YesterdayI received a message that one of the greatest mindfulness and compassion teachers to grace this planet was in the hospital after experiencing a “severe brain hemorrage.” Signs show that he may pull through, but what a scare this has been for those who have been blessed by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. If you’ve been a reader of this blog or any of my work you may know how much he has influenced my work and my life. Thich Nhat Hanh or Thay as his followers call him is/was a sort of prophet of awakening and hope.
He said, “Because you are alive, everything is possible.”
He reminded us of the sacred ground we live on and how to walk on it:
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
He lived with wisdom and compassion and shared with us how we can oo, even with the difficult people in our lives:
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
He revealed to us the simple yet powerful ways to ignite the joy that’s within each of us:
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
He conveyed to reality of our authentic beauty and of radical self-acceptance:
To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
And the miracle of being alive…
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
And he gives us the simple wisdom to go forward:
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
As Thay leaves us in this physical form, the reality is he can never leave us. I know for me, he lives deeply in my heart and mind. He is transmitted through my writings and teachings and in this way he transcends time and death.
In his own words, here is why even when the day comes where his heart stops beating, why he will never die:
Take a moment to pause and if you’ve been touched by him, express your love and gratitude. If you feel so moved please express it in the comments below.
With a deep heart (and a smile for Thay),
Elisha Goldstein, PhD