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Don’t Miss the Flower – A Short Zen Story from Thich Nhat Hanh

One day the Buddha held up a flower in front of an audience of 1,250 monks and nuns.  He did not say anything for quite a long time.  The audience was perfectly silent.  Everyone seemed to be thinking hard, trying to see the meaning behind the Buddha’s gesture.

Then, suddenly, the Buddha smiled.  He smiled because someone in the audience smiled at him and at the flower.  The name of that monk was Mahakashyapa.  He was the only person who smiled, and the Buddha smiled back and said, “I have a treasure of insight, and I have transmitted it to Mahakashyapa.”

That story has been discussed by many generations of Zen students, and people continue to look for its meaning.  To me the meaning is quite simple.  When someone holds up a flower and shows it to you, he wants you to see it.  If you keep thinking, you miss the flower.  The person who was not thinking, who was just himself, was able to encounter the flower in depth, and he smiled.

That is the problem of life.  If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.  When a child presents himself to you with his smile, if you are not really there—thinking about the future or the past, or preoccupied with other problems—then the child is not really there for you.  The technique of being alive is to go back to yourself in order for the child to appear like a marvelous reality.  Then you can see him smile and you can embrace him in your arms.

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If you enjoyed this story you can find more quotes, resources, and info from the book below:

Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

By: Thich Nhat Hanh

Book Overview: In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. For him a ringing telephone can be a signal to call us back to our true selves. Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. The most profound satisfactions, the deepest feelings of joy and completeness lie as close at hand as our next aware breath and the smile we can form right now.

Post(s) Inspired by this Book:  13 Powerful Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Happiness, Anger, and Peace  ///  Focus on what’s going RIGHT – The Power of Mindfulness [VIDEO].

Quotes from Book! Buy from Amazon!
 

Are You Starving For Love or Radiating Love in Abundance? The Story of The Magical Kitchen.

The Magical Kitchen

The following is an excerpt from The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz.  In it, you will find a powerful analogy that will help you better understand your capacity for love and how relationships can squander love if you’re not careful.  We hope it helps!  Enjoy 🙂


Imagine that you have a magical kitchen in your home.  In that magical kitchen, you can have any food you want from any place in the world in any quantity.  You never worry about what to eat; whatever you wish for, you can have at your table.  You are very generous with your food; you give your food unconditionally to others, not because you want something in return from them.  Whoever comes to your home, you feed just for the pleasure of sharing your food, and your house is always full of people who come to eat the food from your magical kitchen.

Then one day someone knocks at your door, and it’s a person with a pizza.  You open the door, and the person looks at you and says, “Hey, do you see this pizza?  I’ll give you this pizza if you let me control your life, if you just do whatever I want you to do.  You are never going to starve because I can bring pizza every day.  You just have to be good to me.”

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The Place Where You Get Off

The Place Where You Get Off

Photo by Jon Ellis

Outside the station, she stands with her child on the side of the street, taking pictures of cars.

You think she’s insane. Until, one day, you notice that she’s taking pictures of the license plates of the cars her child gets into.

Because you look. But you do not see.

And she walks out the shop with bags full of cat food. You think she’s some crazy cat lady until you find out, she has no cats.

Because you eat. But you do not taste.

It’s been a while since their last album but he assures you, he’s doing just fine these days, white flecks in his nostrils. Then he asks you if he can spend the night on your couch, even though it stinks.

Because you sniff. But you do not smell.

And they say “Just OK” when you ask them how school was. Then you wonder what they’re hiding until you find their diary and the last entry reads “I wish you’d give me some privacy.”

Because you listen. But you do not hear.

And they’ve got a bruise over their eye and you run the tips of your fingers over it and ask them how it happened. You believe them. Until it happens again.

Because you touch. But you do not feel.

And they walk past you everyday, one million stories, each waiting to be told. Waiting for you to ask.

Because you live. But very few, love.

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The above was an excerpt from the book, I Wrote This For You by Iain Thomas.

 

3 Steps to Leading a More Disciplined Life.

3 Steps to Leading a More Disciplined Life.

Motivation can be powerful for short term spurts of high intensity productivity.  Discipline, however, is the key to long term success.

Motivation is fickle and requires constant attention.  Discipline is reliable and becomes a way in which you lead your life.

What we’re lacking in the world isn’t sources of motivation—it’s self-discipline.

