‘One does not walk into the forest and accuse the tress of being off-center, nor do they visit the shore and call the waves imperfect. So why do we look at ourselves this way?’
– Tao Te Ching
“Don’t pay too much attention to the mind. It may be throbbing with identity but this is observed as a phenomenon arising inside the great awareness. Now it may say, ‘I cannot do this or that thing’ or ‘This is not for me’, but these are mere thoughts appearing in the great vastness. Know this vastness to be your own unchanging Self.” ~ Mooji
“Negative feelings are not true feelings at all; rather, they are your thoughts about something, based always on the previous experience of yourself and others. You will not find Truth in your past data, Forget your “past experience” and look directly at the experience you are having Right Here, Right Now. There is your Truth.”
~ Neale Donald Walsch
“Eliminate mental muddiness and obscurity; keep your mind crystal clear. Allow your pure original insight to emerge. Quiet your emotions and abide in serenity. Don’t go crazy with the worship of idols, images, and ideas; this is like putting a new head on top of the head you already have. Remember: if you can cease all restless activity, your integral nature will appear.”
~ Lao Tzu
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Start a New Life Every Morning ~ 17th Karmapa
‘We sometimes wake up fresh in the morning yet still go through the day half asleep. Our busy 21st century lives overwhelm us with a relentless stream of immediate tasks. We lose sight of how precious it is just to have a human life.
This is an awareness that we need to feel in our hearts. I would like to share with you a practice that I call ‘living your whole life in a single day.’ You can do this by starting with this thought in the morning: ‘I am starting a whole new life. It begins right now’. Initially, leave yourself a note at your bedside to remind you, and then slowly cultivate the habit of waking up with this thought.
Your body is fresh from the night’s rest; when you wake up with this awareness, so does your mind. Ask yourself what kind of person you want to be in the life that you will live today. Throughout the day, remind yourself that your life is happening right now. In the afternoon, check to see how your life is going and readjust as needed. A whole lifetime of possibilities stretches out before you every moment.
This is the basic truth of interdependence. Conditions are constantly shifting, and what seemed impossible earlier can suddenly become possible. Every moment counts. Every action counts. A single kind act can have a positive impact on the future of many others you share the earth with. You can change the course of the future in any moment. Do so consciously, and the whole world will benefit.’
“I know this transformation is painful, but you’re not falling apart; you’re just falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful.”
-William C. Hannan
“We are basically all one. We are one being, one consciousness, one whole. We are all connected to each other. We are all parts of the same whole. How we treat others are how we treat ourselves. If we treat others badly, we are really treating ourselves badly. If we hate others, we are really hating ourselves. If we love others, we are basically loving ourselves.” –
Swami Dhyan Giten
Compassion isn’t something you have, it’s something you do. It’s a practice that enables you to shift your perceptive to see and experience life in a very different way than most of us are accustomed to. If you are able to view life from a compassionate place within, then you detach from your ego and its need to always be right. The ego dissolves and you work from your heart instead. In doing this, you become more emotionally mature and you are free from yourself and your need to be validated. This in turn helps free you from suffering.
In my quest to develop a greater understanding of the concept of mindfulness, I stumbled upon Thich Nhat Hanh and his teachings. A Vietnamese monk and a distinguished Zen master, Hanh is the author of many great books including ‘Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life’ and ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’. He is also a poet and a peace activist. In 1967, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. He is revered for his powerful teachings on mindfulness and how it can be used as a tool to create personal inner peace and peace on earth.
But you don’t have to be a Buddhist to appreciate Hanh’s teachings. I use his quotes for daily inspiration. They serve as a reminder on how to cultivate a healthier mind, a more mindful life and a happier existence. While often quite profound, his ideas are in essence simple and accessible to anyone. ‘Perfecting’ his concepts however, will be the challenge of my lifetime.
Here is a compilation of some of my favourite Thich Nhat Hanh quotes. What are yours?
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”
“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”
“It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.”
“We have a lamp inside us. The oil of that lamp is our breathing, our steps, and our peaceful smile. Our practice is to light up the lamp.”
“To meditate with mindful breathing is to bring body and mind back to the present moment so that you do not miss your appointment with life.”
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
“When our heart is filled with loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, its capacity becomes boundless, immeasurable. With such a vast heart, immense as the wide-open sea, suffering cannot overpower us, just as a small handful of salt cannot make a great river salty.”
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”
“Do not fight against pain; do not fight against irritation or jealousy. Embrace them with great tenderness, as though you were embracing a little baby. Your anger is yourself, and you should not be violent toward it. The same thing goes for all your emotions.”
“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.”
“Anxiety, the illness of our time, comes primarily from our inability to dwell in the present moment.”
“There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses.”
“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”
“To love our enemy is impossible. The moment we understand our enemy, we feel compassion towards him/her, and he/she is no longer our enemy.”
“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”
“The secret to happiness is happiness itself. Wherever we are, any time, we have the capacity to enjoy the sunshine, the presence of each other, the wonder of our breathing. We don’t have to travel anywhere else to do so. We can be in touch with these things right now.”
“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh