This week I went to hear Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) talk about ‘True peace and happiness in the here and now’ at The Royal Festival Hall. At aged 86 he sat cross-legged like a young man but showed his years as he shared his wisdom.
His approach was very simple and I was reminded just how similar the Zen and Yogic philosophies are. Both teach the importance of mindful breathing, leading us to a union between the mind and the body. A place where we are present. When we are present we are not distracted by our thoughts of the past or of the future. This doesn't mean we ignore what has been or what is to come but we acknowledge that our soul's purpose is to live.
In our busy lives, mindfullness is a necessary practise that can help us make sense of this chaotic World we live in. Stress, depression and other mental health problems can be alleviated using these techniques but it takes practise. Daily practise takes will power and self discipline and this may take time. But what we gain is a life that is fullfilled and not empty.
In the words of Thay ‘Everyone can become enlightened, it beings with just one breath’
Here is a breathing meditation that resonated with me during Thay’s instruction. It is simple...how life should be.
Finding peace – the first meditation
The following breathing technique practiced regularly can help eliminate anxiety, depression and feelings of hopelessness
• Find a comfortable position either sitting or lying down
• Align your body and focus on gentle breathing
• As you inhale, acknowledge the inhalation
• As you exhale, smile to the exhalation
• Repeat, several times
Peace be with you.
To find out more go to www.actionforhappiness.org