By Thich Nhat Hanh
April 21, 2020
Anyone who knows the practice of mindfulness knows that they have to go home to the present moment. When you do that, two things can happen. You might find there are so many conditions of happiness available right here and now. When you breathe in and bring your mind home to your body, you are established in the present moment. You find that there are so many refreshing and healing elements available in the present moment. There are also so many conditions of happiness available in the present moment.
With that awareness, it is easy to generate a feeling of joy and happiness. You can do this in order to nourish yourself with joy and happiness. But sometimes, when you go back to the present moment, you may encounter a painful emotion that is within you. We all have painful feelings or emotions that manifest from time to time. But when it begins to manifest, you don’t like to be there so you try to run away, pretending it’s not there. So, no one is there, to look after the painful feeling. Even if the present moment is unbearable, it is still our only chance to do something in order to calm the pain down and to transform it. But most people don’t do that because they are afraid that when they come home to themselves and feel the pain inside, they may be overwhelmed, by suffering. That is why they run away. Or else we escape into the past or future in the hope of forgetting, whereas only the present moment is real.
Most people also try to cover up the suffering inside by the practice of consumption. We read magazines, watch television, find something to eat, listen to music or pick up the phone to talk. We hope that by doing these things, we don’t have to confront the suffering in us. And we allow that pain to continue to grow in us. The practice of mindfulness helps us to go home to the present moment, so that we can understand the suffering and find a way to calm it down and transform it. So, the next time you find the present moment not pleasant, do not think that running away from it is the best way. It may be a chance to stay in the moment and look deeply into the nature of your suffering.
If you know how to practise mindful breathing or mindful walking, you can generate the energy of mindfulness. This will help you to be strong enough to recognise pain and embrace it tenderly. In a few minutes, you can calm it down. If there are other practitioners practising with you, you can profit from their energy of mindfulness and compassion.
Getting in touch with the suffering brings about an understanding of the suffering and the energy of compassion. These have the power to heal you and the people who happen to be around you at the time. And if there is a group of people practising together, embracing the suffering with tenderness, they will experience a collective energy of compassion. When they suffer less, they are in a situation to help other people do the same.
Ahimsa Trust, representing Thich Nhat Hanh, offers talks, retreats and Mindfulness Meditation practice; during lockdown, weekly sessions online by DharmacharyaShantum Seth. Call 8860694315.
Original Headline: If you want to be happy, embrace your pain
Source: The Times of India