Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the 1968 Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He did not win the Nobel, but it was a great honor nonetheless. He was banished from his home country Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He led a group of Buddhist monks who were actively seeking peace in their country which invited the disdain of both sides.
“Thay” (teacher), as he is known by his followers, founded a retreat called Plum Village in France. Vietnam’s loss has been the West’s gain. For the past 45 years, Thich Nhat Hanh has taught, written, and spoken on his brand of “Engaged Buddhism” in Europe, the U.S., and around the world.
I first became aware of his work about 30 years ago when I picked up a book titled “Peace is Every Step”. Since I have read many of his other books. One of my favorite passages from any of his books – in fact one my favorite things I’ve ever read – is his brief essay on Inter-being.
Today I’d like to share this beautiful and powerful insight with all of you. I hope it transforms the way you think about the interconnectedness of the people and things around you.
If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-” with the verb “to be,” we ha vea new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.
If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And wesee the wheat. We now the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.
Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. “To be” is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.
Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of “non-paper elements.” And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without “non-paper elements,” like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.
Before she became a presidential candidate earlier this year, Marianne Williamson had a long career as a spiritual author, speaker, and activist. In short, she’s spent her adult life taking action to make the world, as she affects it, and the people around her better.
I first became aware of her work in the early 1990s, after seeing an amazing appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She has been a voice of moral conscience and consoler in moments of national tragedy from 9/11 to school shootings.
Whatever happens in her run for the White House, whether she secures the nomination or not, I hope the next president will make use Marianne’s unique voice and gifts to help our nation find its way forward.
Here are 10 of her most powerful quotes to call out the best in you today.
- A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.
- We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?
- Anytime you try to be a loving person, you’re doing your part to save the world.
- Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
- Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.
- The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.
- It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.
- And no one will listen to us until we listen to ourselves.
- Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.
- Nothing binds you except your thoughts. Noting limits you except your fears. And nothing controls you except your beliefs.
- You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.
- And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
- Success means going to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that serves others.
- Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.” Spirit says, “Fund your peace and everything will fall into place.”
Stay inspired, my friends. See your greatness and help those around you see theirs too.
I wrote this is, well, not quite a poem back in 1997. It’s about getting on your path and encountering the giants that came before you. It’s how you measure up.
On my journey this day, I follow in the footsteps of the immortals. The imprints they have left behind on the Earth are large and their strides are a stretch for me. Yet, if I dare not encounter them and measure myself by them, how shall I ever know the true immensity of my own being?
So, I step consciously into the light; walking the path they once walked. Leaving it, occasionally, and improvising. Adding to it qualities uniquely my own.
Breathing with the trees and conversing with the clouds, as once they did. Our collective wisdom grows until no distinction remains among the path, the immortals, and me.
Follow and achieve your greatness!
For those of us of a certain age, we have a memory of a shy young school teacher suddenly be thrust upon the world stage because she married a prince. We watched that woman – Princess Diana – become a global icon and a tireless voice for a better world.
Then, in what seemed like a nightmare, she was taken from us abruptly. She was one of the few people in the world who was so popular, she could literally speak around media outlets and directly to the people.
- Only do what your heart tells you.
- I don’t go by the rule book… I lead from the heart, not the head.
- I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am.
- Anywhere I see suffering, that is where I want to be, doing what I can.
- If you find someone you love in your life, then hang on to that love.
- Hugs can do great amounts of good – especially for children.
- When you are happy you can forgive a great deal.
- Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back.
- The greatest problem in the world today is intolerance. Everyone is so intolerant of each other.
Have a wonderful Sunday!
Not one of us is on our game every single day. Let’s be honest. There are days , or longer sometimes, when you’re just not feeling it. The spark is flickering and you’d rather just pull the covers back over your head or binge watch some TV than chase down your dreams.
OK. You need a breather sometimes and it’s wise to recognize it. However, when the breather becomes stagnation, procrastination, and a general lack of concern for goals that had you on fire; it’s time to intervene.
Here are a few tips to re-light your pilot light and get back on your path.
- Revisit your goals and dreams. In the heat of pursuing your dreams, it’s possible to lose touch with your WHY. Your WHY is the emotional fire that got you started. Use it to reignite the engines.
- Change your goals and dreams. Listen closely when you try to reconnect with your existing goals and dreams. Things change. You change. Sometimes you simply lose interest in your those goals, those dreams, and that why behind them. It’s perfectly fine to acknowledge that, change course, or begin again. In for a penny, does not mean you have to stay in against your will all the way to the pound.
- Take the pressure off. Maybe you still want those goals and those dreams, but you’re feeling unsure how to proceed and that’s manifesting as engaging in distraction and delay. You might be feeling like you’re facing a blank page you have to fill every day to keep this path going. You’re not alone. Ask for help. Ask for advice from people further along your path. Go within. Part of the reason you have those specific dreams, goals, and why is because it’s part and parcel to who you are and who you’re meant to be. Get quiet and listen. The answers are there. You don’t have to consciously make this sh*t up as you go. God, the Universe, however you want to term that, has your back.
- Affirm. If you’ve determined you’re still in the right path or made the necessary adjustments and you’ve listened for the answers, get your heart and mind re-engaged by affirming that YOU CAN DO THIS AND YOU ARE DOING IT!
- Act. The break’s over. You’ve changed the oil and rotated the tires. Time to get back on the road. You don’t have to start HUGE. Just start. Remember: thoughts and emotion are the fuel for your dream, but action is its hands and feet.
- Finally, DO NOT beat yourself up. You have goals to achieve and dreams to realize. There’s no time for a pity party. The world needs what you have to offer. S, get to it!
Have an amazing and inspired day, my friends!