Change Your Entire Life with this Simple Technique from Thích Nhất Hạnh.

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To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

I was visiting a friend in New York City this past weekend as we discussed various elements of all things spiritual.

Discussion of teachers, techniques, paths and so forth culminated into some personal and candid sharing with one another. She knew some of my past but not all of it. She’d never heard the stories of my self-inflicted cutting, or that I used to sleep on a dozen sharp knives because it gave me a sense of being alive in an otherwise empty and fleeting day to day reality. Then there was the suicide attempts, numerous trips to emergency rooms, rehabs and psych wards, all of which she took in stride.

As I went to sleep in my friends cozy guest bed, I reflected on those dark times and how truly transformative the following technique taught by Thich Nhat Hanh has been in turning my life around. I also thought that since it’s worked so well for me, it may work well for you too.

It’s extremely simple and can be done anytime, anywhere and in virtually any circumstance.

The following is my translation and is not verbatim. As Hanh teaches, however, it’s not the words that matter but our commitment to, and intention behind the practice.

So with that being said, I’ve broken it down to seven simple steps for you.

1. Whenever you become aware of negative thoughts and emotions arising, rather than ignoring them, or setting them aside for later, identify, acknowledge, and honor them.

2. Become very clear on what the specific upset is by identifying the exact thoughts that are bothering you. Are they self-judging, bad memories, or anxiety about future events? Any thought that causes dis-ease in you, regardless of past, present or future is applicable.

3. Next, identify the specific emotions that arise in you as a result of said thoughts. What do they feel like? Is there tightening in your chest? Is your stomach turning or is there a throbbing sensation in your head? Again, any emotion that causes dis-ease is applicable.

4. Once you’ve clearly identified the thought(s) and emotion(s), close your eyes and explore the imagery they subsequently create in your mind (once you’re familiar with the practice, you won’t always need to close your eyes—i.e., if you’re driving, or in public you can still do this.) Do the thoughts and emotions create colors, shapes, figures? Are they abstract or clear? The important thing is to let your thoughts and emotions create the imagery while you simply become aware of what they are.

5. Breathe. We’re at the half way mark and I’d like to offer you a sincere congratulations on completing the first half! Our natural tendency is to suppress these uncomfortable thoughts and emotions, often telling ourselves that we’ll deal with them later—but honestly, does later ever come? Unfortunately for most of us, it never does. So even just by taking the time to become conscious of, and identify these unpleasant thoughts and emotions is a huge step! Let’s not stop there however, because here’s where the really good stuff starts to happen.

6. This step is where everything begins to change! Once you have the mental images of what your thoughts and emotions look like (and even if there’s no image at all, this practice still works), picture yourself holding the image (or lack thereof) in the same way a mother holds a newborn baby. Picture the image of your painful thought and emotion wrapped in a warm blanket, being held with very loving care closely to your heart, your chest, as you extend it very sincere compassion from your heart center. (You can also use the imagery of wrapping the thought/emotion in a warm blanket and placing it in a baby carriage, and rocking the carriage back and forth.)

7. Next, mentally (or verbally) say to the image that you know it’s there and you promise to care for and hold it with compassion until it’s ready to go. Do your best to say these words from a very sincere place in your heart.

Through bringing our attention to the image of our painful thoughts and emotions, and tending to it with an open heart, we’re doing the most natural thing we can—expressing love. Instead of ostracizing our uncomfortable thoughts and emotions and their unpleasant effects, we show them pure, complete and inclusive love. It’s a love they’ve never known before, and a love many of us have never known before either.

The thoughts and emotions will often subside very quickly. Sometimes, however, they aren’t ready to go so fast, and that’s fine. When we initially told them we’d be with them as long as they needed us, we were sincere in that intention. So if/when the thoughts and emotions call us on it, we honor our words and hold them dearly in our heart for as long as it takes.

So that’s the practice. It truly is that simple and I’m forever grateful to Thich Nhat Hanh for the amazing results I’ve had with it in my life. This practice can be used on everyday minor things all the way to heavier memories of our most difficult life experiences. It’s all relevant, it’s all grist for the mill and it can all be healed.

Please comment below if you try this practice over the coming days. Even if you don’t have success (which I highly doubt), I’d love to hear about your experience with it. Also, if there are other techniques and practices you’ve found to be beneficially healing in your life, please share them as well!

It’s all Love, it’s all One, so let it shine!

