I’ve recently come to a place in life where I’ve accepted that I’m a very flawed human, with aspects of my character that can flare up and be less than desirable.
I have come to this place through a practice of yoga, meditation and a continuing study of teachings delivered by those wiser than me.
One of the teachers who has impacted me the most is the wise Thich Nhât Hańh. He delivers his wisdom in such a simple and holistic way that everything he teaches seems so achievable. When his book Living Buddha, Living Christ found me, I was just embracing my spiritual path. I was on a journey of self-realization, healing, higher purpose and love. This book delivered the concept of mindfulness in such an honest way, that I was immediately taken in and drawn to his teachings.
He introduced me to a way of seeing myself in all of my humanness—a way I had never known before. It was one of loving-kindness, compassion and humor, starting with ourselves. As I moved from book to book, I devoured his good-natured acceptance of the flaws of our human condition (anger, greed, insecurity, opinion and fear).
I was finally able to look upon my less than desirable anger issues as I would see a scared little child—with love and compassion. I was finally able to laugh at myself and begin practicing a more mindful way of working through my issues as I read his book on anger. It is still a go-to for me today.
The further I travel on my path of life, the more I enjoy the journey. I see now that focusing on the destination is a waste. If I can’t be here now, what is the point?
All we have is each moment—this is the only place we can enjoy anything.
I now have friends come to me for meditation advice when they want to start or expand their practice. I always direct beginners to a Thich Nhât Hańh book.
I’m sharing my favorite quotes and teachings by Thay (as he is often referred), in the hopes that they may be of benefit to others. These words bring me back and ground me when I really just want to give in to my lower tendencies of stomping my feet, running away, quitting, worrying, being fearful and opinionated, trying to control and judging others.
On those days when being human is tough, I remember these:
“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.”
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
“If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.”
“Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath.”
“People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don’t suffer anymore.”
“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.”
“There is no way to happiness—happiness is the way.”
“We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.”
“Buddhism teaches us not to try to run away from suffering. You have to confront suffering. You have to look deeply into the nature of suffering in order to recognize its cause, the making of the suffering.”
“Fear, separation, hate and anger come from the wrong view that you and the Earth are two separate entities, the Earth is only the environment. You are in the centre and you want to do something for the Earth in order for you to survive. That is a dualistic way of seeing.”
I hope we can all find our place of loving-kindness and together spread the practice of mindfulness.
May it be of benefit!
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Nicole Cameron