Notes from 'Peace is Every Step' Book
Leo writes minimalist tips from daily life that is easy to relate to. Thanks to quotes in his posts I got chance to meet Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk who helped to restore peace between the USA and Vietnam...
...and recently I've finished reading his book Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. What was it about?
Btw, Leo also writes little books. If there is one I enjoyed the most, it's The Little Book of Contentment. Not because it's free and short, but because it helped me to focus on my inner passion and my own meaning and fears that were stopping me.
I really enjoyed reading Peace is Every Step and it gave me a broader view of conflicts around me as well as deeper understanding of my inner conflicts and ways to enjoy the way I am. Without judging myself against past or future and other, yet acting with more loving kindness and courage to overcome past fears and failures.
Instead of a random summary, I'll leave you to absorb a handful of quotes that really resonated with me.
We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be.
When I hold a bowl of rice or a piece of bread, I know that I am fortunate, and I feel compassion for all those who have no food to eat and are without friends or family. This is a very deep practice.
The foundation of happiness is mindfulness. The basic condition for being happy is our consciousness of being happy. If we are not aware that we are happy, we are not really happy.
Enlightenment, peace, and joy will not be granted by someone else.
There is no way to peace, peace is the way.
Mindful observation is based on the principle of "non- duality": our feeling is not separate from us or caused merely by something outside us; our feeling is us, and for the moment we are that feeling. We are neither drowned in nor terrorized by the feeling, nor do we reject it. Our attitude of not clinging to or rejecting our feelings is the attitude of letting go, an important part.
When we have something irregular in our body, too often they advise us to have an operation. The same seems to be true in psychotherapy. Therapists want to help us throw out what is unwanted and keep only what is wanted. But what is left may not be very much. If we try to throw away what we don't want, we may throw away most of ourselves.
We do not need surgery to remove our anger. If we become angry at our anger, we will have two angers at the same time. We only have to observe it with love and attention.
A teacher has to give birth to the teacher within his student, and a psychotherapist has to give birth to the psychotherapist within his patient.
His dishonesty and hatefulness may be real, imaginary, or exaggerated, but, in fact, the root of the problem is the anger itself, and we have to come back and look first of all inside ourselves. It is best if we do not listen to or look at the person whom we consider to be the cause of our anger. Like a fireman, we have to pour water on the blaze first and not waste time looking for the one who set the house on fire.
When we are angry, our anger is our very self. To suppress or chase it away is to suppress or chase away our self. When we are joyful, we are the joy. When we are angry, we are the anger. When anger is born in us, we can be aware that anger is an energy in us, and we can accept that energy in order to transform it into another kind of energy.
The key is knowing a person's suchness. We do not expect a person always to be a flower. We have to understand his or her garbage as well.
"Whenever you miss me, look into your hand, and you will see me immediately." How penetrating these simple, sincere words!
We often ask, "What's wrong?" Doing so, we invite painful seeds of sorrow to come up and manifest. We feel suffering, anger, and depression, and produce more such seeds. We would be much happier if we tried to stay in touch with the healthy, joyful seeds inside of us and around us. We should learn to ask, "What's not wrong?" and be in touch with that.
We don't need to wait until we have asthma to enjoy our breathing.
Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.
"Mommy, remember to water me. I am your lettuce." I was so pleased that she had understood my point completely. Then I heard her mother reply, "Yes, my daughter, and I am your lettuce also. So please don't forget to water me too."
Once there is seeing, there must be acting. Otherwise, what is the use of seeing?
We get angry, we shout, but rarely do we rise above all this to look at a conflict the way a mother would who is watching her two children fighting. She seeks only their reconciliation.
There are few things to do. The first thing is to take the time to say, "I am sorry, I hurt you out of my ignorance, out of my lack of mindfulness, out of my lack of skillfulness. I will try my best to change myself. I don't dare to say anything more to you."
There were "boat people" who were just one or two years old, who were about to be sent back to their country because they were classified as illegal immigrants. They had lost both father and mother during the trip. When you see that kind of suffering, you know that the suffering your friends in Europe and America are undergoing is not very great.
Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.
Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
I have enjoyed our journey together. I hope you have enjoyed it too. We shall see each other again.
Did you? Give a try to free first chapter to Kindle app