A number of years ago, I read a few pages out of a book called “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Hanh. I had never heard of “mindfulness” before, but knew from those few pages that this practice of trying to be in the moment was something I could utilize. Honestly, I have never read the entire book since then. I’ve picked it up a few times and read some pages, but have never completed the book. It sits by my bed, and I swear, it’s next on my list. Right now though, I’m reading another book by Hanh called “Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames.”
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Thich Nhat Hanh, for those who don’t know, is a very well-respected Buddhist monk. He lives in France, but is from Vietnam. If you want to learn more, search for him. There’s LOTS of info out there. Here is a good starting point: Thich Nhat Hanh Anyway, it’s through Hanh that I first learned about mindfulness and with this book, he explores how to deal with negative emotions through the use of meditation, breathing, walking, and mindfulness.
What follows are excerpts from this book, on pages that I dog-eared. I hope you can take the time to read them, and then, even more importantly, to think on them and try to apply some of these ideas in your life.
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Two nights ago, I read about “The Five Remembrances” and they seemed very much like something worth sharing. Here they are, for your pleasure and contemplation. TLF
- I am of the nature to grow old. I cannot escape old age.
- I am of the nature to have ill health. I cannot escape ill health.
- I am of the nature to die. I cannot escape dying.
- All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them. I cannot keep anything. I come here empty-handed, and I go empty-handed. (this reminds of the song lyrics “I came to this world with nothing, and I leave with nothing but love; everything else is just borrowed.” That is from the song “Everything Is Borrowed” by The Streets. TLF)
- My actions are my only true belongings. (emphasis added) I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.
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- Your party exists in order to serve your country, not to create difficulties for another party or the party in power. So, as a politician, you have to practice non-duality. You have to see that compassion is above any political affiliation. This is not partisan politics, but intelligent politics. They are politics that are humane, that aim at the well-being and the transformation of society, not just at gaining power.
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Re: Police and Compassion
- To be kind does not mean to be passive. To be compassionate does not mean to allow others to walk all over you, to all yourself to be destroyed…If you need to lock someone up because he is dangerous, then you have to do that. But you have to do it with compassion. Your motivation is to prevent that person from continuing his course of destruction and from feeding his anger.
- And if you practice mindful living, you have to help the policeman act out of compassion and non-fear. The police in our time are full of fear, anger, and stress, because they have been assaulted many times. Those who hate the police and insult them don’t understand the police yet. In the morning, when the police put on their uniform and guns, they are not sure that they will return home alive in the evening. The police suffer very much. Their families suffer very much.
- So, as a police chief, if you really understand the minds and hearts of the people on your police force, you will train yourself in such a way that compassion and understanding will be born in your heart.
- You have to keep peace in yourself first. And peace here means non-fear, intelligence, and insight.
- You have to act out of non-fear.
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Re: the Sunshine Behind the Clouds
- When it is raining, we think that there is no sunshine. But if we fly high in an airplane and go through the clouds, we rediscover the sunshine again…In a time of anger or despair, our love is still there also.
- Our capacity to communicate , to forgive, to be compassionate is still there. You have to believe this.
- We are more than our anger,
- we are more than our suffering.
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- During the time the other person speaks, he may be very judgmental, only blaming and punishing. Hey may be very bitter and cynical. Yet, because compassion is still in you, this does not affect you.
- What the other person says will not touch off the anger and irritation in your, because compassion is the real antidote for anger. Nothing can heal anger except compassion.
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- In the beginning you told each other, “I cannot live without you. My happiness depends on you.” You made declarations like that. But when you are angry, you say the opposite: “I don’t need you! “Don’t come near me! Don’t touch me!”…You try to demonstrate that you don’t need the other person. That is a very human, very ordinary tendency. But this is not wisdom. Happiness is not an individual matter. If one of you is unhappy, it will be impossible for the other person to be happy.