Why is it so hard to meditate, to sit completely still, with an empty mind, and do nothing? One would think it the easiest thing in the world. Like our default setting – what we always come back to. Breathing in – I know I am breathing in. Breathing out – I know I am breathing out. Connecting to the silence. Connecting to the peace. Connecting to the beauty of nature and the infinite source of strength within. Calming the breath. Slowing down the beat of the heart. Pausing between the thoughts. Feeling the mind snap wide open as the ocean. Yet we want to move. Thoughts are running away. We are here and there, in childhood and retirement, in yesterday and tomorrow, at our kindest and most critical. Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Fighting the urge to fall into old patterns of thought, patterns of movement. Breaking through the barrier of our potential as humans, one breath at a time. We think it is difficult to meditate. But not meditating is much harder. Pushing ourselves through the days. Fighting at every corner. Loosing touch with ourselves, each other and Mother Nature. Feeling alienated, exhausted. Thinking we are inadequate. Sensing something is missing. Taking a small step back from this world allows us to step lighter into a more beautiful and manageable version of it. Breathing in – I dwell in the present moment. Breathing out – it is a wonderful moment.
Buddhist meditation mantras by Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese monk and spiritual teacher, poet and peace activist.
Picture from Plum Village, his home outside Bergerac, France - a Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns and a mindfulness practice center open to anyone.