It is all well and good to say humans feel pain, but need not suffer. HOWEVER, to do so without giving some concrete help and examples of how this is done for one who wishes to learn would be irresponsible.    I had a pointed email from one who was frustrated (which I completely understand) with pronouncements made on this blog without much being said on “how it’s done” to back it up, but as I have time constraints in my life at the moment that prevent me from sharing in my own words, I will differ to one of the living Masters.

I honestly cannot remember where I first learned of Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay).  Most likely I first came across him as I have a love of the teachings found in Zen.  He is a Buddhist monk originally from Vietnam, currently making his home base in France.  In my opinion he shares his life as a living teaching of what it is to breathe and walk each moment of ones now using the compassion born of mindfulness.  He knows what it is to witness and process the pain found in the human experience without the need for continual suffering.  He is an incredible powerhouse of peace…the real deal in my book.

Thay often speaks about how a lotus cannot grow and flower when placed on pristine marble, but to do so it must be rooted in the mud.  So it is with growing fierce compassion in our lives, as it so often is born out of great pain and suffering.  In his teachings, he looks for and asks what and where is your suffering, because knowing this is what initially can be a beginning foundation for growth.  For him, this growth is gifted by living with our pain in a mindful way.

For more on understanding the idea and practice of mindfulness to address pain and suffering, please enjoy this wonderful interview done by Krista Tippet from the show On Being:

It gives a wonderful peek at tools to help keep your heart open and soft in the face of pain, where understanding and compassion can be real answers to neutralize violence and suffering.

“Flowers can be on their way to becoming garbage
and garbage can be on it’s way to become flowers.
There is no need to fear garbage.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Who else would we want to carry a gun, other than one who can do it mindfully? (-Zen Nun…sorry I did not note if there was a name attached to comment)

“As my energy started to change,
the energy I got back from other people started to change”
-Cheri Maples, former police officer
now of The Center For Mindfulness and Justice

Transforming our suffering inside ourselves is the very thing that will transform the experience of living in the outside world.



I hold my face between my hands
no I am not crying

I hold my face between my hands
to keep my loneliness warm
two hands protecting
two hands nourishing
two hands to prevent

my soul from leaving me
in anger

-Thich Nhat Hanh


Want to know how to deal with pain in your life without having to suffer it?  Want to learn how to deal with your hurt, can’t, shouldn’t, limiting blah blah blah thoughts?  Listen to the words of the Thay (living teacher). This incredible man is peace embodied with every breath he gives and takes, every step he makes.

This entry was published on April 27, 2014 at 5:49 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “Flowerings

  1. YES. Thank you.

  2. caimbeul on said:

    Hi M. One of my favorite quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh: ” No mud, no lotus.”

  3. “How?” is the most incredible question of all time I think. I am quite sure I have spent life times at the business end of the high dive, asking myself “how” one transits the space between the board and the water. So many things could happen, go wrong even. Never having made this transit, I know so little about it. So I ask myself, “how?” The mind has great hope it can project itself into the experience and come back with the answer, but it cannot. I am always profoundly humbled when I realize that what I thought was a new and prickly difficulty, was simply my standing on the edge of the board, looking down at the water, and asking “how?”

    In ways that I continue to bump up against, I see that I still think transforming suffering is somehow “different” than diving into the water. I must have gotten into a brawl with a huge porcupine of reasons in a previous life, and one by one I am pulling them out the quills.

    I love Thich Nhat Hanh.


    • I adore that idea of a porcupine of reason. The next time I get the beginning hint of the sniff of the feeling of the prickles I am going to bring this nugget to mind! -x.M

  4. ~meredith on said:

    Left hand clapping.

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