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Living a Bit More Like Thich Nhat Hanh

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle”. — Thich Nhat Hanh

When Thich Nhat Hanh passed away in January, I didn’t treat it like a celebrity passing, I didn’t mention it at all, really. I let the moment pass with a virtual bow. He may have passed from this world, but he’ll live on as Thoreau or Mary Oliver or Marcus Aurelius lives on. Such is the power of the written word.

“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”

We live in a contentious, angry world. And yet, you and I aren’t angry or contentious. You and I are living a contemplative life, a celebratory life. We embrace every moment for all that it implies. We walk through this world like our feet are kissing the earth, gently embracing our time here. We fight the urge to amplify hatefulness, and offer love instead.

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

If we pick up anything from Thich Nhat Hanh, it ought to be this hyper-awareness of each moment for all that it offers to us. We will surely slip back into the hectic and annoyed frenzy of our purposeful action bouncing up against an indifferent world, for life isn’t just meditation and sipping tea, but his wisdom offers an opportunity to recenter ourselves. A chance in the madness to pause, breath in and celebrate the miracle of that particular heartbeat.

“My actions are my only true belongings.”

Sure, celebrating each moment of aliveness is lovely, but what are we offering back to the world for our being here? What is our contribution? This is where East meets West, for we all want to bring something to the dance, don’t we? The very question means we don’t see the forest for the trees. Our lives should be a positive vibration that tickles the fancy of those we touch, that inspires a smile for the encounter. Maybe that’s our ripple.

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