Type in “motivational video” into Google and you’ll get upwards of 13,000,000 results!  And I’ll be the first to admit that most of the videos are incredibly motivational!

The problem is that motivation wanes fairly quickly and it is weak when challenged.

All it takes to throw off a persons motivation is a slight loss in sleep; a hungry tummy; an endless social media timeline; a phone call; a comfy bed…  We’ve all been there.

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13 Powerful Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Happiness, Anger, and Peace

Thich Nhat Hanh

In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us.  In his book, Peace is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh discusses solutions and action steps to universal challenges and issues that we face as humans.  These challenges and issues include: overcoming anxiety, fear, and depression and how to feel more fulfilled, calm, and happy in the present moment; understanding anger and learning how to live in a more compassionate, blissful state; and bringing peace to both our inner and outer worlds with every step we take in life.

One of the fundamental lessons that Thich Nhat Hanh communicates in his book is that any large scale change – on a community or global level – must (and always) starts with the individual.  Peace work is not a means, Nhat Hanh reminds us, it is the way.  In the forward to the book, the Dalai Lama introduces this point and discusses the importance of becoming a more compassionate, mindful, and peaceful person and the ripples that our actions have on the larger scale.  He says: Continue reading

 

So, You Want the Perfect Relationship? Brace Yourself… Because Your Dog is About to School You.

The Perfect Relationship

Imagine a perfect relationship.  You are always intensely happy with your partner because you live with the perfect woman or man for you.  How would you describe your life with this person?

Well, the way you relate with this person will be exactly the way you relate with a dog.  A dog is a dog.  It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s going to be a dog.  You are not going to change a dog for a cat or a dog for a horse; it is what it is.

Just accepting this fact in your relations with other humans is very important.  You cannot change other people.  You love them the way they are or you don’t.  You accept them the way they are or you don’t.  To try to change them to fit what you want them to be is like trying to change a dog for a cat, or a cat for a horse.  That is a fact.  They are what they are; you are what you are.  You dance or you don’t dance.  You need to be completely honest with yourself—to say what you want, and see if you are willing to dance or not.  You must understand this point, because it is very important.  When you truly understand, you are likely to see what is true about others, and not just what you want to see.

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12 Minimalist Quotes from Everything That Remains by The Minimalists

The Minimalists

The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.  Everything That Remains is a book about reprioritizing your materialistic desires with experiential desires.  It’s about spending less money at the mall and about spending more time with friends; about wasting less money on fancy cars and designer clothes and investing more money into trips to new places and people you hold dear; about focusing on ways that you can enrich your life rather than ways you can become rich.

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Emotional Poison in Relationships — What It Is and How To Stop The Cycle.

Emotional Poison in Relationships. What It Is and How To Stop The Cycle.

Emotional poison is created by our reaction to what we consider injustice.  Some wounds will heal, others will become infected with more and more poison.  Once we are full of emotional poison, we have the need to release it, and we practice releasing the poison by sending it to someone else.  How do we do this?  By hooking that person’s attention.

Let’s take an example of an ordinary couple.  For whatever reason, the wife is mad.  She has a lot of emotional poison from an injustice that comes from her husband.  The husband is not home, but she remembers that injustice and the poison is growing inside.  When the husband comes home, the first thing she wants to do is hook his attention because once she hooks his attention, all the poison can go to her husband and she can feel the relief.  As soon as she tells him how bad he is, how stupid or unfair he is, that poison she has inside her is transferred to the husband.

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Do You Have a, “Life GPS?” This Guy Does. And It’s Two Sentences Long.

Life GPS

If you had to boil down your life’s guiding principles to two sentences… What would they be?

…Only two sentences?  …To guide you through life?

…Tough.  I know.

Well, during a conversation with one of my students, Aaron, I discovered two sentences that were intricately tied to how he lived his life which impacted me deeply and compelled me to investigate further.

These two sentences came from one of Aaron’s mentors, Melvin Scott—a man he crossed paths with at a gym when he was a young teenager.

The influence Melvin had on Aaron and the impact those two sentences have had on his life ever since is unquestionable and speaks to the power of two key principles: Continue reading

 

Malcolm X’s Alma Mater – And How Choosing Between ‘Dead Time’ and ‘Alive Time’ Can Change Your Life.

Malcolm X's Alma Mater - Books.

