Over 5 years ago we spoke about the now 90 year old Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist Peacekeeper who’s dedicated his life to spreading peace, joy and love for mother earth. While the link above talks more about his teachings on mindfulness and contains a delightful guided meditation by Hanh, the focus of this post would be to apply Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings in your daily life.
Truth be told, there isn’t much that is needed to light up the path, for example just two words like “I Am” the Nisargga Datta Maharaj’s philosophy is enough to change your life when you persevere and apply it. Similarly i’m going to focus on a few of Hanh’s words and hopefully give you means to apply them in your life.
1. “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
A friend of mine was in a toxic relationship, she was in love with a guy who would cheat on her and she would blame all the women for creating the problems. Months went by she tried to buy his love by offering unconditional support, monetary and more.
She just couldn’t let go of the relationship, she said who would love me, who would accept me after staying with him for all these years. She willingly chose to put up with his bullshit because of her fears of what life would be, perhaps it was her insecurity or the lack of self esteem, I would never know. In the end the guy dumped her for another woman and she was thrown into the storm.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ~ Haruki Murakami
Boy did she come out of the storm, not only did she manage to get him out of her system but she also managed to find her worth and build her own life, she’s now an air hostess 🙂
2. “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.”
I hope that song got you inspired, life without hope is like a voyage without a compass, hope is what helps you overcome your the most arduous situations. Hope is what helps you dream a better life, hope is what pushes us on to overcome the obstacles of today.
Through the toughest of times, you’re allowed to break but never stay broken, use hope as a tool to come back together better again.
“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” ~ Bernard Williams
Stay focused on the solutions, not the problems crawl towards the light if you have to, but move, tiny steps makes the journey longer but allows you to walk with heavier burdens. Hope is the fire in you lighting up your way and keeping the daemons at bay.
3. “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
Did you wear your smile today? For those of you who are like me, I like to wake up and even before I brush my teeth put on my smile. I wasn’t always like this but now my smile is a source of joy and it just comes naturally. Its hard to find me without a smile and there really isn’t a reason why.
I tried this experiment once, I’m not sure if you have traveled via the local trains in Bombay, India. For you to gain perspective of what i’m talking about, its a can of sardines that overflowing with sardines and you can’t even close it. This obviously leads to a certain amount of frustration, the joy of someone else’s sweat falling on you or the smelly underarms that are just besides your face as the person tries to hold on as the train moves.
Now what would it feel like if someone from a train smiles all the people at the train station? I was at the door smiling at each one, most people had blank reactions, some ignored and then a smile back, which made my smile even brighter and vice versa.
There was hope, there was joy, what you send out may not always come back but when it does not only have you brought light to a little dark corner of the world but you also managed to replenish your own energy and trust me when it comes back its in multiples. The one random smile felt so joyous, it gave meaning, purpose and feelings that words can’t really convey.
So not only can your smile cheer another person and perhaps find its way to you but its also a way to train yourself to be happier, seriously there are a million reasons why I smile, being alive is perhaps the best one on the list though 🙂
4. “For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”
During the peak of our psychedelic experiences my closest friend starting sticking to perspectives that he gained from his trip. The sad part is that he completely believed his hallucinations and even off the trip held those same perspectives. He started getting into loops and in the end had to wind up in a rehabilitation fascility.
This is an extreme case scenario, but while he was dealing with his psychosis I was coming to terms with mine. When I had a fixed negative perspective about someone, I realized that no matter what they did or what they said the good would just fly by me. While the little wrong they did stuck out like a sore thumb.
When people were talking to me I would judge them continuously and this was biased due to my perspective about them. It’s not when I started consciously working on myself with the help of Ayahuasca that I managed to get freedom from overthinking.
How many of us actually have perspectives that we’re so used to that we not only don’t question them, but fail to even acknowledge their existence. To actually change your life we all need to clean up our doors of perception once in a while to see things with a fresher perspective and find the beauty in everything.
5. “Compassion is a verb.”
Your kind words, do not fill a hungry stomach nor do they hold the door open for the old woman carrying her shopping bags. We’ve all heard that actions speak louder than words, but we’re obsessed with words. We keep reading, self help, self awakening content but how much do we apply?
To become compassionate first, one needs to be compassionate with yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, the second and equally important thing is awareness. Perhaps while you’re reading this on your mobile device someone around you is having a little bit of a problem, a flat tire, or a heavy shopping bag or even a difficulty while crossing the road.
While your walking, enjoy your walk, listen to your favorite music but always keep your heart and mind open to whats happening around you. As they say if you have to begin, there’s no better place to start than home, could you be of more use while you play your game or watch your favorite tv serial? By no means i’m saying don’t watch it but rather balance between entertaining and helping others entertain themselves too by assisting them with the daily chores. Help your wife do the dishes or your mum lay the table, you don’t need a reason to help another.
There are so many more beautiful quotes by Thich Nhaht Hanh, that I would love to elaborate on, but these 5 are good enough to completely revitalize and replenish any soul on the path. Its time to put the words in action, slow and steady wins, there isn’t a race, your an infinite being who carries endless energy transforming in this circle of life.
Choose love, choose compassion, choose to help and make a difference, this will not only completely change your life around but also help build a better world, one soul at a time.
Here’re 5 More Quote from Hanh for you to ponder on ~
“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.”
“Through my love for you, I want to express my love for the whole cosmos, the whole of humanity, and all beings. By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species. If I succeed in loving you, I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth… This is the real message of love.”
“Our own life has to be our message.”
“We do not need to throw away anything, we need only to know how to transform one kind of energy into another.”
“My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.”