From our partner:

Practicing Spirituality with Thich Nhat Hanh: An on-demand e-course led by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.


The Practice of Mindfulness

Written By Renée Miller

We often spend our days completely unaware of what is right in front of us. Instead we focus on  trying to get somewhere— trying to reach some destination. We want to get to the point of closing on a new house. We want to get to the place where we are finally successful in our career. We want to reach a point of financial security so we no longer struggle month to month. We want to get to the month of August when we're taking a Caribbean vacation. We want to get to the point of inner wholeness. It is as if we believe that traveling quickly through life will take us where we want to be, and then, when we arrive…then we will be happy. However, speeding always has its hazards, and speeding through life with only our destination in mind means we will miss the details along the way. 

While life is unfolding before us, we risk missing the breath and presence of the Holy One if we cannot slow down our speed and be present now. Spiritual teachers of all religious traditions have taught that the only way to really know God, to apprehend God, is to be aware of God’s presence in the moment. Brother Lawrence, a 17th Century lay monk wrote about the practice of being aware of God’s presence in the simple moments of every day. His consistent practice of mindfulness led him to write, “I am sure that my soul has been with God for more than thirty years.” And Jean Pierre de Caussade, a Jesuit priest who was born 16 years before Brother Lawrence died, stressed the importance of finding God through mindfulness. He wrote, “Nothing is more essential than breathing, sleeping and eating, yet nothing is more available.” De Cassaude was able to find God in the basics of life—through the intake of breath, through the act of eating, through the stillness of sleep.

Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh also teaches the practice of mindfulness,  helping us to stop our frenetic travel and realize that we have already arrived. This is the moment of life—here, now.  And God is present to us in this moment of life—here, now.  He says, “I have arrived.  Say that as you breathe in.  And whether you have arrived or not you know. Whether you are still running, you know.” 

Listen to Thich Nhat Hanh himself in these videos from a dharma talk at Plum Village meditation center in France. This retreat was for the Israeli and the Palestinian people.

Day 1 of 5

Day 6-11

Have you arrived or are you still traveling? Are you finding the Holy One in the present moment, or are you merely speeding through life hoping to find the Holy One at the end of your journey?