the West, we are very goal oriented. We know
where we want to go, and we are very directed in
getting there. This may be useful, but often
we forget to enjoy ourselves along the route.
is a word in Buddhism that means "wishlessness"
or "aimlessness." The idea is that
you do not put something in front of you and run
after it, because everything is already here, in
yourself. While we practice walking
meditation, we do not try to arrive anywhere.
We only make peaceful, happy steps. If we keep
thinking of the future, of what we want to realize,
we will lose our steps. The same is true with
sitting meditation. We sit just to enjoy our
sitting; we do not sit in order to attain any
goal. This is quite important. Each
moment of sitting meditation brings us back to life,
and we should sit in a way that we enjoy our sitting
for the entire time we do it. Whether we are
eating a tangerine, drinking a cup of tea, or
walking in meditation, we should do this in a way
that is "aimless."
we tell ourselves, "Don't just sit there, do
something!" But when we practice
awareness, we discover something unusual. We
discover that the opposite may be more
helpful: "Don't just do something, sit
there!" We must learn to stop from time
to time in order to see clearly. At first,
"stopping" may look like a kind of
resistance to modern life, but it is not. It
is not just a reaction; it is a way of life.
Humankind's survival depends on our ability to stop
"Stopping" is not only to
stop the negative, but to allow positive healing to
take place. That is the purpose of our
practice--not to avoid life, but to experience and
demonstrate that happiness in life is possible now
and also in the future.
foundation of happiness in mindfulness. The
basic condition for being happy is our consciousness
of being happy. If we are not aware that we
are happy, we are not really happy. When we
have a toothache, we know that not having a
toothache is a wonderful thing. But when we do
not have a toothache, we are still not happy.
A non-toothache is very pleasant. There are so
many things that are enjoyable, but when we don't
practice mindfulness, we don't appreciate
them. When we practice mindfulness, we come to
cherish these things and we learn how to protect
them. By taking good care of the present
moment, we take good care of the future.
Working for peace in the future is to work for peace
in the present moment.
and beautifully written, Peace Is Every Step contains
commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from
Buddhist Nhat Hanh's experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and
community leader. It begins where the reader already is (kitchen,
office, driving a car, walking in a park) and shows how deep
meditative presence is available now. Nhat Hanh shows how to be
aware of relationships with others and of the world around us, its
beauty and also its pollution and injustices. Through deceptively
simple practices, Peace Is Every Step encourages the reader
to work for peace in the world as he or she continues to work on
sustaining inner peace by turning the "mindless" into the
Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure
you are. Let me
learn from you, love you,
before you depart. Let me
not pass you by in quest of
and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I
may, for it may not always be so. One
day I shall dig my
nails into the earth, or bury my face into the
stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and
more than all the world, your return.
Mary Jean Irion