 

 

author: Chris Grosso

Image: Samridhhi Sondhi/Unsplash

Editor: Lyn Hasselberger

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Chris Grosso

Chris Grosso is a public speaker, writer, recovering addict and spiritual director. He has spoken and performed at Wanderlust Festival, Yoga Journal Conference, Sedona World Wisdom Days, Kripalu, and more. Chris created the popular hub for all things alternative, independent, and spiritual with TheIndieSpiritualist.com and continues the exploration with his books Everything Mind (Sounds True Publishing) and Indie Spiritualist (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster). Follow Chris on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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anonymous Apr 5, 2016 10:03pm

Will definitely give this a go. Many thanks. 🙂

anonymous Jan 6, 2016 6:26pm

This is a very effective technique.

anonymous Nov 24, 2015 7:54pm

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I’ve been depressed for awhile. And have had some terrible negative thinking
for a long while now. I’ve been told to counter with positive thoughts. Tough
and hasn’t really worked so far. I’ve read to have clear thinking. Maybe that’s
working but reality can get muddled. So I will try this. Sounds like it’s the
way because the thoughts don’t want to go away and I know they want some
recognition and resolution.

anonymous Sep 10, 2015 8:16am

Some nice tips! Thank you.

anonymous Sep 9, 2015 12:08pm

This is a deep breath for me. I love the way you laid it out step by step. I really need this. Thank you so much!

anonymous Aug 23, 2015 8:55pm

Thanks for this great advice. This technique helps me give my emotions and thoughts the attention and respect they deserve.

anonymous Jun 15, 2015 11:17pm

Cool, sounds very helpful. I wrote this poem just a few days ago about what I do with my upsets and feelings:

Breathe and Be

Breathe and be

with it

Find it

in that space

within

Within

your body

Survey its boundaries

map its contours

Feel it

feel it

sting and burn

its ache and agony

Feel

your desire

to deny it

to squirm

to hide from it

or push it out and away

Choose instead

to make a larger space

a larger space

where you can

fit too

Go in there

and curl up

beside it

Take it

in your arms

Ask it

no questions

expect no

explanations

Just

hold it

feel it

Feel it recline

feel it open

into the space

you made for it

feel it cry

with relief

feel it’s arms

wrap around you

feel it’s head

on your

breast

its tears

on your chest

Feel it.

Susy Crandall

anonymous Jun 15, 2015 7:09am

Taking notes. Thank you!

anonymous Jun 15, 2015 4:34am

Thank you! This article has the power to save a life, mine. I tried “Loving” my suicidal thoughts and they are now less powerful. I was scared to welcome those feelings since I have been fighting them to stay alive. By loving and accepting the worst in me it forces me to care.

anonymous May 2, 2015 10:37am

Thanks for sharing! actually this is Applied Cognitive Behavioral therapy at its purest, it also has a component of Positive psychology when approaching those thoughts and feelings in a compassionate way. It definitely works and it is a technique we all can learn, even to identify positive events and how those make us feel, in order to repeat pleasant experiences and thought processes.
Lisa: you say that the images stir more pain, yes! and that is good, sometimes you have to see the pain and contemplate it as if it is something external, giving yourself permission to be vulnerable allows you to express your humanity , accept it and it will last less than if you try to avoid or neglect the pain.

anonymous Apr 30, 2015 8:19am

This seems like a great strategy, however for someone mourning the lost opportunity to have children, the baby references and imagery stir up more pain, and it feels reinforced, rather than released. Any suggestions?

anonymous Apr 30, 2015 6:16am

This is so similar to ho'oponopono, except for its a bit easier than that. I have been practicing this process for years (since 1994 to be exact) and have nothing but gratitude for the process. This also works well for me due to the imagery involved. Thanks so much for sharing.

anonymous Apr 30, 2015 2:32am

I learned a similar technique from Jack Kornfield. It's very effective for helping one to lead a happy life. I am also showing this method to my 9 year old to help her with troublesome anxiety. Thanks for sharing!

anonymous Apr 30, 2015 2:23am

I'm back to work after one year in retirement. Yesterday was the first day at new company and I endup the day flooded by ansaiety. This wisdom pratice will be a skillfull way to handle all the emotions that rise up with this new endeavor!

anonymous Mar 29, 2015 8:21am

Great advice! What do you recommend to do when it is someone (your partner) who gets angry at you? What do you do then and how do you deal with that situation? What do you tell your partner?

Thanks!

anonymous Oct 13, 2014 9:44am

As I was doing this and recognizing my torturing thought, a voice in my head kept saying it was just a thought and it wasn't necessarily true. I don't know if this comes out of intuition or what, but it's certainly reassuring. This technique is a nice tool for staying present. Thanks so much for sharing.

anonymous Oct 12, 2014 2:05pm

First of all, thank you very much for sharing this. I have done something like this in the past where I revisit old memories and hold myself like a loving parent would and tell myself that it will all be okay. Reading this article reminds me to do this with my extreme anxiety that I'm experiencing at this point in my life. Thank you and lots of love.

