You are here and nowhere else

I was sad to hear that Thich Nhat Hanh died yesterday. He seemed a very kind man and had a very cool job title: Zen Master. I won’t reel off all the amazing work he did and it would impossible to sum up all his 100+ books, but I wanted to acknowledge his presence and share a few of his words.

I read his book You are here last January when my mind was anywhere but present. It was the perfect read to slow down my thinking and bring me back to where I needed to be and not lost in the future.

“When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?”Thich Nhat Hanh

He had a very simple way of describing how peace and happiness were possible even in situations that might not be leading to the outcome you hoped.

“The more freedom you have, the more happiness you have.”

And that the real freedom you can find is freedom of mind. Once you uncover your own freedom of mind, it is there at any given moment; you are free to feel alive in every second.

“Happiness can be attained by letting go, including letting go of your ideas about happiness.”

Holding on to ideas of what should make you happy, whether physical, material or conceptual, stop you from experiencing the world as it is.

You need to be nothing more than who you already are, without all the muddy thoughts blocking your experience.

“What you are looking for is already in you… You already are everything you are seeking.”

Like most Buddhists, he talked of the impermanence of life. How the knowledge that we will die can either make us live in anxiety and fear or drive us to see every day with joy and wonder.

“Don’t wait to start living. Live now! Your life should be real in this very moment.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

He questioned whether the most wonderful day you will live has already happened, or are you waiting for it? I hope he had many wonderful days.

This post is part of a series of atomic essays on Twitter for #Ship30for30

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