When we drink a glass of water, and if we know that we are drinking a glass of water, if we’re concentrated on the fact that we are drinking water, mindfulness is already there. And the water drinking becomes deeper, truer, and real. – Thich Nhat Hanh
Driving in the car on my journey north in search of magic and lost treasure — from Southern California to Southern Oregon — I’m listening to a talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, the wonderful Zen master and peace activist. I’m present and focused on listening as I drive…. (Being fully present with just driving can be exhausting after a while.)
Life can only be touched in the here and the now — the here contains the now, and the now contains the here — and that is why the practice is to go back to the present moment in order to touch life. Life has so many wonders within it, and if we do not go back to the present moment, we can never touch life with all the wonders….
Our appointment with life is in the present moment. If we miss the appointment, life is not for us. And that is why the practice of mindfulness is first of all the practice of being back to life and touching life in the present moment.
Haha — how often have I missed my appointment with life?
Mindfulness is available to anyone, any time — all it takes is a moment to become present and aware, connecting into this very moment.
But what about the Core Essence of who you are? How easy or hard is it to find and connect in with that?
Between the body and the mind there’s something else that links the two things, that is our breathing. When we touch our breathing — “Breathing in, I know I’m breathing in. Breathing out, I know I’m breathing out…” — our mind and body begins to come together. We don’t need to practice very long, we need to breathe in and out mindfully one time, two times, in order for our mind and body to come together.
Everyone can do that, including the very young people. And the fruit of the practice is called wonderness of body and mind, that can be obtained just after five or ten seconds.
You are distracted, you are not there…suddenly you go back to yourself, and you make yourself present — in the here and now — ready to touch life, ready to be aware of what is going on. That is the practice of mindfulness.
The wonderness of body and mind…the wonderness of life — Oh I love that! It doesn’t have to be all that complicated.
Just as easy as dropping into your breath, and letting it lead you into the wonderness of your Self.
All dimensions of who we are are available to us any time, anywhere, through simple presence.
The greatest gift you can make to your beloved one, is your presence. And that cannot be bought by money. When you love someone, you have to make yourself available available… “Darling, I am there for you.” That is the deepest love statement.
If you don’t make yourself available, if you don’t make yourself present, how can you love? And that is why the practice of mindfulness is the practice of love. — Thich Nhat Hanh
Consider… when making love, are you engaged in an apparent act, or are you engaged fully with body, mind and soul — an experience of transcendence and unity? (I’m thinking about this because of this amazing TED talk I watched with Esther Perel on Desire vs. Love).
Fully, whole-heart-body-mindedly present. There is a greater energy cultivated in this, and it can keep bringing you deeper and deeper into your essence, into the Heart of Love.
Imagine if all the people in the world practiced this simple mindfulness for just half their day, or half of the times in which they’re engaged with others, no matter what the reason.
As obvious and simple as it may be, I’m not sure there is a better, more efficient solution to the problems of this world. Simple, elegant, easy, powerful, world-changingly revolutionary…. the Energy of Mindfulness.
(And the Breath is the Bridge.)
All quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh’s talk, The Energy of Mindfulness, by Sounds True.