anonymous Sep 13, 2014 6:26pm

During a very heavy period in my life I did the exercise of watching and be aware of my emotions. I just let them be and kind of accepted they were there. For me the biggest healing was the awareness of my emotions, I did not treat them like you do, telling them with love they can be there but I will most definitely try this. Love you lots, big hugh and kiss Gill

anonymous Aug 10, 2014 11:27am

thank you very much for sharing, ill try the best! blessings

anonymous Jul 16, 2014 7:35pm

This activity can also be really helpful in working with images that arise from our dreams. Accepting the images, regardless of how strange, disturbing or scary they may be, and addressing them with loving kindness can be a great way to tap into the more challenging aspects of our subconscious and our repressed emotions, leading to healing and openness… thank you for sharing! I will share this also on http://www.thedreamwell.com

anonymous Jul 15, 2014 11:42am

Yes, my health coach has taught me this. The only little difference is that the last step is visualizing the situation or person (usually a person for me) floating away. I picture a stream or creek , put golden light (love/God) around them and watch them float away.
She taught me to also ask, after I identify the physical aspect where there is tightening in my body, to ask the question, "what are other possibilities here?" are there other options, reasons? This allows relaxation so that you loosen "the grip" on the feeling, allowing creativity / love to enter consciousness.

anonymous Jul 15, 2014 2:27am

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for this <3

anonymous Jul 14, 2014 9:32pm

Thank you for sharing this! About 10 months ago I broke up with my partner, and I haven't been able to overcome the separation. My financial situation became critical, and ever since I've been surviving in a material and in an emotional way. With time, I've come to feel "better", but with bills reminding me I need to pay them, and the image of my ex stuck in my head, today I fell again, I don't feel "better" anymore. I figured I've repressing the thoughts that hold me back, and I managed to do that replacing them for thoughts of happiness and optimism, but yesterday and today I realized it is not enough, because the same dis-ease came back. So today I started embracing them, didn't know exactly how I was going to do it, and then I read this article. So thank you! If it worked for you, it might work for me.

anonymous Jul 14, 2014 4:51pm

Does this work only for thoughts about our past, or can we use it if we have ill feelings about a certain person. Or a situation that arose. I don't know if I am making myself clear but I am not in a very good place right now and sometimes I get bad thoughts about certain people that are not always in my life, or certain situations some haven't even happened. But just by reading this i suddenly felt better I felt at peace and I didn't even associate a feeling to it yet. 🙂

    anonymous Sep 14, 2014 1:30am

    Hi Vee! I just woke up after a nightmare. The nightmare was a result of anxiety thoughts about the future, fear that I won't be able to balance a job and a study, also fear of a certain person who doesn't value time and can make things worse for me and many other worries about the future. But I tried Chris' technique and once I treated my negative thoughts and emotions with LOVE, I felt more relaxed and at peace as you said.

anonymous Apr 10, 2014 1:11am

This is great, and immediately useful. Thanks

anonymous Apr 8, 2014 8:02pm

I needed this reminder today, and after I completed the exercise I feel much lighter. The emotions are still present, but like you said, we can take all the time we need to heal. Time is on our side, after all! Thank you for sharing!

anonymous Apr 7, 2014 4:24pm

Thank u. Lovely

anonymous Apr 6, 2014 7:51pm

Chris, thank you for sharing! I too, many years ago, self-mutatilated since it was the only way I could feel alive. As I got older and discovered yoga and Buddhism their teachings have helped greatly! Thay’s book Reconcilition helped me to work through a lot of childhood trauma. I love the idea of holding your thoughts, feelings and emotions in love before setting them free.

anonymous Mar 30, 2014 6:00am

Thanks for sharing this technique. Which Thich Nhat Hanh book is this from? I'd love to read the original.

anonymous Feb 23, 2014 12:31am

One thing that helped me the most out of nearly any bit of advice I've ever gotten came from someone, I can't even remember who now, so I'll just say it's anonymous, after a bad breakup. I was reaching out for help in all directions, but my mood and presence were fairly infectious and contagious. There came a point where I went into solitude. It was only a matter of time before I started to lose it, mentally and emotionally. By this time, I was really reaching out, pretty desperately. Then this guy comes along and says to me, "You should try to not be as easily influenced by people." I had a wide array of reactions ready to fire back at him ranging from, "You don't even know me, how can you make an assumption like that?" all the way to, "F#%* you man, you have absolutely no idea what I'm going through!" Instead, I let that sink in, nice and slow. I realized he was completely right. I had been trying to see my own life through the eyes of others instead of just looking through my own. I realized that I was lacking a decent spine or any idea of what made me the person that I am. I had become a living compliment, just to sympathize with what other people were because I just wanted people in my life for the sake of comfort and feeling accepted, when I hadn't taken the time to begin to accept myself and be grateful for who I was. Things are much different now to say the least. I mean, I'm pretty close to the polar opposite of that now and I'm extremely grateful to this person that was basically a stranger to offer me his words and the ability to clear enough space in my mind to accept those words and put them to good use.

anonymous Feb 22, 2014 5:40am

This essay is so meaningful and worthwhile – and yes, this method works really, really well. Once you "love" what needs to be addressed emotionally, it is able to just go – and it might no ever return, I've found. And, if the emotion returns, it is less severe, and you are already equipped to love it once more and bring true awareness and compassion to it. Without forcing change, it will dissolve.

