Mindfulness Monday – Thich Nhat Hanh On Fear

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When I am in need of comfort, and have a desire for knowledge, I often turn to the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.  His words resonate with me and make me feel understood.  I hope you find his words as compelling as I do.  (Thich Nhat Hanh is often referred to as Thầy, meaning Teacher, throughout this post I will also refer to him as Thầy)

Below you will find quotes by Thích Nhất Hạnh, from his book Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm. with comments by me on how these quotes reflect my life right now and help give me peace.

 

“The only way to ease our fear and be truly happy is to acknowledge our fear and look deeply at its source. Instead of trying to escape from our fear, we can invite it up to our awareness and look at it clearly and deeply.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

During the past week I have been having vertigo again, even though I’m feeling much better now, the fear of the possibility that things could get worse has been creeping up.  My first instinct is to run from this fear, or push it down and refuse its validity.   After reading this quote I realized how much I have been trying to escape from my fear, I now understand that I need to investigate it’s cause and think about it rationally.

“When we recognize that we have a habit of replaying old events and reacting to new events as if they were the old ones, we can begin to notice when that habit energy comes up. We can then gently remind ourselves that we have another choice. We can look at the moment as it is, a fresh moment, and leave the past for a time when we can look at it compassionately.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

Thầy really hit the nail on the head with this one.  For the sake of this post I will only talk about what has presently caused me to replay old events – a vertigo attack.  My automatic response to this attack was a flash back to my worst days experiencing vertigo.  The many days where I could do nothing but watch the world spin were suddenly replaying themselves in my mind.  It is refreshing to know that I have another choice.  I can take this attack as it is, a singular event, it is not part of my past  (well it is now…hopefully you get what I’m saying).  What happened this week was new, yes I’ve had thousands of vertigo attacks, but this was a different one, it was not one that I had already experienced, it was new.  It’s time to let the past go, to look at that time with compassion, especially for myself.

“We are very afraid of being powerless. But we have the power to look deeply at our fears, and then fear cannot control us.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

How liberating this quote is!  I often feel that everything in my life is out of my control, that I am powerless.  I lost so much of my independence and then got some back, the vertigo attack brought back all the times that I was so dependent on others for everything.  It’s that loss of control (power) that scares me.  Thầy teaches that we always have power over our fear, yes we will always feel fear, but if we look closely at our fears and really get to the root of it, we can then see that our fear does not control us, we control it.

 

I hope you enjoyed this variation on Mindfulness Monday, if it is well received I may do this type of post more often.  

*photo by W. Holcombe – night sky…yes it really is the moon..in Tucson.  Please do not use without permission.  All rights reserved.  ©

 

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Mindfulness Mondays: worry

“Do not lose yourself in the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. Do not get caught in your anger, worries or fears.Come back to the present moment, and touch life deeply. This is mindfulness.”

Thich Njat Hanh

“The day you stop worrying will be the first day of your new life; anxiety takes you in circles, trust in yourself and become free.”

Leon Brown

“Don’t believe every worried thought you have. Worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate.”

Renee Jain

As Wendy indicated, I will drop by from time to time to do the Mindfulness Monday post.

Finding mindfulness quotes concerning worry was an excellent therapeutic exercise.

As an added bonus because I really like the idea:

Worry is a misuse of your imagination.”

Curiano

Image: © Lorraine (Please do not use without permission)

Meaningful Monday – Suffering

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“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching,

and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be.

I have been bent and broken, but

—I hope—

Into a better shape.”

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“There is the solitude of suffering,

when you go through darkness that is

lonely, intense, and terrible.

Words become powerless to express your pain;

what others hear from your words is

so distant and different from what you are actually suffering.”

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

We must look deeply in order to understand

the needs, aspirations, and suffering

of the person we love.

This is the ground of real love”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

*photo by W. Holcombe.  Baby Opuntia (prickly pear) Cactus.  Please do not use without permission.

I did things a little differently this week, the not all of the quotes would be considered “mindful”, but I felt they were more meaningful this week.

 

 

Mindfulness Monday – Light

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“We have a light inside us.

The oil of the lamp is

our breathing. our steps,

and our peaceful smile.

Our practice is to the

light up the lamp.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

“Be a light unto yourself.”

~Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

“Find the light and

it will show you the path.

The path that is shown by

your own light is the

only path that is right.”

~Osho

 

 

*photo by W. Holcombe.  All rights reserved.  p

hoto first used in the 2018 Chronic Pain and Illness Photo Project, subject light

Mindfulness Monday – Shadow

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“Don’t chase after your thoughts

as a shadow follows it’s object.

Find joy and peace in this very moment.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

“Put your thoughts to sleep,

do not let them cast a shadow

over the moon of your heart.

Let go of thinking.

~ Rumi

 

“If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts,

happiness follows them

like a never-departing shadow'”

~ Buddha

 

** photo by W. Holcombe. My shadow.  all rights reserved.

 

 

Mindfulness Monday – walking

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“Step outside for a while –
calm your mind.
It is better to hug a tree than
to bang your head against a wall continually.”

~ Rasheed Ogunlaru

 

 

“Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk without
thinking of arriving anywhere.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

We’ve been having some nice days here, which means I’ve been able to get out of the house and walk a bit more.  The photo above shows something I saw on my walk.  It made me happy.

Come, walk with me.  Oh the wonders we shall see.  From the mountains to the sea.

 

*photo  by W. Holcombe.  All rights reserved.  Do not use without permission.

Mindfulness Monday – Giving

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“Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.”

~ Lao Tzu

 

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.
When mindfulness embraces those we love,
they will bloom like flowers.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

*artwork created and owned by W. Holcombe, please do not use without permission.