Archive for the ‘Thich Nhat Hanh’ Category



I’ve been off scouring the Internet for the creme de la creme of helpful tools for mindful living, and found this little gem from Eckhart Tolle:

“Suffering needs time, it cannot survive in the now.”

Wow! Talk about ending suffering in one sentence or less!

Ah, yet I know it can still remain just a concept without self awareness. And sometimes habit mind is already off and running before awareness kicks in, what to do then?

So I also found this exercise which is a perfect grounding tool to help bring us back around to fully inhabiting the present moment:

“Take your thumb and connect it with your pinky, take 5 deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth.  Do the same with your ring finger, then your middle finger, then your index finger.  Then finally, bring all 5 fingers together and take 5 deep breaths.” (excerpted from thespirtscience.net)

I have used this exercise several times a day since I first came across it, and have also found it a successful tool to use during night time wakefulness, especially when it’s accompanied with being anywhere but in the now. Great tool over all to use day or night!

And finally one more mindfulness quote. This one is from Thich Nhat Hanh who is a beautiful resource for walking meditation. I am especially appreciating him right now as he was seriously ill earlier this fall, but seems to have recovered.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

Try that, even if just for a few moments – habit mind takes a holiday, while your feet are kissing (and connecting with) the earth and the result is pure bliss!

May we all experience less suffering and greater freedom and peace!


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Happy New Year everyone!

The reflection below is from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book: The Long Road Turns to Joy.  It’s another one of his little gems that is small enough to fit in a pocket or purse.  And truly it is a gem, even the title is a treasure in and of itself.

This passage is a 23-word poem that he offers to use in concert with mindful walking meditation.  It’s easy to memorize and worth repeating whenever the conditioned voice of habit mind enters the house.  Thich Nhat Hanh is such a beautiful, gentle spirit, it radiates through all of his writings, as well as, his talks.

I have arrived
I am home
in the here,
in the now.
I am solid.
I am free.
In the ultimate
I dwell.


There’s a wonderful idea hitting the web circuits: the concept of starting a blessing/gratitude/appreciation jar, and writing one thing a day you feel moved to.  One could wait until the end of the year, spill it all out and be swept up in the joy of those moments again, or pull some out anytime you need a little boost.  I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, but this idea I love.  Expanding on the bounty of gifts we are offered daily is its own reward, yet also the energy and vibration of flowing love begets that much more of it streaming into our lives.  May we all know we are blessed each and every day.

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Such a good one, it bears repeating … one of the few posts I actually printed out to keep as a reminder for myself …

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Days after writing the Champions post, where I said “never lose your muchness”, I awoke to a day when I declared softly: I have lost my muchness.  I forgot my own rule of thumb, never say never.  Never and its cousin, always, rules out another little thing called human-ness.

There I was, feeling alone in the suchness of losing my muchness.  As Emmanuel, once said: “if darkness were my natural home, I would be comfortable there.”  I wasn’t comfortable there and because I am a friend to me, I knew I had to take myself by the hand and find my way back to my light, my muchness.

Some of you may remember Abraham’s reference to having our pencil in the fan.  These days they call it “out of the vortex”.  I still like the pencil in the fan concept.  It’s such a perfect analogy of how I can impede my muchness.  So I developed a plan to turn back toward my muchness.  I call it my Emergency Pencil-in-the-Fan kit:

1.   move about mindfully
2.   whatever negative inner talk is going on, stop and ask what would a friend say to you right now, listen to what that friend has to say
3.   walk with your gaze outward and upward
4.   take 4 deep conscious breaths, up from the toes and exhale back down into the toes, feel yourself grounded to the earth
5.   tell yourself nothing is more important than being in your own corner, a solid friend to you
6.   eat something that had it’s roots in the earth, eat it slowly and mindfully
7.   surround yourself with the structure and support of doing what’s before you to do and doing it mindfully
8.   close your eyes, take one more deep breath, and as you exhale, feel your shoulders drop, drop into the body sense of “I am a friend to me”
9.   remember that whatever you are believing is based on untrue reasoning.  You may not know that now but you will as soon as your pencil is out of the fan.
10. move about mindfully

I made nos. 1 and 10 the same because if I did nothing else on that list, that alone would suffice.  It will ground you in the present moment.  This is what Eckhart Tolle says about the present moment:

“Once you have reached a certain level of consciousness, you are able to decide what kind of relationship you want with the present moment. Do I want the present moment to be my friend or my enemy? The present moment is inseparable from life, so you are really deciding what kind of a relationship you want to have with life. Once you have decided you want the present moment to be your friend… Life becomes friendly toward you… One decision changes your entire reality. But that one decision you have to make again and again and again – until it becomes natural to live in such a way.”