I am so happy you shared it for others out here, many thanks.

anonymous Feb 22, 2014 12:01am

What a powerful practice and perfect timing! Thanks so much for sharing!

anonymous Feb 21, 2014 2:44pm

Thanks!!! Found it quite effective!!!

anonymous Jan 12, 2014 10:26pm

Thanks Chris, I'm new to this way of thinking, but it really makes sense. I understand that I need to dive into my bad feelings about my self and show accept, respect and love. On the other hand I'm a really afraid of using to much time on my ugly thoughts starting the negative spiral keeping me in the black hole for hours and hours. Some times I hate this life. Shouldn't we focus on the positive in life?

Thanks

anonymous Jan 1, 2014 10:58pm

Wonderful and easy to do! Thanks for sharing.

I have a simple technique that uses important pressure points to shift negative energy, panic attacks, anxiety…..

1. Tap with either hand on your cheer bone then

2. tap on your collar bone

3. Back to cheek bone (doesn’t matter how many times you choose to tap on each point)

4. Tap on the side if your hand ( karate chop part!)

5. Tap on the back of your hand and hum a tune out loud and the count from one to number five out loud,

If you don’t notice a change in your energy the first time you do this, just do it again!

You can do this driving by using your steering wheel to tap on if it’s safe to do so in your vehicle.

anonymous Dec 10, 2013 6:11pm

This also reminds me of Jung's descriptions of dealing with the contents of our personal unconscious, which sometimes pop up in disturbing ways. The practice seems very similar, in that it involves greeting that which comes out of our inner darkness (meaning beyond the scope of the light of our consciousness, not 'evil' or anything like that), speaking with it, and basically letting ourselves befriend it. This is part of the process of allowing the Self to develop in the light our our conscious awareness. A related technique is frequently called Active Imagination.

anonymous Dec 10, 2013 4:25pm

Thank you for sharing and being so open. I did something similar to this but with my over weight belly. I have a lot of stress and my back is hurt so I have accumulated a lot of belly weight. One day I was thinking about it. This fat that I hate so much is here for a reason. I saw in my minds eye that I use it for protection. I realized it was protecting me and I was hating it at the same time. So I touched my stomach and said thank you for trying to protect me even when I hated you. But I feel safe now and I don't need you to stay with me any longer. Your free to go. That was a week ago. I can all ready see the changes in what and how I eat. That realization was a great gift and I'm very thankful.

anonymous Dec 10, 2013 1:27pm

Love this <3

anonymous Dec 10, 2013 12:46pm

this is possibly one of the most beautiful things i've ever read. thank you so very much for sharing this. it reminds me of a very profound and healing dream i had years ago during a rough time in my life. in the dream people were attacking and chopping at a holy tree. i was screaming and trying to protect it, but they were able to chop it into a log. i laid my body down onto it and breathed love through my heart into it. comforting it telling it that it was still very much loved and appreciated. as i breathed calm and peace and love into it, it began to rise. we rose up above the chaos and anger and floated up and away to a safe and loving place.
what your article is saying is very similar. that we need to breathe love into ourselves (as the pain is a part of us) and surround it with comforting love in order to rise above and heal.
much love to you!

anonymous Dec 10, 2013 8:28am

This is a valuable piece of writing. Thank you.

anonymous Dec 5, 2013 7:12am

Thank you for sharing your story Chris and for simplifying in a step by step guide. I found this useful on a personal level and when working with clients. Reason being, I'm finding there are similarities in these Buddhist techniques when facing emotions and the co-active model I trained in as a coach. The technique you mention above is very similar to a principle I learnt in assisting clients to acknowledge and be with their emotions, the difference being that in the coaching process, we can prompt with questions that will help the client dig deep and name the emotion. We then invite them to be with the emotion and spend time with it, from there the client somehow naturally experiences a shift and energy begins to unfold releasing blocks and creating new learnings. The outcome is similar to your technique in that we can begin to let go and experience emotions such as love, acceptance, understanding, forgiveness… I found your technique summarises the process I use in my work and provides a simplified, easy step by step guide I can do on a personal level. Thank you so much. Best wishes, Be

anonymous Dec 3, 2013 6:28pm

Have a look at the practice of Hakomi. It complements what you have put forth here and I’m sure you will resonate with it

anonymous Dec 2, 2013 11:29am

"It’s all relevant, it’s all grist for the mill and it can all be healed."

