, but “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.”–Whitney Houston. (((Hugs)))to you and all children.

      • It is much harder to want to be a role model without children don’t you think?
        I wish we understood how much children imitate us in actions and words, then it might give us the incentive to be inspiring. Before you knew a brand new world would be rising in front of our very eyes

      • Kozo says:

        I agree, Anyes. And we have to be aware that a lot of our actions consist of what we produce like videos, films, books, music. Don’t get me wrong, I love R-rated movies as much as any red blooded American, but I think we need to focus more on what children need. They need more Pixar, more Mr. Rogers, more Elmo–Ooops. Scratch that. Maybe less Elmo. 🙂

  8. NIKOtheOrb says:

    Honesty can be one of the traits hardest to uphold, I find. Consider when is the time for honesty and when is the time for tactful omission (this is different from lying….yes it is. LOL). More important, to me, than telling the truth and never lying is what it means to be honest. Honesty itself does not necessarily mean never lie; it instead, implies a genuineness, a sincerity in what you do. So, when it is necessary to tell a small lie, it is not dishonest to omit certain information or to tell a small lie if the reason is to protect someone or something like that.

    It is the mark of a guru father who makes all attempts at imparting upon his children those faculties of mind/humanity that make the human race better as a whole. Thank you.

    • Kozo says:

      Great point about integrity and sincerity. I completely agree.
      Just today, my older son asked me if Santa was real. I answered that he is real if you believe he is real. I want him to believe in the power of his imagination. This might be an example of being sincere rather than factual.
      Thank you for your insight and kindness, Niko. {{{Hugs}}}

  9. […] just witnessed one of these reveals this morning. As some of you faithful readers know, we participate in Walk to School Wednesdays on the first Wednesday of every month. Since both of my sons now ride bikes, we trek the whole 20 […]

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