Thich Nhat Hanh is a masterful monk, a renowned scholar, a famous poet, an authority on mindfulness, and a global spiritual leader.
Given the guy looks about 45 and he’s actually 90, he must be doing something right.
This piece shows five of his deepest insights on the most basic elements of living – existence, work, breathing, discipline, and rest – to be savoured in their immense beauty and wisdom from his work below:
A key element of Thich Nhat Hanh’s greatness is in his ability to show you the miracle of life in the mundane.
“When you’re using the toilet, let that be the most important thing in your life.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
He has an all-consuming, practical approach to living that celebrates the majesty of being.
His insights emanate a deep calm from within.
Such a calm is immensely powerful for a man in recovery, a man seeking to grow and a man facing a hectic life.
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”
In Thich Nhat Hanh’s philosophy, even the unmanageable becomes part of the magic.
His philosophy is one of deep mindfulness.
What is mindfulness? Simply being fully aware of where your consciousness is at in this very moment.
Below are five meditations to become masterly mindful in each area of your life.
“I think the real miracle is neither to walk on water or on air, but to walk on earth.
“Every day we are engaged in a miracle we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes.
“All is a miracle.”
“Whatever the tasks, do them slowly and with ease, in mindfulness.
“Don’t do any task to get it over with. Resolve to do any task in a relaxed way, with all your attention.
“Enjoy and be one with your work. Without this… mindfulness will be of no value at all.
“The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness.
“Take the example of the Zen Masters. No matter what task or motion they undertake, they do it slowly and evenly without reluctance.”
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.
“Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.
“Breathe in lightly a fairly long breath, conscious of the fact that you are inhaling a deep breath.
“Now breathe out all the breath in your lungs, remaining conscious the whole time of the exhalation.”
“You’ve got to practice meditation when you walk, stand, lie down, sit, and work, while washing the dishes, washing your hands, washing the floor, drinking tea, talking to friends…
“When you’re using the toilet, let that be the most important thing in your life.
Chopping wood is meditation, carrying water is meditation: Be mindful 24-hours a day.”
“Even a night of sleep doesn’t provide total rest. Twisting and turning, the facial muscles tense, all the while dreaming – hardly rest!
“It is possible to find rest in a sitting position, and in turn to advance deeper in meditation in order to resolve the worries and troubles that upset and block your consciousness.”