I am taking this thought with me today. Thank you for your words.

anonymous Dec 2, 2013 10:19am

What if we had a conversation with the image that we conjure? So many fears have an origin in protecting us. Could we uncover this intention and honor it and thank it and let it go? Could we ask for the message? And then really listen? Thanks for a wonderful article.

anonymous Dec 2, 2013 9:27am

Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself……It was something that rang truth for me and I thank you for opening a door for me that was probably just a small window yesterday! <3

anonymous Dec 2, 2013 6:40am

it so works thanks so much Namaste!!

anonymous Dec 1, 2013 2:30pm

Thank you for this article. This morning at an ashrama service, the speaker explained this very technique!
Here is my tip: please use an editor. I am happy to help.

anonymous Dec 1, 2013 6:28am

Loved this! Thanks Chris!

    anonymous Dec 2, 2013 8:10am

    Thanks for taking the time to check it out! xo.

anonymous Dec 1, 2013 6:09am

Great article and technique. Looking forward to trying! and will comment back when I do. Peace, Karen

anonymous Nov 10, 2013 5:27am

Thank you so much for writing and sharing this!

    anonymous Dec 2, 2013 8:09am

    And thank you for reading it Faye!

anonymous Nov 9, 2013 6:46am

thanks chris…from 8/11 to 3/12 I was in about 30 emergency rooms,2 trips to state hospital,jail for 3 wks,. a couple of aborted rehab tries,7 detoxes…what saved me was this……1-jail- had no choice 2- got back to sobriety,regular meetings,connecting,service 3- a one time DMT experience in 7/12 which marks my sobriety date-this healed a lot of non addiction/.childbirth ptsd– 4–continued meditation,meetings—-5)saying yes to the universe….

    anonymous Dec 2, 2013 8:09am

    Wow. So glad you're on the other side of things! Thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope!

anonymous Nov 9, 2013 6:35am

This is beautiful and extremely helpful. Thank you.

anonymous Oct 26, 2013 6:12am

I am going to try this method. I usually acknowledge the negative/painful/shameful thoughts and tell them that I acknowledge them, it happened, I am not that person anymore (if I did something) or that I understand how that would be painful, and that it was not my fault (if someone else did something to me). I do hug my inner child and tell her that I love her though, and that i am always going to be there for her. So, I do something similar, but not exactly like you. This is awesome! 🙂 Thank you Lisa 🙂

    anonymous Nov 9, 2013 5:55am

    That's great Lisa! It sounds like what your'e doing is similar, but that's the cool thing… this is just a rough outline. Take what works for you and change the rest accordingly 😉 So glad you're finding peace in your path! Much love!

anonymous Oct 25, 2013 11:39pm

Thank you! I have many dark times and have not had a plan of attack (per say) this far. I’m glad to have some actual steps to follow and a practice to begin in the coming days/months/years (that aren’t “attacking” ironically). Thank you!!

    anonymous Nov 9, 2013 5:53am

    I wish you much success with this Heidi. I use this method probably more than anything else I've learned on the path and it truly is amazing for working through the darker times. Much love to you! xo.

anonymous Oct 25, 2013 8:01pm

Thank you for that article! From some personal experience I've found it very helpful to add a Step 8: note the differences in your state of mind between when you first had the thoughts of dis-ease and then after going through step 7. Acknowledging the difference between relating to afflictions in a positive manner vs. a negative manner helps reinforce how doing steps 1-7 can make a difference and to keep that work up for future events.

    anonymous Nov 9, 2013 5:52am

    Love Step 8 Chris! Thanks for mentioning that. A very good point indeed. Much love brother.

anonymous Oct 25, 2013 6:43pm

This is very exciting! It is the first time I have heard of a way of doing something positive with those feelings, instead of only feeling worse because I have them! Thank you!

    anonymous Nov 9, 2013 5:52am

    Wishing you mcuh love and peace with this Sunshine. 🙂

anonymous Oct 23, 2013 7:20pm

Thay is my hero, well, one of them,,

anonymous Oct 23, 2013 2:19am

Hi Chris, a great article. Timely enough, I have been trying to walk away from the painful feeling. I guess, when we are all faced with a difficult situation, there are times when the pain, hurt is so intense that you feel like you just want to give up. I have been trying to be strong, life is still giving you a hard time to the point where you question yourself – Do I really deserve all of these? In all difficult situation, acceptance is the first step. Hard and painful – but I guess thats the only option to go to. Then acknowledging the feeling is next. I have to practice full acceptance and start to slowly embrace where I am now and how I am accepting the present – that I have fully let go of my past, live in the present and looking forward to a better tomorrow.

    anonymous Oct 23, 2013 6:39am

    I completely understand what you're saying. All we can do is offer whatever we're able to the pain, and that's not always "100%"… so we do our best with it, trusting in the process and being as gentle with ourselves as possible while doing so. Of course it's not easy, but what else are we going to do, mask it with any of the numerous distractions available to us- drugs, sex, food and so forth? Sure, it's a temporary solution, but the pain will still be there, waiting to be healed, so I've personally found (the hard way) that's it's best to get on with as much of it as we're able to know, rather than later. Sounds like you're certainly doing that! Much love and respect to you 🙂

anonymous Sep 11, 2013 9:29am

What a beautiful story and teaching. Thanks for opening up and sharing the author's useful steps.