A word about mindfulness movement, several words actually!  It means dropping into the body, aware of every movement you make.  While walking feel each part of your foot strike the surface, note texture of the surface you are walking on, the air moving across your body.  Reach to open a cabinet, note the arm extending outwards, fingers touch surface, texture and temperature of surface.  Hand encircles a cup or a plate, feel each tiny movement.  Note the sounds, the textures, the temperature, smells, tastes, movement of the body.  Practice it before you find your pencil in the fan and you will easily be able to fall back into it when you are feeling wonky.  For more information on mindfulness, I recommend reading The Long Road Turns to Joy by Thich Nhat Hanh.

This is what Thich Nhat Hanh says about the importance of mindfulness:

“… consciousness is said to be a field, a plot of land in which every kind of seed has been planted, seeds of suffering, happiness, joy, sorrow, fear, anger, and hope.  The quality of our life depends on which of these seeds we water.  The practice of mindfulness is to recognize each seed as it sprouts, and to water the most wholesome seeds whenever possible.”

Thich Nhat Hanh also recommends repeating a Zen Buddhist poem while walking mindfully:

“I have arrived.
I am home
in the here,
in the now.
I am solid.
I am free.
In the ultimate
I dwell.”

May we all arrive home, solid and free.

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“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.  But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

Sometimes I forget I live miracles every day but I’m never all that far from remembering.  Fingers typing, wind a’blowing outside my window, leaves a’falling.  Then stillness, followed by the sounds of a backyard swollen stream.  Eyes to see it with, ears to hear it, fingers to touch.

In one conscious breath I can propel myself to any place I want.  Today I am the spirit of a babe, without judgment or perspective even.  It’s all new and shiny.  It’s all a miracle.  I am a miracle living inside of miracles.

Now — I’ll return to the daily tasks of cleaning up cat throw up (it’s all over the house!), doing laundry, paying bills, washing dishes.  I get to do that.  I get to live inside a miracle where there are cats and warm water to clean our dishes, our clothes.  I get to enter and be a part of this beautiful dance, the exchange of resources.

I won’t expect miracles today.  No … today I will live them.

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Like A Leaf

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I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was
autumn and the other leaves were falling.  The leaf told me,
“No.  During the whole spring and summer I was completely
alive.  I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much
of me is in the tree.  I am not limited by this form.  I am also
the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue
to nourish the tree.  So I don’t worry at all.  As I leave this
branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell
her, ‘I will see you again very soon.'”

That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw
the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing
joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the
tree.  It was so happy.  I bowed my head, knowing that I have
a lot to learn from the leaf.

Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

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This video is stunning, exquisite and mesmerizing.  So many of my very favorites quoted here with an ethereal musical accompaniment.  This is a glimpse of heaven as it is on earth.  Watch and feel yourself coming Home to yourself, that inner place of pure grounded clarity and radiance.  It’s ten minutes short :).  If you can’t take the time to watch it today, consider bookmarking it and come back to it again — or bookmark it anyway, and save it for a “rainy” day.

Many thanks to Miriam Evers for posting it on FB.  Infinite gratitude to “kwisital” for the creation of this video.  I could possibly spend all day watching all of your videos.

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“This being human is a guest house.  Every morning a new arrival.  A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…” excerpt from the Guest House by Rumi

Such a beautiful expression Rumi makes here.  What if we treated everything that we experienced as a welcome guest?  What if we did this even and especially with the contrast, the challenges we experience and the so called “negative” emotion that often comes with it?  What if we treated it all like a guest, a visitor and a welcome one at that?  Why a welcome one?  Because everything at its core has something to offer us and when left unresisted, a new expansion lies within easy reach on the horizon.

Thich Nhat Hanh also said: “Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind.  I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.”