Malcolm X was a criminal.  He wasn’t Malcolm X at the time – they called him Detroit Red and he was a criminal opportunist who did a little bit of everything.  He ran numbers.  He sold drugs.  He worked as a pimp.  Then he moved up to armed robbery.  He had his own burglary gang, which he ruled over with a combination of intimidation and boldness – exploiting the fact that he did not seem afraid to kill or die.

Then, finally, he was arrested trying to fence an expensive watch he’d stolen.  He was carrying a gun at the time, though to his credit he made no move to fight the officers who had trapped him.  In his apartment, they found jewelry, furs, an arsenal of guns, and all his burglary tools.

He got ten years.  It was February 1946.  He was barely twenty-one years old.

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6 Steps to Mastering the Move Forward Game.

Mastering the Move Forward Game

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Step 1:  Master Your Mindset

I see people become victims of their circumstances and life challenges all of the time.  When life gets tough or depressing, most will adopt a negative perspective and think to themselves about how unfair life is: how they should have been born into better circumstances with more money; or how they should have been given better opportunities; or how things should have happened differently.  

Well, the truth of the matter is that life is going to happen – sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.  The one true thing that you will always have 100% control over is your response to these events.  When you adopt a positive attitude and always look for the good in any given circumstance – how could you not move forward…?  Below are some of our most popular posts on mastering your mindset!  Start by reading these:

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Is Social Media Bad?

speaking-out

Social media seems to have developed a stigma, especially with certain folks, that it’s purely distractive and purely a waste of time.

…I admit that I’ve taken that stance before, but now I see that social media is not purely distractive or a waste of time, but rather is purely what you make it.

It’s a platform.

…Just like the raised surface that a person uses when they are trying to communicate an idea to an audience.

A person can stand up on a platform and say boring, irrelevant, energy draining things – or they can stand up and say exciting, interesting, action-oriented things.

It’s up to the person on the platform to choose what they want to say and it’s up to the audience to give them feedback as to whether or not they want to hear more or less of that in the future.

Give a person an audience and they will continue to say more of what captivated that audience.  Take the audience away and they will quickly seek to change their presentation.

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Are You a Fire Type, a Water Type, or a Gas Type? …And I’m Not Talking About Pokémon.

fire-vs-water

Sharing weaknesses is never easy.

It leaves you feeling vulnerable and feeble and the ego absolutely hates that.

The ego only wants to talk about the strengths, the victories, the accomplishments, etc.

…But meaning and fulfillment don’t come from feeding the ego – they come from feeding the soul.

…And it’s time for some soul food.

One of my weaknesses is that I’m exceedingly anti-confrontational.

In order to avoid a conflict, either verbally or physically, I’ll shut down, close my mouth and try and separate myself from the situation as fast as possible.

There have been times when I have chosen to remain silent about things that I believed to be wrong, unjust, or hurtful.

I was the bystander; the watcher; the one who becomes the gas for the fire of hate.

And it kills me inside to know I acted (or didn’t act) this way.

When it comes to making a difference in the world, you’re either a fire type, a water type, or a gas type.

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15 Dalai Lama Quotes That Will Make You Think Deeply About Happiness, Suffering, and the Purpose of Life.

"Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time." ~ Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama has been a source of inspiration for millions of people and has had a huge impact across the globe. His message is simple:  Live a compassionate life and act with kindness towards ALL living beings – happiness will follow.  And happiness, in his opinion, is the purpose of life.

But wouldn’t the pursuit of happiness for one’s self be a selfish way to live?

Not according to the Dalai Lama.   Continue reading

 

3 Simple Steps to Making Lifestyle Changes That Last.

3 Simple Steps to Making Lifestyle Changes That Last.

Sticking to a new diet or exercise regime is one of the biggest challenges people in our society face today.

One of the fundamental reasons why, I believe, is because most people commit to the change with the wrong time frame in mind.

In fact, I believe most people disregard the true timeframe that we should be committing to for any lifestyle change in general.

Let’s get this straight.

Temporary changes lead to temporary results.

Lifestyle changes lead to life-long results.

The fad diets you’ve tried?  Temporary changes.

The incredibly intense workout regimes that only lasted a few weeks?  Temporary changes.

The underlying principles for many of the fad diets and exercise regimes are sound and make sense but so many of them are incredibly unsustainable and aren’t made to last (for a lifetime).

Yo-yoing up and down and up and down through fad diets and hard workouts is frustrating.

Constant and never ending improvement is motivating.

How do we get there?

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