I found that even acknowledging and accepting these unpleasant emotions make them appear less often in your life. That's true that most people want to escape from them, but that will cause these emotions to rise up in the future. It's true, therefore, that we should courageously face them and deal with them when they arise.

    anonymous Oct 23, 2013 6:35am

    Yes, exactly. The very same experience here. Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment 🙂

anonymous Aug 12, 2013 2:39am

Thank you <3
Love is truly misunderstood in many places.

    anonymous Oct 23, 2013 6:34am

    Thank you Kristine, and very well said!

anonymous Aug 11, 2013 8:34pm

Good Grief!

anonymous Jun 17, 2013 3:48am

Thank you for sharing this wonderful way of being with uncomfortable feelings. I wish that in elementary school we would share wisdoms from various traditions to help our children develop capacity and literacy with feelings. Also to introduce the option of equanimity for I imagine therein lies our freedom.

    anonymous Oct 23, 2013 6:33am

    I couldn't agree more. I was speaking w/Stephen & Ondrea Levine a while back and they talked about how wonderful it would be if schools offered a 3rd grade compassion class, or something like that. Could you imagine? 🙂

anonymous Jun 16, 2013 5:33pm

hi… has anyone mentioned Byron Kati'es The Work?… it's also about identifying thoughts and emotions and learning to love them without attachment… which is what causes the suffering… thoughts are like leaves falling… they just happen… their opposite is also there… everything is there… and we attach ourselves to one version of it… by learning to see it the attachment falls away… the method is free on the website… and it works… love to all…

    anonymous Oct 23, 2013 6:32am

    I love Byron Katie's "The Work". Thanks for sharing that info w/readers!

anonymous Mar 12, 2013 1:24am

Thank you. Your sharing about your own dark places give me confidence that this practice can work for me.

    anonymous Dec 2, 2013 8:10am

    Thanks Karen! Wishing you well 🙂

anonymous Jan 15, 2013 3:39am

[…] gut check is also serving Chris Grosso. He cleared 16,000 hits on his piece about how the Thich Nhat Hanh changed his life, and it came 100 percent straight from his […]

anonymous Jan 9, 2013 8:07pm

[…] Change Your Entire Life with this Simple Technique from Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s Kind of Amazing! […]

anonymous Jan 1, 2013 3:19pm

[…] […]

anonymous Dec 21, 2012 3:23pm

[…] Change Your Entire Life with this Simple Technique from Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s Kind of Amazing! (elephantjournal.com) […]

anonymous Dec 21, 2012 9:46am

[…] graciously and lovingly by Thich Nhat Hanh, such beautiful words to address such […]

anonymous Dec 18, 2012 8:36am

Thank you. I too am struggling and needed this right now. I will be practising tonight.

    anonymous Dec 18, 2012 1:27pm

    Sorry to hear you're struggling Lalita but sending you my best wishes and hopes that this practice helps with what you're going through. It's truly been wonderful for me personally. Love to you.

anonymous Dec 18, 2012 2:36am

Found this in the middle of the night, having been woken by an anxious nightmare and having felt very difficult emotions when my partner who struggles with "Borderline Personality Disorder" reacted poorly.
With my partner having stormed out, raging, instead of following or feeling powerless I followed these steps and feel lightness and such a soothing warm love for myself. Such relief <3 I feel very grateful, thank you

    anonymous Dec 18, 2012 6:39am

    While I'm terribly sorry to hear about your experience, I'm so happy the practice was helpful for you. I too used to date someone with BPD and when she went of her medication it was one of the most difficult times in my life. I was not familiar with this practice but wish I had been at the the time. Sending you love and well wishes. xo.

anonymous Dec 17, 2012 7:55pm

[…] Change Your Entire Life with this Simple Technique from Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s Kind of Amazing! (elephantjournal.com) […]

anonymous Dec 17, 2012 1:06pm

Hi Chris, thanks for the article, clear and concise – good for us with short attention spans.

I did something similar to this (exactly once) where I just didn't run away or get up and look for something to distract me from the pain. I sat at my desk at home and felt incredibly sad but allowed that to absorb me/become absorbed by me. Visually, it was like a dark fog and I was at the center and – like you said above – it passes very quickly once you agree to stay with it. I absorbed that fog into myself and it was over within moments of it starting. And by absorbing it, it didn't make me darker, just the opposite.

I still have that initial instinct of wanting to run from pain whenever it comes up – I believe that's human nature. And there are definitely times where I try to avoid the pain, but I also know sitting with it is the only way to finally absorb it and let it go – or have it let you go.

