Thich Nhat Hanh

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    After a retreat in southern California, an artist asked me, “What is the way to look at a flower so that I can make the most of it for my art?” I said, “If you look in that way, you cannot be in touch with the flower. Abandon all your projects so you can be with the flower with no intention of exploiting it or getting something from it.”
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    Whenever we take a bath or a shower, if we look closely at our body, we will see that it is a gift from our parents and their parents. As we wash each part of our body, we can meditate on the nature of the body and the nature of life, asking ourselves, “To whom does this body belong? Who has given this body to me? What has been given?” If we meditate in this way, we will discover that there are three components: the giver, the gift, and the one who receives the gift. The giver is our parents; we are the continuation of our parents and our ancestors. The gift is our body itself. The one who receives the gift is us. As we continue to meditate on this, we see clearly that the giver, the gift, and the receiver are one. All three are present in our body. When we are deeply in touch with the present moment, we can see that all our ancestors and all future generations are present in us. Seeing this, we will know what to do and what not to do—for ourselves, our ancestors, our children, and their children.
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    If love is in our heart, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle. Because understanding is the very foundation of love, words and actions that emerge from our love are always helpful.
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    As soon as we pay attention to our breath, as we breathe in, these three things—body, breath, and mind—come together. This can happen in just one or two seconds. You come back to yourself.
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    Each minute we spend worrying about the future and regretting the past is a minute we miss in our appointment with life—a missed opportunity to engage life and to see that each moment gives us the chance to change for the better, to experience peace and joy.
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    We are what we feel and perceive. If we are angry, we are the anger. If we are in love, we are love.
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    You may not want to meditate so conspicuously, but breathing mindfully in any position at any time can help you recover yourself.
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    the simple “In-Out” exercise, we can recite these four lines silently as we breathe in and out:
    Breathing in, I calm my body.
    Breathing out, I smile.
    Dwelling in the present moment,
    I know this is a wonderful moment!
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    “Every time you see a car with that sentence, ‘Je me souviens,’ remember to breathe and smile. It is a bell of mindfulness.
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    There is a word in Buddhism that means “wishlessness” or “aimlessness.” The idea is that you do not put something in front of you and run after it, because everything is already here, in yourself.
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