If we are not empty, we become a block of matter. We cannot breathe, we cannot think. To be empty means to be alive, to breathe in and to breathe out. We cannot be alive if we are not empty. Emptiness is impermanence, it is change. We should not complain about impermanence, because without impermanence, nothing is possible. Through your love for each other, through learning the art of making one person happy, you learn to express your love for the whole of humanity and all beings. Please help us develop the curriculum for the Institute for the Happiness of One Person. Don’t wait until we open the school. You can begin practicing right away. If you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything.
“At the moment of waking up,
before getting out of bed,
get in touch with your breath,
feel the various sensations in your body,
note any thoughts and feeling that maybe present,
let mindfulness touch this moment,
Can you feel your breath?
Can you perceive the dawning of each in breath?
Can you enjoy the feeling of the breath freely
entering your body in this moment?
“Breathe in I smile,
breathe out I calm my body,
dwelling in the present moment,
it is a wonderful moment.”
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything. When a child presents himself to you with his smile, if you are not really there - thinking about the future or the past, or preoccupied with other problems - then the child is not really there for you. The technique of being alive is to go back to yourself in order for the child to appear like a marvelous reality. Then you can see him smile and you can embrace him in your arms.
Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness, we know what to do and what not to do to help. People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?
Reconciliation is to understand both sides to go to one side and describe the suffering being endured by the other side,and then go to the other side and describe the suffering being endured by the first side.
By: Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and a peace activist.