Thank you.

    anonymous Dec 18, 2012 6:37am

    Absolutely Nathalie! I too more times than not feel like running! I'm I'm not perfect at this practice. Sometimes I still buy into my own drama, even though I know better. This has changed things so significantly for me though and it's wonderful to hear others are benefiting from it as well!!! Thanks so much for your comment 🙂 Bows.

anonymous Dec 17, 2012 9:44am

Beautiful, genuine, generous & useful, like everything you share here with us, Chris. Thanks ever so much! Sending you LOVE 🙂

    anonymous Dec 17, 2012 9:45am

    Sending you love right back. You're beautiful and supportive words mean so very much! Thank you 🙂

anonymous Dec 17, 2012 4:20am

I also have to say; I read this book by Thich Nhat Hanh this summer:

The Art of Power, it is called. A very intelligent and loving, friendly and

humble book for all to read and treasure! 🙂

    anonymous Dec 17, 2012 5:10am

    Yes, I've read that and definitely loved it! I'm yet to read anything by him that hasn't thoroughly moved me!

anonymous Dec 17, 2012 4:16am

Thank you for letting me know this loving beautiful technique.

I started right away and a quality known from my childhood arose…

A negative thought disappeared. It is the same thought coming many

times, and now I stopped and embraced it.

I suddenly remembed myself as a selfconcious lively child.

Now I will continue this listening and healing of the negative thoughts.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a HAPPY LOVING New Year!

Light and love, Hanna

    anonymous Dec 17, 2012 5:09am

    I'm soooo glad to hear that Hanna. Made my morning for sure! Thanks for sharing your experience. Much love to you.

anonymous Dec 16, 2012 9:31pm

tried it…

worked great

    anonymous Dec 16, 2012 10:01pm

    So glad to hear it! Thanks for the feedback. Bows.

anonymous Dec 16, 2012 9:14pm

Dear Chris,

thank you for your article. Yes, I have found this practice very helpful… It’s also been helpful, in that it supports and reinforces another similar practice I do… in Inner Relationship Focusing practice, we learn to “say hello to” and “be with” our inner experience, in a listening and deeply caring way… http://www.focusingresources.com/downloads/pof1.p
here is another link, about the connections between focusing and zen.. .http://www.focusing.org/spirituality/zen.asp

thanks again, and all best wishes!

Rosa

    anonymous Dec 16, 2012 10:00pm

    Thank you so much for sharing those links Rosa. I'll be checking them out tomorrow! Take good care 🙂

    anonymous Feb 22, 2014 10:36pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these links! I have found the first one extremely helpful and hope to find a copy of this book sometime soon.

anonymous Dec 16, 2012 8:35pm

Thanks for the Rev Al Green – love the song, still dancing to it.

    anonymous Dec 16, 2012 10:00pm

    So glad to hear it Susan! Let it shine 🙂

anonymous Dec 16, 2012 2:38pm

[…] Change Your Entire Life with this Simple Technique from Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s Kind of Amazing! (elephantjournal.com) […]

anonymous Dec 15, 2012 6:49am

Beautiful song … love soul music! Gracias!!!

    anonymous Dec 15, 2012 12:48pm

    Thanks Catalina! He's one of the best 🙂

anonymous Dec 15, 2012 2:24am

Thank you Chris!

    anonymous Dec 15, 2012 5:44am

    My thanks to you Irene. Love.

anonymous Dec 15, 2012 12:44am

Wouldn't it be great if this were taught to everyone at a young age. How to care for our feelings early so this is natural for us. Reminds me of a book I read decades ago called How To Love Every Minute of Your LIfe. I don't even know if it's still in print but it was similar in it's philosophy. I think this is great info! Thank you.

    anonymous Dec 15, 2012 5:44am

    Absolutely! I was speaking with Stephen & Ondrea Levine a few months ago and they brought up the idea of a third grade compassion class. How amazing would that be? I'll look up the book you mentioned. Thanks so much. Love.

    anonymous Mar 30, 2015 11:55am

    That's an excellent point, I wish that schools would incorporate more into their curriculum. I know that some schools are trying, but so many children would benefit from learning not just how to read and do math, but how to deal with their feelings and express themselves. Fortunately we can teach them as parents after we incorporate healthy practices into our own lives.

anonymous Dec 14, 2012 11:41pm

thank you so much!!!! what book is this from?

    anonymous Dec 15, 2012 5:43am

    Thank you Apoorva. It was actually from one of his audio books, though I'm sure he's probably spoken on this in at least one of his books. I don't recall which audio book exactly, I have so many of them.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2013 11:18pm

    Thay has a book called "Anger" that I believe this is from, or is reproduced in detail – cheers 🙂

anonymous Dec 14, 2012 2:32pm

Thanks. I'm going to print this out and use it.

    anonymous Dec 14, 2012 8:08pm

    Thank you Sybil. You doing all sentient beings a favor by putting this practice to work and with today's events here in CT, it's obvious now more than ever we could all use it. Much love to you.

anonymous Dec 14, 2012 7:59am

"Recognizing and accepting both pain where suffering comes from and also where beauty comes from and separating between them, as well as honoring both." I love that Gabriela. Beautifully said. Thanks so much. Love.

