True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart

by Thich Nhat Hanh

I like Thich Nhat Hanh’s books, because its so beautiful in its simplicity, and so universal and trans-religion in its teaching. This is a short book, so it’s great for re-reading.

The book begins with a short Buddhist explanation on the four components of love: loving kindness, compassion, joy and freedom, and he offers examples for us to self examine our love to see how true it is. There are also practices such as meditation, mantras and breathing exercise.

One interesting exercise is telephone meditation. Whenever the phone rings, take it as the bell in a meditation. Draw a few breathes to center and calm the mind before answering. Very simple to do and it most certainly helps one reach a calmer and more focused state.

Another concept that really stays with me is “I think, therefore I am not here.” A lot of time we worry about the future, about the past, about things far away, and ignore what is here and present with us. We may hear but not listen to the person we are talking with face to face. We do not notice things on the path we walk, we are not aware of what we are eating, because our mind is somewhere else. This little twist on Descartes’ famous words is a wonderful way to remind ourselves to be more present and mindful, to be more fully immersed in our lives, so that we can respect the people we interact with, appreciate the food we intake, and experience our life. Whenever we find ourselves thinking too much, our mind too scattered, it’s worth repeating these words, to bring ourselves back to where we belong.

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Published in: on May 30, 2009 at 4:12 am  Leave a Comment  

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