“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
During these trying times, each of us finds a way to cope. The response I’m hearing most often from my author and illustrator friends is, “Make Something Beautiful.”
The simple act of creating something new is not only life affirming — it affords the creator the calm that comes with total immersion in a project. Writers often talk about “being in flow,” when you lose all sense of time and place, and the only thing that matters is the work.
I liken “being in flow” with mindfulness. When we are fully present there is no worry over future events or regret about the past.
“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
THE GOOD NEWS by Thich Nhat Hanh
They don’t publish
the good news.
The good news is published
We have a special edition every moment,
and we need you to read it.
The good news is that you are alive,
and the linden tree is still there,
standing firm in the harsh Winter.
The good news is that you have wonderful eyes
to touch the blue sky.
The good news is that your child is there before you,
and your arms are available:
hugging is possible.
They only print what is wrong.
Look at each of our special editions.
We always offer the things that are not wrong.
We want you to benefit from them
and help protect them.
The dandelion is there by the sidewalk,
smiling its wondrous smile,
singing the song of eternity.
Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
Bow your head.
Listen to it.
Leave behind the world of sorrow
and get free.
The latest good news
is that you can do it.
Plum Village, 1992
~ from Call Me By My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh (Parallax Press, 1999).
Recently, while I was feeling overwhelmed by the depressing, violent, politically ugly, oftentimes heartbreaking news of the world, this luminous poem quietly tapped me on the shoulder.
I took a few deep breaths, drank in the words, and felt so much better. I was reminded of the transformative power of poetry, that it is, in essence, a form of meditation. One does not have to be a practicing Buddhist to appreciate the value of mindfulness — a moment of stillness and clarity, to offer gratitude for the beating of your heart.
Poetry Friday is a place of good news, each blog a special edition, each participant a small miracle. It’s a safe haven, where the right words can help turn despair into compassion.
I thank you for this moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author, poet, teacher, peace and human rights activist, and world renown Zen Master who has published over 100 books. His conversations with Martin Luther King, Jr. likely convinced King to publicly oppose the Vietnam War. Dr. King nominated “Thay,” as he is known to his students, for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.
♥ Karissa is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at The Iris Chronicles. As Thay would say, “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”
#5 in an eclectic collection of notable noshes to whet your appetite and brighten your day.
The one absolutely essential requirement for the art of cooking is a love for its raw materials: the shape and feel of eggs, the sniff of flour, or mint, or garlic, the marvelous form and shimmer of a mackerel, the marbled red texture of a cut of beef, the pale green translucence of fresh lettuce, the concentric ellipses of a sliced onion, and the weight, warmth, and resilience of flour-dusted dough under your fingers. The spiritual attitude of the cook will be all the more enriched if there is a familiarity with barns and vineyards, fishing wharves and dairies, orchards and kitchen gardens.
~ from the food essay, “Murder in the Kitchen,” by Alan Watts, first published in Playboy Magazine (1969), included in DOES IT MATTER?: ESSAYS ON MAN’S RELATIONSHIP TO MATERIALITY (New World Library, 2007).
♥ Read Jaime O’Neill’s article, “For the Love of Food,” to learn more about “Murder in the Kitchen” and its relevance today.
Watts was a British philosopher, editor, writer and lecturer most widely known for his teachings on Eastern philosophy. He was also a sensualist who enjoyed cooking for the likes of Timothy Leary on his houseboat in Sausalito.