Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh: only love can save us from climate change
Leading spiritual teacher warns that if people cannot save themselves from their own suffering, how can they be expected to worry about the plight of Mother Earth
21 January, 2013
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the world's leading spiritual teachers, is a man at great peace even as he predicts the possible collapse of civilisation within 100 years as a result of runaway climate change.
Look beyond fear
Confront the truthThay suggests that our search for fame, wealth, power and sexual gratification provides the perfect refuge for people to hide from the truth about the many challenges facing the world. Worse still, our addiction to material goods and a hectic lifestyle provides only a temporary plaster for gaping emotional and spiritual wounds, which only drives greater loneliness and unhappiness.
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A moment of contemplation
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Guided Meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh
"I See You In Me, And Me In You." InterBeing with Thich Nhat Hanh.
A Mindful Gift from Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) to All of Us
By ELISHA GOLDSTEIN, PH.D.
These are the short phrases he weaves into breathing or walking that helps us be more present, loving, grounded, and aware in daily life. If you don’t already, consider trying these out as an experiment in your daily life and seeing what you notice.
- You may take three steps while breathing in and say “Breathing in, I calm my body” and then with the following three steps “Breathing out, I relax.” You can then shorten this to saying “calm” as you breathe in, and “relax” as you breathe out.
- “Breathing in, I have arrived, breathing out, I am home.” Then shorten too “Breathing in, arrived, breathing out, home.” Have you ever had the experience where you were rushing home to relax. It doesn’t make sense and isn’t effective is calming the nervous system. Sometimes reminding ourselves that we have arrived to the present moment already and that we are home can help calm an anxious mind. We can then slow down and get home a few minutes later in a more collected and relaxed state.
- “Breathing in, I wash my hands, breathing out, may I use them wisely throughout the day.” Shorten to, “Breathing in, washing, breathing out, wise hands.” This practice can not only bring appreciation to one of the unsung heroes of our bodies, our hands, but also reinforce the idea of being aware of all they do during the day and being more mindful with them. This cultivation of appreciation can support us in feeling well.
These are just some examples; you can make up your own that fit for you. You can do this while walking or just sitting and breathing. And ofcourse, most important of all, don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. If it’s not for you, cast it aside, but give it a shot. Pay attention to how you are feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally before doing it and then again after you do it for a few breaths.
No matter how many breaths Thay has left, his life has touched millions and he will never leave us.