As we remember our great leader, I am reminded of the book the Art of Communication by Thich Nhat Hanh in which he discusses the need for internal communication.
This term resonated deeply with me as we are so hard on ourselves. It has helped me remember to be kind and slow and not beat myself up over and over. In the book, he discusses the cycle of the internal communication.
These are the steps with quotes from the book.
Connect with Ourselves
“Many of us spend a lot of time in meetings or e-mailing with others, and not a lot of time communicating with ourselves. The result is that we don’t know what is going on within us. It may be a mess inside. How then, can we communicate with another person?
Feel by Practicing Nonthinking and Nontalking
“Nonthinking is a very important practice. Of course, thinking and talking are productive too, especially when our minds and feelings are clear. But a lot of our thinking is caught up in dwelling on the past, trying to control the future, generating misperceptions, and worrying about what others are thinking.”
Connect with Our Body
“When we’re restless and don’t know what to do, that is a good time to sit down. It’s good to sit when we’re peaceful too, as a way of nurturing a habit and practice of sitting. When we stop and sit, we can begin right away to follow our in-breath and out-breath. Immediately, we can enjoy breathing in and breathing out, and everything gets a little better because the present moment becomes available to us.”
Have Compassion for Ourselves
“Come back again and again and communicate lovingly with yourself. That is the practice. You have to go back to yourself and listen to the happiness you may have in this moment; listen to the suffering in your body and in your mind, and learn how to embrace it and bring relief.”
Identify Internal Conflict
“When you see the suffering inside yourself, you can see in the other person, and you can see your part, your responsibility, in creating the suffering in yourself and the other person.”
Thich Nhat Hanh was a leader in simple, yet profound teachings. Remember to breath in and breath out.
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Author: Kerry Elam
Editor: Catherine Monkman
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