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
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]. /// Don’t Miss the Flower – A Short Zen Story from Thich Nhat Hanh
“Breathing in and out is very important, and it is enjoyable. Our breathing is the link between our body and our mind. Sometimes our mind is thinking of one thing and our body is doing another, and mind and body are not unified. By concentrating on our breathing, ‘In’ and ‘Out,’ we bring body and mind back together, and become whole again. Conscious breathing is an important bridge.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
The following meditation is an excerpt from the book, The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama:
Let us imagine a scenario in which someone who you know very well, someone who is close or dear to you, is in a situation in which he or she loses his or her temper. You can imagine this occurring either in a very acrimonious relationship or in a situation in which something personally upsetting is happening. The person is so angry that he or she has lost all his or her mental composure, creating very negative vibrations, even going to the extent of beating himself or herself up or breaking things.
Then, reflect upon the immediate effects of the person’s rage. You’ll see a physical transformation happening to that person. This person who you feel close to, who you like, the very sight of whom gave you pleasure in the past, now turns into this ugly person, even physically speaking. The reason why I think you should visualize this happening to someone else is because it is easier to see the faults of others than to see your own faults. So, using your imagination, do this meditation and visualization for a few minutes.
At the end of that visualization, analyze the situation and relate the circumstances to your own experience. See that you yourself have been in this state many times. Resolve that ‘I shall never let myself fall under the sway of such intense anger and hatred, because if I do that, I will be in the same position. I will also suffer all these consequences, lose my peace of mind, lose my composure, assume this ugly physical appearance,’ and so on. So once you make that decision, then for the last few minutes of the meditation focus your mind on that conclusion; without further analysis, simply let your mind remain on your resolution not to fall under the influence of anger and hatred.
Buy: The Art of Happiness from Amazon.
“People who study others are wise but those who study themselves are enlightened.” ~ Robin S. Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
“It may be more important to be awake than to be successful, balanced, or healthy. What does it mean to be awake? Perhaps to be living with a lively imagination, responding honestly and courageously to opportunity and avoiding the temptation to follow mere habit or collective values. It means to be an individual, in every instance manifesting the originality of who we are. This is the ultimate form of creativity – following the lead of the deep soul as we make a life.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
The following is an excerpt from Budo Secrets – Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters by John Stevens
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1 – Observe the Fundamental Rules
There is an etiquette to sitting meditation. One can sit either in seiza (formal Jamanese style on the knees, in the lotus posture, or in a straight-backed chair. One first needs to learn the rules for a proper meditation posture.
2 – Breathe from the Belly
The breath should be centered in the kikai tanden, a point about two inches beneath the navel. Breathing should be slow, rhythmic, and calm.
3 – Soothe the Spirit
As one settles down, petty thoughts, distracting emotions, and mental agitation should gradually melt away.
4 – Fulfillment
As worldly thoughts dissipate, one should fill the body with ki (life force) from the top of one’s head to the bottom of one’s feet. There should be a sense of completeness.
5 – Natural Wisdom
If one is calm, undisturbed, and unagitated, things can be seen in their true light, and this leads to the development of natural wisdom.
6 – Liberation
This means to to get caught up or snared by any particular object, physical or mental. It is a state of freedom.
7 – True Void
Just like a cloudless sky, the mind is clear and bright – its true state. Usually the limitless sky is obscured by clouds, sometimes very dark and thick, and this makes human beings downcast. Penetrate the clouds, however, and the light can be seen in full glory.
8 – Marvelous Function
For a realization to be authentic, one must be able to apply it in the actual world. True understanding is reflected in one’s technique and also in one’s daily life. This is the real battlefield where one’s enlightenment is constantly tested.
9 – Perfection
The Japanese term for this final “view” is enso, the “circle of Zen.” The circle is both perfectly empty and perfectly full; it is simultaneously transcendent and immanent.
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Proper understanding of these “Nine Views” leads to the insight that “the way of heaven is to achieve victory without fighting.”
By: Pico Iyer
Book Overview: Why might a lifelong traveler like Pico Iyer, who has journeyed from Easter Island to Ethiopia, Cuba to Kathmandu, think that sitting quietly in a room might be the ultimate adventure? Because in our madly accelerating world, our lives are crowded, chaotic and noisy. There’s never been a greater need to slow down, tune out and give ourselves permission to be still.
“In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating that going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still. You can go on vacation to Hawaii or New Orleans three months from now, and you’ll have a tremendous time, I’m sure. But if you want to come back feeling new – alive and full of fresh hope and in love with the world – I think the place to visit may be Nowhere.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness
“It takes courage, of course, to step out of the fray, as it takes courage to do anything that’s necessary, whether tending to a loved one on her deathbed or turning away from that sugarcoated doughnut. And with billions of our global neighbors in crying need, with so much in every life that has to be done, it can sound selfish to take a break or go off to a quiet place. But as soon as you do sit still, you find that it actually brings you closer to others, in both understanding and sympathy. As the meditative video artist Bill Viola notes, it’s the man who steps away from the world whose sleeve is wet with tears for it.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness
“It’s only by taking myself away from clutter and distraction that I can begin to hear something out of earshot and recall that listening is much more invigorating than giving voice to all the thoughts and prejudices that anyway keep me company twenty-four hours a day. And it’s only by going nowhere – by sitting still or letting my mind relax – that I find that the thoughts that come to me unbidden are far fresher and more imaginative than the ones I consciously seek out. Setting an auto-response on my e-mail, turning off the TV when I’m on the treadmill, trying to find a quiet place in the midst of a crowded day (or city) – all quickly open up an unsuspected space.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness
“One of the strange laws of the contemplative life is that in it you do not sit down and solve problems: you bear with them until they somehow solve themselves. Or until life solves them for you.” ~ Thomas Merton