How to Bringing Peace Into Your Day to Day Life

by Michael Corthell

''Can I bring peacefulness of mind into the middle of a very busy and stressful day?'' Yes, you can, not always perfectly, but you can do it.

''Walk as if you are kissing
the Earth with your feet.''
—Thich Nhat Hanh


The answer is simple, but as I stated above, it may not be so easy to put into practice and you may not always do it perfectly, but we can start learning to be 'present' -- present in the moment. 

It makes no difference how chaotic your day has become, or how stressful your job or life is, the practice of being 'present' can become a safety, a true oasis. It can and will change your life, and it is a very simple thing.

When are completely and totally 'present', the external forces of the outside world are no longer an issue, because there is only you and that 'force', that exist in this moment, and not a bunch other things you have to worry about.

What is this 'force'. It is a thing to do. The key is to focus on one thing at a time by being mindful of it only. Being 'present' becomes your new way of handling any problem, any distraction, anything that stresses you. Being 'present' lets everything else fade away, leaving only you and the thing or force you are dealing with right now, in the moment.

''Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without
rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.''
—Thich Nhat Hanh

We live in the age of too much information and distraction. It is a very pointed paradox that your happy future hangs on your ability to pay mindful attention to the present. Let's see how to do that and remember it takes practice to do these simple things.

Never over-think. To improve what you do, stop thinking about it (unselfconsciousness). Be right here right now. and just let go and be yourself—in the moment.

Only plan for the future, don't live in it. Our most negative thoughts always concern the past or the future. Mark Twain said, "I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." The main activity of an anxious and depressed person is 'catastrophizing'—worrying about something that hasn't happened yet and probably will never happen. Savor the 'now'.

When you go off track and get angry —just breathe and focus on it. Don't just count to 10. When you place your awareness on what's happening right 'now', you bring yourself powerfully into the present moment. By focusing on breathing you will orient yourself to the 'now'—not because your breath has some supernatural property, but because it's always there.

Let time 'flow' to make the most of 'time'. 'Time flow' occurs when you're so wrapped-up in a task or chore that you lose track of everything else around you and consequently time itself. In this flow of time a manifest paradox: How can you be present and living in the moment if you're not even aware of the moment? Be time.

Acceptance of reality. If there is something that is irritating and bothersome in your life, move toward it rather than away from it. Acceptance of life's pain and aggravation is the first step in mitigating that pain. Letting the emotion just be there. Avoid secondary emotions or emotion regarding emotion. For example; You may get stressed out and think, "I wish I weren't so damn stressed." The primary emotion is stress over what's happening. The secondary emotion is feeling, "I hate being stressed." Let it be, be what it is without editorializing the emotion.

Practice engagement. The opposite of engagement is 'zoning out'. We often do this on a long, routine drive to work.  You drive down the highway only to suddenly realize you have no awareness of the last half hour. This is call mindlessness. Mindlessness is of course the opposite of mindfulness. We become mindless, because once we think we know something, we stop paying attention to it (our brain does this to save computing power - it creates and uses a 'template' to be used over and over). As a result, an event can pass you by without it even consciously registering. The best way to avoid such blackouts is to develop the mindful habit of always noticing new things—even in routine situations. That purposefully noticing produces engagement with the present moment. Always noticing new things puts you solidly in the here and in the NOW.

Mindfulness is the only purposeful 'activity' that is not about trying to improve yourself or get to 'somewhere'. It is only 'to be'. For example, a story about two Buddhist monks who are sitting side by side, meditating. The younger one is giving the older one a funny look, to which the older monk responds, "Nothing happens next. This is it."

Life is truly good. It is a precious gift that is made even more precious when we bring the right positive attitude, awareness, and presence to our lives every day.

Practicing mindfulness and its associated balance is why Thoreau went to Walden Pond. It is also what Emerson and Whitman wrote about in their essays and poems. It is a good life.

Live, breathe, love, listen, teach and be present.

Thich Nhat Hanh - The Art of Mindful Living

Zen meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh offers his practical teachings about how to bring love and mindful awareness into our daily experience. Kind, purposeful, and illuminating, here is an abundant treasure of traditional gathas (teachings) that unify meditation practice with the challenges we face in today's world.

I receive many touching comments on the Thich Nhat Hanh videos and I'm really happy they have managed to reach so many people and I'm able to help spread his timeless and invaluable teachings. However, it is not without some guilt, considering I have uploaded these talks without permission. I hope if they have been inspiring and meaningful for you that you can either buy the original recordings or donate to Plum Village, to help contribute to the beautiful and important work that is being done there.
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