Here are a few mindfulness training practices from the teachings of the monk and peace advocate, Thich Nhat Hanh. The 94-year-old monk maintains, “with mindfulness, we are aware of what is going on in our bodies, our feelings, our minds, and the world and we avoid doing harm to ourselves and others”.
Being aware that getting tied to theories, doctrines, ideologies becomes ground for extreme rigidity and intolerance. In developing kindness and compassion, there is no fighting, killing or dying for.
Non-attachment to views
Be aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions. Avoid being narrow-minded and tied to present views, practice non-attachment from them, in order to be open to others’ insights and experiences. Be ready to learn throughout your lives.
Freedom from thought
Suffering is brought about when our views are imposed on others. “We are committed not to force others, even our children, by any means whatsoever — authority, threat, money, propaganda or indoctrination- to adopt our views.” (Hanh). Respect the right of others to be different and choose what to believe and how to decide. Help others renounce rigidity and narrowness through compassionate dialogue.
Awareness of suffering
Looking deeply at the nature of suffering can help develop compassion and ways to get out of suffering. One should be determined not to avoid or close their eyes before suffering. Also, one can find ways to be with those who suffer to understand their situation deeply and help them transform their misery to peace and joy.
Simple, healthy living
The root of happiness is in freedom, peace and compassion, not in wealth or fame. “The aim of life is not to be taken as fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure, nor accumulation of wealth.” Find mindfulness in committing to live simply and sharing time, energy and material resources with those in need. Practice mindful consumption, avoid putting toxins in the body and consciousness, and in the consciousness of the collective.
Dealing with anger
Anger blocks communication and creates suffering. Recognise the energy of anger as it arises and transform the seeds of anger lying deep in the consciousness. When anger comes up, do not do or say anything, but practice mindful breathing or mindful walking. In acknowledging, embracing and looking deeply inside the anger, “we will learn to look with the eyes of compassion at those we think are the cause of our anger.” (Hanh).
Dwelling happily in the present moment
Try not to get carried away by regrets about the past, worries about the future or craving, anger or jealousy in the present. Practice mindful breathing and connect with the healing elements that are inside and around us, thus facilitating the work of transformation.
Truthful and loving speech
Being aware that words can create suffering or happiness. Be committed to learning to speak truthfully and constructively using only words that inspire hope and confidence. Practice determination in not using words that cause division, hatred, criticism or condemnation.
Relations motivated by carnal cravings don’t dissipate the feeling of loneliness but create more pain, frustration, isolation. Without mutual understanding, love, and long-term commitment, without treating our bodies with respect, one can’t preserve the vital energies for higher realisations.
Destruction of life leads to pain, one can vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants and minerals and their well-being. Practice generosity in sharing resources.
Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is an emotional healer and a forgiveness teacher. All the ideas expressed herein are her own and not professional advice or medical prescription. Her email: email@example.com