Tag Archives: Thich Nhat Hanh

Cultivating Gratitude

 

"Gratitude is an inner connection with us, God and the entire universe."-Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi

This summer, I attended some retreats with my spiritual teacher, Amma, or Mata Amritanandamayi. One of the topics she talked about was about cultivating gratitude. She said that “Gratitude is a decision just like happiness. . . Gratitude is an inner connection between God, the entire creation and us.”  She reminded us that everything we are receiving is due to the work of countless people living now and in the past, Mother Nature, and unseen forces. We are indebted to the world. Nature is our mother.

Other notes I wrote down:

Life is a blessing. Gratitude is a prayer that opens and enlarges our hearts to receive more. Appreciate life with each breath we take. Accept all situations with discernment. It is man’s nature to notice what we don’t have, instead of seeing all the good around us. Replace “mine” with “O God, everything is yours.” Help others without expecting anything in return. Remember that the next breath may not be ours. Remember God constantly. Our real success in life lies in unity.

Some time ago, I used the header image to make a greeting card. The positioning of the clouds, opening up in freedom, reminded me of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings about embracing our feelings. So I wrote these words:

inner skies widen
as each breath is observed
as each feeling is embraced
with arms of compassion

 




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About inheritance

inheritances

Seeing this plant age so gracefully inspired me with its elegant lines, uprightness, and gesture indicating it had sung many happy songs in the sun. This will surely affect the next generation, gifts to its children, as its ancestors influenced this one. I have observed this kind of plant in the spring during which it has a structure that looks star-like from which flowers sprout. All its blossoms spring from stars.

 

“Everything
we think,
feel, and do
has an effect
on our ancestors
and all future generations
and reverberates
throughout
the universe.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh

 

“Your body is not yours alone.
It belongs to your ancestors,
your parents,
future generations,
and to society
and all other living beings.
All of them have come together
to bring about the presence
of this body.
Keeping your body healthy
is an expression of gratitude
to the whole cosmos.
If you are healthy
physically and mentally,
all of us will benefit.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh, “Moments of Mindfulness”




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Walking for Our Ancestors and Future Generations

 

Walking For Our Ancestors and Future Generations

“All our ancestors and all future generations are present in us all the time. Happiness is not an individual matter. As long as the ancestors in us are still suffering, we can’t be happy and we will transmit that suffering to our children and their children. When we walk, we can walk for our ancestors and future generations. Maybe they had to walk with sorrow; perhaps they were forced to march or migrate. When we walk freely, we are walking for them. If we can take one step freely and happily, touching the Earth mindfully, then we can take one hundred steps like that. We do it for ourselves and for all previous and future generations. We all arrive at the same time and find peace and happiness together.”—Thich Nhat Hanh




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We are the earth

 

“We often forget that the planet we are living on has given us all the elements that make up our bodies. The water in our flesh, our bones, and all the microscopic cells inside our bodies all come from the Earth and are part of the Earth. The Earth is not just the environment we live in. We are the Earth and we are always carrying her within us.

Realizing this, we can see that the Earth is truly alive. We are a living, breathing manifestation of this beautiful and generous planet. Knowing this, we can begin to transform our relationship to the Earth. We can begin to walk differently and to care for her differently. We will fall completely in love with the Earth. When we are in love with someone or something, there is no separation between ourselves and the person or thing we love. We do whatever we can for them and this brings us great joy and nourishment. That is the relationship each of us can have with the Earth. That is the relationship each of us must have with the Earth if the Earth is to survive, and if we are to survive as well.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh (Love Letter to the Earth)




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Man and Nature

 

“We inter-breathe with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans. They are part of our own body. “

—Thich Nhat Hanh

 

“The purpose of life is undoubtedly to know oneself. We cannot do it unless we learn to identify ourselves with all that lives. The sum-total of that life is God.”

—Mahatma Gandhi

 




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Power of Prayer

 

power of prayer

Many years ago, when we first found out my husband was diagnosed with cancer, I was suffering from much worry and anxiety while sitting in his doctor’s office. Suddenly, I felt a deep peace descend upon me, calming my anxiety, enabling me to breathe. I took a look at my watch. Later, I found out a friend was saying some prayers for us the same moments I felt the peace in the doctor’s office. Proof to me, the palpable power of prayer, that peace beyond understanding… If we are enjoying peace, happiness, we can offer the fruits of our prayers to others. If someone is having difficulty breathing, we can think of them as we breathe peacefully. As we are all linked, this will help on some level.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:7

“Life is filled with suffering, but it is also filled with many wonders, like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby. To suffer is not enough. We must also be in touch with the wonders of life. They are within us and all around us, everywhere, any time. If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we cannot share peace and happiness with others, even those we love, those who live under the same roof. If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace. Do we need to make a special effort to enjoy the beauty of the blue sky? Do we have to practice to be able to enjoy it? No, we just enjoy it. Each second, each minute of our lives can be like this. Wherever we are, any time, we have the capacity to enjoy the sunshine, the presence of each other, even the sensation of breathing . . . I would like to offer one short poem you can recite from time to time, while breathing and smiling.

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh, “Being Peace”




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Remember me

 

Remember me

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”—Luke 23:42

“and gave thanks to God for it [the bread]. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.””—Corinthians 11:24

I am thinking that every object in the universe is pervaded by Christ consciousness. Perhaps, Jesus meant, when you look at bread (or any food), remember that I am in it, the whole cosmos is in it: the air, the rain, the sunshine, the earth. I am with you. Looking ahead, Jesus knew he was going to die soon, and maybe this thought of remembering him in the bread was a way to comfort the disciples that he is still with them in Spirit whenever they ate. It was to bring awareness.

“When I hold a piece of bread, I look at it, and sometimes I smile at it. The piece of bread is an ambassador of the cosmos offering nourishment and support. Looking deeply into the piece of bread, I see the sunshine, the clouds, the great earth. Without the sunshine, no wheat can grow. Without the clouds, there is no rain for the wheat to grow. Without the great earth, nothing can grow. That is why the piece of bread that I hold in my hand is a wonder of life. It is there for all of us. We have to be therefore it.”—Thich Nhat Hanh

“A cloud never dies.”—Thich Nhat Hanh




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Washing, Blessing and Anointing

When I was in New Mexico one summer, I saw a shape in the rocks that reminded me of Jesus washing and blessing his disciple’s feet, an anointing of a sort. In his example, we are encouraged to serve others.

In a recent gospel reading (John 12:1-11), Mary anoints Jesus with costly perfume and nard. St. Scholastica Retreat Center (on Facebook) posted this:

“Look around you today to see what needs your anointing. You can anoint with a glance of love, a smile, a word, an embrace, a piece of affirmation, or, of course, with oil. Pour out your love today in some kind of anointing.”

 

“The world will change because of your smile…To sit, to smile, to look at things and really see them—these form the basis of peace work.”—Thich Nhat Hanh




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The Breath

One refuge, anchor, can be our breath. It is with us no matter where we are, no matter what our emotional state is. The Spirit of God is in our breath. It is a gift. Our breath is a sign that God is with us. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests watching the breath from a point 2 fingerwidths below the navel, and even putting our hands at that point to make it easier to focus. Just watch the breath without trying to control it. Feel your hands moving outwards as you breathe in and back in again with each out breath. After some time, you will feel calmer as your breath naturally slows down. You will be more calm than when you were overcome with upsetting feelings and emotions.

Thich Nhat Hanh also suggests you can invite the Jesus in you to breathe for you. Then you can watch Jesus breathing in you, you can bring awareness to God’s presence in you. After witnessing the breath for some time, it will automatically slow down, and the mind will be calmer.




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