Hi body, it seems appropriate to write to you today, because you’ve been doing such good work this week, healing yourself from that sickness that’s been impacting our world. So, first things first. Great work, I’m feeling much better, and I’m proud of you!
As you know, I was gifted a book recently, an act of kindness from a good friend titled, Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time. I turned to a chapter about the body the other day and found a few prompts, like this one.
How have I nourished my body?
Well, for the past few days, you’ve probably ingested more liquids than ever before. And I can tell you’re enjoying them: the juices, vitamin waters, smoothies and the water, the plain tap water. And Ok, a glass of wine here and there too. But seriously, not quite sure how you took all that in but there is a lesson here, body. Perhaps you should be drinking more water. I heard Tom Brady’s body drinks like 2 gallons of water a day and he brings a huge water bottle with him everywhere he goes. Maybe you can start doing the same. You’re welcome!
Now, on a more serious note I am smiling but sad today. I’m smiling as a gesture of respect, to honor the memory and life work of the gentle soul and Zen monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, who died today at the age of 95. TNH dedicated his life to mindfulness and he taught us to smile during meditations. His book, The Blooming of a Lotus, is filled with smiling meditations.
Aware of my eyes, I breathe in.
Smiling to my eyes, I breathe out.
Describing this meditation he wrote, “the in-breath is to touch a certain part of the body: eyes, ears, heart, lungs, and so on. The out-breath smiles to that part of the body. The half smile can soften and heal. It expresses care and affection for the body.” (p. 20)
TNH recognized the relationship between the human organism and the universe, and taught us that the six elements (fire, water, earth, air, space, and consciousness) exist in us and outside of us. Another meditation excerpt below.
Aware of the element earth in me, I breathe in.
Smiling to the element earth in me, I breathe out.
Recognizing the element earth everywhere, I breathe in.
Smiling at the element earth everywhere, I breathe out.
Explaining the meditation above, he said, “we gradually come to see that we and the universe are one. The universe is our basis and we are the basis of the universe. According to the principle of interdependent origination, the one comes about because of the all, and the all is present in the one.” (P. 27)
Thich Nhat Hanh’s meditations are simple but powerful. In the next one, he shows us how to consider the past, but live in the present.
Looking at myself as a five-year-old child, I breathe in.
Smiling with compassion to the five-year-old child, I breath out.
Looking at myself as a seventy-five-year-old person, I breathe in.
Smiling to myself as a seventy-five-year-old person, I breathe out.
Although saddened by the passing of this wise and humble human, I will keep smiling today in celebration of his life and his teachings. And I’ll close with a few words to my body.
You’re doing good, man.
Thank you for being here for me through the years.
Get ready for some more water.