Monday, December 31, 2018

The Gift of Presence

Twin Island Sunrise, Lanikai, HI, February 2016,  Nikon D600 with FX 28-300mm VR lens, 
40mm, 1/2000 sec @ f4, ISO 800, -1 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp 

Happy New Year's Eve!   Let's bid an Auld Lang Syne to 2018, and get a jump start on 2019!

And look, here is a gift for you.  Who doesn't enjoy a beautiful sunrise, with colors bursting forth in a few short minutes, bringing warmth to your face.

But the real gift is Presence.  So please unwrap your presence to this very moment.  Remember that each day is a new beginning, and be grateful for each breath you take, and the fact that you are alive.  It's so amazing when we are truly aware.

Please enjoy this poem.  Namaste!

“If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh (born 1926)
Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Teacher, Author, Peace Activist

Sunday, May 06, 2018

What is this? Quite simply ...

Calligraphy by Vietnamese Buddhist monk and author, Thich Nhat Hanh

I came across an article from the online version of Lion's Roar magazine.  I really love the simple, yet deeply profound writing of Thich Nhat Hanh.  He has been such a luminary for our time.  Here are some sections that spoke to me:

Our true home is not in the past. Our true home is not in the future. Our true home is in the here and the now. Life is available only in the here and the now, and it is our true home.
Mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives. You don’t have to wait ten years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life. There are those of us who are alive but don’t know it. But when you breathe in, and you are aware of your in-breath, you touch the miracle of being alive. That is why mindfulness is a source of happiness and joy.
We spend so much of our mental energy and thinking mind focused on the past and the future.  And yet we can, if we choose to, drop the thinking mind to be fully alive and experience the world, as it is, right here, right now.  And only in the here and now.

Most people are forgetful; they are not really there a lot of the time. Their mind is caught in their worries, their fears, their anger, and their regrets, and they are not mindful of being there. That state of being is called forgetfulness—you are there but you are not there. You are caught in the past or in the future. You are not there in the present moment, living your life deeply. That is forgetfulness.
The opposite of forgetfulness is mindfulness. Mindfulness is when you are truly there, mind and body together. You breathe in and out mindfully, you bring your mind back to your body, and you are there. When your mind is there with your body, you are established in the present moment. Then you can recognize the many conditions of happiness that are in you and around you, and happiness just comes naturally.
 This is really so.  I find it is often easiest to experience this way of living when we are connected to the natural world, experiencing the animals, realizing the dance of life all around us, and seeing everything as interconnected (literally).  It is Spring now as I am writing this, and to witness the rebirth of plants and trees and animals that had been dormant or hibernating -- is really awe-inspiring -- something you "feel" rather than "think about".  Hence the connection with your body; itself an integral part of nature's unfolding.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.
-Thich Nhat Hanh