Do You Know What It Means to Be Peace?
a tribute to Thich Nhat Hanh?
When I was 16, I read Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Being Peace. Somebody once said to me that reading this book is like drinking a cool glass of water on a hot day. We need water to refresh, to sustain. Looking back, I realize how being peace became a mantra in my life, a vision, a centering practice for me.
What does it mean to be peace?
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that to have peace in the world, we must first have peace in ourselves. One way to that inner peace is through our breath.
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Knowing this is a precious moment, I dwell in this precious moment.
You can follow your breath and explore the flowing and frozen waters with this meditation: Sacred Sunday Meditation: Being Peace
I stood on the ice for this meditation, listening to water running and bubbling near me. Thich Nhat Hanh said that living and dying is part of the cycle. This deep, deep freeze that lets everything go to sleep in the winter is part of the cycle. This part of the cycle allows us to rest deeply. And dying is part of the cycle.
He said: Please do not build a stupa. Don't hold me in a container. But if you are going to hold me or put me to rest, put a sign that says, ‘I'm not in there.’ This is not where I am. I'm not in here. ‘I'm not out there either.’ And a third sign that says, ‘If I'm anywhere, I'm in your mindful breathing and your peaceful steps.’”
What do you do with your breath?
How do you walk on the earth?
Can your breath, the way you are in the world, be peace?
If this was the last 10 minutes we ever spent together, if this was the only 10 minutes you had to breathe together in a group, what's the frequency you want to share? How do you want to be remembered? And what do you want to remember?
Find your breath. Breathe in and calm your body. Breathe out and smile. Be in this precious moment. Be in peace. Be peace.