“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.
When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.
It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.”
― Mark Nepo,
‘If you have experienced hunger, you know that having food is a miracle. If you have suffered from the cold, you know the preciousness of warmth. When you have suffered, you know how to appreciate the elements of paradise that are present. If you dwell only in your suffering, you will miss paradise. Don’t ignore your suffering, but don’t forget to enjoy the wonders of life, for your sake and for the benefit of many beings.’
– Thich Nhat Hanh, in “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching”
In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is yourhaal?
What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.
I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.
Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.
Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch.
I teach at a university where many students pride themselves on the “study hard, party hard” lifestyle. This might be a reflection of many of our lifestyles and our busy-ness — that even our means of relaxation is itself a reflection of that same world of overstimulation. Our relaxation often takes the form of action-filled (yet mindless) films, or violent and fast-paced sports.
I don’t have any magical solutions. All I know is that we are losing the ability to live a truly human life.
We need a different relationship to work, to technology. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. It’s not just about “leaning in” or faster iPhones. We want to be truly human.
W. B. Yeats once wrote, “It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a solider to fight on a battlefield.”
How exactly are we supposed to examine the dark corners of our soul when we are so busy? How are we supposed to live the examined life?
I want us to have a kind of existence where we can pause, look each other in the eye […] and inquire together: Here is how my heart is doing. […]
How is the state of your heart today?
Let us insist on a type of human-to-human connection where when one of us responds by saying, “I am just so busy,” we can follow up by saying, “I know, love. We all are. But I want to know how your heart is doing.”
“Many people forget their own body. They live in an imaginary world. They have so many plans and fears, so many agitations and dreams, and they don’t live in their body. While we’re caught in fear and trying to plan our way out of fear, we aren’t able to see all the beauty that Mother Earth offers us. Mindfulness reminds you to go to your in-breath and to be totally with your in-breath, be totally with your out-breath. Bring your mind back to your body and be in the present moment. Look deeply straight in front of you at what is wonderful in the present moment. Mother Earth is so powerful, so generous, and so supportive. Your body is so wonderful. When you’ve practiced and you are solid like the earth, you face your difficulty directly, and it begins to dissipate …”~Thich Nhat Hanh
‘Let the love that dwells inside
be released in a new way.
Let it out and let it flow in each direction
of your innermost terrain.
Let it sweep and fill old pains
and empty cases—
let it spill into the storage pile
of agonizing places.
Like that moment when you
should have left, but stayed;
or the times you felt like forfeiting,
Let it run through the corridors
of your life story,
then up its stairs in search
for wistful memories.
Let it expose where all your precious grace
and healing treasures lay.
Let the love you keep inside
come out to be with you—
Susan Frybort is the author of two books: ‘Hope is a Traveler’ and ‘Open Passages’.
‘Healing begins with acceptance and culminates with letting go.
They taught us that we can’t change the past, but in a very intimate, profound, and beautiful way we can. When a great misery occurs it remains with us for as long as we hold on to it, attachments become attachments because of the energy we use to keep what happened or the image of what we want to happen locked away within our mind and body – this is the cause of tension in our being. When we hold on to these attachments they travel with us as a burden, from the past, to our present, and into our future. They can even travel forward in our lineage long after we are gone.
The miracle of healing ourselves is so powerful, because in the movement of accepting and letting go, we relinquish the energy of burden not only in our present, but in our past and future as well. Imagine the timeline of your life, now imagine the burdens that you carry as an extra line layered on top of your normal timeline. As we let go of our miseries, this extra layer becomes thinner and thinner. Yes, it may not change what happened, but the extra energy we carried because of these occurrences will no longer weigh down the timeline of our life. What happened, happened, but now these moments are no longer attachments of pain and sorrow, now they are lessons we learn from, lessons that bring us into a present of greater freedom, happiness, and wisdom.
Letting go is not an easy process, it requires a practice that produces results and a commitment to continue delving inward so we can release deeper and deeper attachments. We all heal differently, but know that there is something out there for you. Be bold, courageous, find a practice that suits you and meets you where you are at. Healing will come to those who seek it. Sending love to all beings. May we all reap the benefits of letting go. May we all be happy and peaceful.’
If you’re not familiar with his work and are interested in reading more, go to #yungpueblo.
“When a plate breaks, we call it an accident. When a heart breaks, we call it sad. If it is ours, we say tragic. When a dream breaks, we sometimes call it unfair. Yet ants drop dirt and manage more and birds drop food and peck again. But as humans, when we drop what we need, philosophies and complaints abound.
It’s not that we moan, but that we stop living to hear ourselves moan. Still, stars collide and histories begin. In our world, something is always letting go and something is always hitting the Earth. Often that which lets go survives by releasing, by not holding on until what needs to go is ripped from it. Often that which is hit survives by staying soft, by allowing what hits it to temporarily shape it the way stones shape mud.
As humans, we take turns letting go and being hit. Love softens this process, and peace slows it down, until in moments that are blessed, we seem to play catch with what we need.” ~Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
“The amount of love, kindness, patience I have for others is directly proportional to how much love I have for myself, because we cannot give others what we ourselves do not have. And, unsurprisingly, the amount of love, respect, support, and compassion I receive from others is also in direct proportion to how much I love myself.” -Anita Moorjani