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


Freedom_Unbound said...
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Freedom_Unbound said...

Steve, my dear man, how are you? I miss you. Glad I looked into your blog and found a new entry. Now, I am not writing this to argue with you, please do not take it as such. Far be it from me to claim I have some knowledge that you have missed. No, I would never do that. But, instead, please take these comments below in the spirit of the wonderful give-and-take conversations that we used to have so long ago, during your visits to Tokyo.

Just two things I want to share today, for your consideration.

1. The quote from Hume, at the top of the blog (from his writings he seems to be such a wonderful thoughtful man doesn't he?), about Beauty not being a quality in things themselves but instead existing merely in the mind which contemplates them.... Well, I am not so sure about that David Hume! This Beauty that appears to me in so many forms...I did not make it alone, and it did not come out of my mind only, it is not only a quality of my mind. Just as I did not make my own life, I did not make all this Beauty in my life. There is something else involved here, something else that is making my life, something else that is making the Beauty that I perceive. What is this "something"? It some kind of cooperation between the being that I am, and the universe, and it is not it seems to me, a quality solely of my own mind. Consider this please and let me know if you feel any inkling of truth in it. Take your took me years to arrive at this knowledge myself, but you might get there faster than me!

2. The quote from this blog post, "Most people are forgetful; they are not really there a lot of the time." This is such an essential problem of human life, it seems to me. It is simply that we are not able, much of the time, to remember what we know. Why is it like this? How do we live to better remind ourselves what we know? A friend of mine from many years ago, a keyboardist and a monk for many years too, one night over beers said to me, in response to my question as to what he was thinking about at that moment, "Oh, I was just trying to remind myself what I know, these things seem to slip away so easily." So, true I think for so many people. Why are we burdened like this with this problem of constantly forgetting what we know?

Take care buddy.