anonymous Dec 14, 2012 7:58am

I've listened to a guided meditation, not too long ago, that followed the same principles. I have to admit, it shook me a bit, it took me by surprise and I may not have been ready to face my negative thoughts and emotions. There's a lot of pain there, not everyone can handle it. Reading this though, I decided to confront my "demons" by writing my thoughts down on paper. This way, I was able to follow them and to understand the cause of my suffering-the only way, really, to deal with it-. I understand that I should recognize the pain, not shove it off, accept it as a part of my life that is out of my control and also recognize the beauty and the good things in my life that are a separate part and that I can control. I think realizing this, really helped. Recognizing and accepting both pain where suffering comes from and also where beauty comes from and separating between them, as well as honoring both. So thank you for this, it is very practical and empowering. Although, again, it needs to come into someone's life at the right time in order to have the strenght to face these fears.

    anonymous Jan 1, 2014 10:19am

    What is the guided meditation. I would love to listen to it. I am working on this right now in my life.
    Thank you!
    Catherine

anonymous Dec 14, 2012 7:55am

I'm struggling & really needed this right now. Thanks so much for sharing.

    anonymous Dec 14, 2012 8:39am

    I'm so glad it found you when it did Michelle! Bows.

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 11:11pm

Not 2 minutes ago I put it out there to the Universe that I want to be enough…enough for myself. Not 2 minutes later I found your post. I shall try. Thank you.

    anonymous Dec 14, 2012 5:18am

    Wow jogerl… Isn't it wonderful when these serendipitous thing happen!? I'm honored and humbled to be a vessel to let the transmission reach you through. Thanks for your comment. Love.

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 10:26pm

I love Thay and I love you.

    anonymous Dec 14, 2012 5:17am

    And I love you right back Joan. Thank you. From my heart to yours. Bows.

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 6:38pm

A really great technique to use, certainly a vast difference to the "normal" reaction of anger/fear/shame/blame/etc. Thanks for reminding us there is a better way.

    anonymous Dec 13, 2012 7:03pm

    So simple yet indeed, revolutionary. That Thich Nhat Hanh is always dropping knowledge. Thanks Gary!

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 1:02pm

Along these lines… I just recently learned this. When the negative thought arrives, I say to it "Well hello, old thought, I see you are there." It creates an acceptance but also a distance. This space in between my soul and my brain allow for perspective and pause. 🙂 Thanks for this article, Chris.

    anonymous Dec 13, 2012 2:19pm

    Ah yes, I love that Kelly! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    anonymous Dec 14, 2012 12:41am

    Very interesting. Thank you for your comment, what a nice addition.

      anonymous Dec 14, 2012 5:19am

      Thanks for checking it out Gabriela. Love.

    anonymous May 2, 2015 6:07pm

    Similar to a saying I learned to greet difficult feelings or situations … "Welcome back old friend… This is not the first time or the worst time."

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 12:26pm

Thats a really great technique Chris , thankyou

    anonymous Dec 13, 2012 12:53pm

    Thanks to you Julian. Glad you're digging it. Peace.

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 8:15am

Thank you for this; a very interesting way of dealing with things. I haven’t tried offering love to my problems, hurts etc although I usually try to look at them objectively and be as rational & sensible ad I can. Next time, I will try this and see how it works 🙂

(Phone playing up & I can’t amend the typo…!)

    anonymous Dec 13, 2012 10:19am

    Thanks for your comment Lezlee. It's certainly not the only way to deal with life's day to day difficulties, but as I said in the article, it's been the most transformational for me. Just holding the thoughts and feelings rather than pushing them away… that alone complete flips the script on our typical paradigm of dealing with things and opens space for new possibilities. Bows.

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 6:44am

just reading these steps gave me a lightness that felt freeing. I have always known in my heart that avoiding the bad feelings were not the way to go but never really knew what to do with them…having the visualizations you outline here is beyond helpful. thank you and peace

    anonymous Dec 13, 2012 7:44am

    So happy you found this to be of benefit Pamela and I really appreciate the comment. To our healing!! xo.

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 5:03am

I am so moved by this, I feel like just keep writing to you.

Thanks for the share!
Amazing how you are helping people through this, helping to accept "those bad feelings and bad memories".
I wish you lots of happiness and peace in your path. Wow! I hope one day I will meet you in person. You are going to get a big hug from me.
God Bless.

    anonymous Dec 13, 2012 5:53am

    Thanks so much Maria. It truly means a lot! Bows 🙂

anonymous Dec 12, 2012 3:23pm

Thank you for sharing Chris! And thank you for your openness, it's always such a gift to share our journey. Thich Nhat Hanh has been a very positive influence for me as well, this is awesome! Much love.

    anonymous Dec 12, 2012 3:25pm

    Thanks for taking the time to read it and your comment 🙂 Thich Nhat Hanh is just so full of wisdom! Much love back.

    anonymous Jun 16, 2015 7:08am

    My heavy ,horrible thoughts and feelings from my past are actually easier to handle after only one try,AMAZING! and i know now that it will get better,the only hurdle was wanting to hold them and show love BUT IT DOES WORK,THANK YOU SO MUCH!!