More from Thich Nhat Hanh: we need to consciously practice joy in these Covid-19 times
We may think of joy as something that happens spontaneously. Few people realize that it needs to be cultivated and practiced in order to grow. Mindfulness is the continuous practice of deeply touching every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly present with your body and your mind, to bring harmony to your intentions and actions, and to be in harmony with those around you. We don’t need to make a separate time for this outside of our daily activities.
Thich Nhat Hanh
As Sylvia Boorstein frequently reminds us, the moment in which the mind acknowledges ‘This isn’t what I wanted, but it’s what I got’ is the point at which suffering disappears. We are here now, the future is always uncertain. Our practice is to stay grounded and be open to what arises in awareness
The practice of mindfulness is very simple.
You stop, you breathe, and you still your mind.
You come home to yourself so that you can enjoy the here and now in every moment
Thich Nhat Hahn, Silence
Move through life living from one moment to the other, wholly absorbed in the present, carrying with you so little from the past that your spirit could pass through the eye of a needle; as little distracted by the worries of the future as the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. You will be attached to no person or thing, for you will have developed a taste for the symphony of life. And you will love life alone with the passionate attachment of your whole heart and your whole soul and your whole mind and all your strength. You will find yourself traveling unencumbered and free as a bird in the sky, always living in the Eternal Now. And you will have found in your heart the answer to the question, “Master, what is it that I must do to get Eternal life?”
Anthony de Mello s.j., The Way to Love
There is a lot in our current reality that we do not like, or we would prefer to be different:
One point that Ajahn Sumedho would stress regularly, is that loving things is not the same as liking them. Having kindness for ourselves or for other beings is not the same as liking everything. We often come a cropper by trying to make ourselves like everything. This is a completely wrong approach. We’re not trying to like everything, rather we’re recognising that everything belongs. Everything is part of nature: the bitter as well as the sweet, the beautiful as well as the ugly, the cruel as well as the kindly. The heart that recognises that fundamentally everything belongs is what I would describe as being the heart of kindness, the essence of kindness. If we get that really clear within us, and begin to train ourselves to recognise it, we realise that we can cultivate this quality of radical acceptance.
Ajahn Amaro, Radical Acceptance
Like many countries, Ireland yesterday went into a more complete lockdown, greatly restricting physical movement. This allows the space for a heightened interior focus. And at the same time there are signs all round of movement towards deeper compassion and more conscious living.
I can’t give you any advice but this:
to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows.
When Joseph Campbell described the journey of transformation, he wrote of coming through the dark cave into a new springtime of life. The important dimension he included is that when people come out of pain into newness of life, they always bring an ‘elixir’ or a gift with them. This gift is meant not just for themselves, but for the transformation of the world. Gifts are meant to be given. Gifts are offered freely. The healthier I am psychologically and spiritually, the freer I will be in offering my gifts to others