Thich Nhat Hanh and Rumi are centuries and countries apart and yet each with a similar viewpoint, one calls it all sacred, the other a welcome guest. Imagine if you were feeling irritation, if you regarded it as sacred.  Just take a breath into it or whatever it is you are feeling, no pushing it away, it’s sacred now.  You’re alive, this alive-ness, this human-ness is so sacred.  You get to experience it all, anything and everything.  Now, know that none of it is wrong.  You may bring compassion, wisdom and understanding to all that you experience at any time.  And the moment that you do, is the instant that you know none of this life of yours is wrong.  All of it is sacred.  All of it is holy.  Can you feel that – how soft, how easy, how self-honoring that is?  I sure do.  Now, imagine bringing this awareness to all your sacred guests.   Welcome them, as Rumi said: “be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

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Here again, out of Thich Nhat Hanh’s little book:
Be Free Where You Are, we have his thoughts
on habit energy.  I’ve been using his suggestions
below along with mindful breathing to move beyond
old habits and patterns of thought.  It is very simple
to do, you can do it anywhere.  Just smile at your habit
energy, thank it and then stay with the mindful breathing,
focusing at the point just one inch below the navel — until
you have gone past the point where you feel compelled to
be in the habit energy.  I set this little book aside from all
my other books and put it on my dresser.  It is one of the
smallest, simplest little guides to accessing your inner freedom.

Love, Bethie

Smile at Your Habit Energy

There is a strong energy in every one of us called habit energy. 
Vasana is the sanskrit word for habit energy.  Every one of us
has habit energies that push us to say and do things we don’t
want to say or do.  These habit energies damage us and our
relationships to other people.  Intellectually we know that saying
or doing a certain thing will cause a lot of suffering, and yet we
still say or do it.  And once you say or do something, the damage
is done.  Then you regret it.  You beat your chest and pull your hair. 
You say, “I am not going to say or do that thing again.”  But though
you say this with sincerity, the next time the situation presents itself,
you say and do the same thing.  This is the power of habit energy
that your parents and ancestors may have transmitted to you.

Mindful breathing can help you recognize habit energy when it
emerges.  You don’t have to fight that energy; you only have to
recognize it as yours and smile at it.  That is enough.  “Hello
there my habit energy.  I know you’re there, but you cannot do
anything to me.”  You smile at it, and then you are free.  This
is a wonderful protection.  It is why I said mindfulness is the energy
of God, the energy of the Buddha protecting us.

~Thich Nhat Hanh: Be Free Where You Are

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The following excerpt comes from ‘Be Free Where You Are’.
It’s a tiny little pocket size book, you could carry with you
anywhere.  Thich Nhat Hanh spoke at a Maryland Correctional
Institute in 1999 on freedom, which really speaks to everyone
and this is a passage from it:

When a storm comes, it stays for some time, and then it goes.
An emotion is like that too — it comes and stays for awhile,
and then it goes.  An emotion is only an emotion.  We are
much, much more than an emotion.  We don’t die because
of one emotion.  So when you notice that an emotion is
beginning to come up, it is very important that you put
yourself in a stable sitting position.  Then focus your attention
on your belly.  Your head is like the top of a tree in a storm.
I would not stay there.  Bring your attention down in the trunk
of the tree, where there is stability.

When you have focused on your belly, bring your attention
down to the level just below the navel and begin to practice
mindful breathing.  Breathing in and breathing out deeply,
be aware of the rise and fall of the abdomen.  After practicing
like this for ten, fifteen or twenty minutes, you will see that
you are strong — strong enough to withstand the storm.  In
this sitting or lying position just stick to your breathing the
way that someone would stick to a life vest.  After some time
the emotion will pass.

This is a very effective practice but please remember one
thing: Don’t wait until you have a strong emotion to practice.
If you do, you will not remember how to practice.  You have
to practice now, today, while you are feeling fine, when you are
not dealing with any strong emotions.  This is the time to begin
learning the practice.  You can practice for ten minutes every
day.  If you do this for three weeks — 21 days — it will become
a habit.  Then when anger rises up or you are overcome by
despair, you will naturally remember the practice.  Once you
succeed, you will have faith in the practice and you will be
able to tell your emotion: “Well, if you come again, I will do
exactly the same thing.”  You will not be afraid because you
know what to do.

~Thich Nhat Hanh: Be Free Where You Are

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Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation,
should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on
an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves.
The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens
I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind.
I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have
were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing
should be treated more carefully than anything else. In
mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant,
and teapot are all sacred.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

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