By: Iain Thomas
Book Overview: “I need you to understand something. I wrote this for you. I wrote this for you and only you. Everyone else who reads it, doesn’t get it.”
Started 2007, I Wrote This For You is an acclaimed exploration of hauntingly beautiful words, photography and emotion that’s unique to each person that reads it. This book gathers together nearly 200 of the most beautiful entries into four distinct chapters; Sun, Moon, Stars, Rain. Together with several new and exclusive entries that don’t appear anywhere else, each chapter of I Wrote This For You focuses on a different facet of life, love, loss, beginnings and endings.
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.
—— —— ——
The above was an excerpt from the book, I Wrote This For You by Iain Thomas.
“Before you call someone lazy or judge them, try to imagine their perspective, beliefs, and abilities and forget yours. That is, respond with curiosity and empathy. When you do, I predict you’ll find yourself understanding their choices. You may not like their beliefs and choices, but you’ll understand them.” ~ Joshua Spodek
“We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love. We must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the person we love. This is the ground of real love. You cannot resist loving another person when you really understand him or her.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
— The More: —
Take Action: From time to time, sit close to the one you love, hold his or her hand, and ask, “Darling, do I understand you enough? Or am I making you suffer? Please tell me so that I can learn to love you properly. I don’t want to make you suffer, and if I do so because of my ignorance, please tell me so that I can love you better, so that you can be happy.” If you say this in a voice that communicates your real openness to understand, the other person may cry. That is a good sign, because it means the door of understanding is opening and everything will be possible again.
Comment: Do you feel that you and your partner understand each other deeply? If so, what methods have kept the doors of understanding so open for you and your relationship?
“When you understand, you cannot help but love. You cannot get angry. To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all loving beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you cannot help but love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
— The More: —
Quote in action: Suppose your son wakes up one morning and sees that it is already quite late. He decides to wake up his younger sister, to give her enough time to eat breakfast before going to school. It happens that she is grouchy and instead of saying, “Thank you for waking me up,” she says, “Shut up! Leave me alone!” and kicks him. He will probably get angry, thinking, “I woke her up nicely. Why did she kick me?” He may want to go to the kitchen and tell you about it, or even kick her back. But then he remembers that during the night his sister coughed a lot, and he realizes that she must be sick. Maybe she behaved so meanly because she has a cold. At that moment, he understands, and he is not angry at all anymore.
Comment: Have you ever had a moment of understanding that dissolved all of your anger towards another person?
“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look into the reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like lettuce. Blaming has not positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
“Someone who speaks badly to us may have been spoken to in exactly the same way just the day before, or by his alcoholic father when he was a child. When we see and understand these kinds of causes, we can begin to be free from our anger. I am not saying that someone who viciously attacks us should not be disciplined. But what is most important is that we first take care of the seeds of negativity in ourselves. Then if someone needs to be helped or disciplined, we will do so out of compassion, not anger and retribution. If we genuinely try to understand the suffering of another person, we are more likely to act in a way that will help him overcome his suffering and confusion, and that will help all of us.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
“Anger is rooted in our lack of understanding of ourselves and of the causes, deep-seated as well as immediate, that brought about this unpleasant state of affairs. Anger is also rooted in desire, pride, agitation, and suspicion. The primary roots of our anger are in ourselves. Our environment and other people are only secondary. It is not difficult for us to accept the enormous damage brought about by a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a flood. But when damage is caused by another person, we don’t have much patience. We know that earthquakes and floods have causes, and we should see that the person who has precipitated our anger also has reasons, deep-seated and immediate, for what he has done.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
“Today many people live the external life exclusively, and when the inner world erupts or stirs, they rush to a therapist or druggist for help. They try to explain profound mythic developments in the language of behavior and experience. Often they have no idea what is happening to them, because they have been so cut off from the deep self. Their own soul is so alien to them that they are unaware of what is going on outside the known realm of fact. Former methods of keeping in touch with the inner life have gone out of mode. Diaries, letters, and deep conversations help focus attention on developments and materials that lie beneath the surface. Only one hundred years ago, without benefit of typewriters and word processors, people kept elaborate, long and detailed diaries and notebooks. We seem to have left behind these methods of reflection in favor of technologies for action.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self