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Buddhadharma : Winter 2013
WINTER 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 49 stop thinking in order to begin to feel. If you can feel the presence of your body and the wonders of life that are available in the here and now, you can get the nourishment and healing you need— from the sunshine, the fresh air, the beautiful trees, your lungs, your in-breath and out-breath. As you breathe in, you become aware once again that you have a body. There’s a kind of happy reunion between mind and body. It may take only a few seconds for you to become anchored back home, in the here and now. We have to be in the here and now in order to truly live our life. The past is no longer with us and the future is not yet here; only in the present moment are the wonders of life available. The secret of meditation is to bring the mind home to the body and be in the here and now. It’s very simple. Stop- ping the thinking will help tremendously. Mindfulness, Concentration, and Insight When you’re practicing mindfulness of body, your body becomes the only object of your mindfulness. Breathing in, I know my body is there. Breathing out, I know my body is there. When mindfulness is strong and focused like that, concentration is born. The object of your concentration in this case is your body. When mindfulness and concentration are powerful enough, you can make a breakthrough into real- ity; you get insight and realization, and you dis- cover things. Mindfulness, or smrti in Sanskrit, is the first energy. Mindfulness brings about concentration, samadhi, the second energy; and together mindfulness and concentration bring insight, prajna. To meditate means to generate these three kinds of energies. You don’t have to ask for them to come to you from outside. Everyone has the seeds of mindfulness, concentration, and insight within himself or herself. With the practice of mindful breathing, mindful walking, and mindful sitting, we help these seeds manifest as energies. These are the three kinds of energy that make an enlightened being. These energies make you awake, bring your body and mind fully together, and put you in touch with all of the wonders of life. You stop running and trying to find happiness somewhere else. You see that happiness is possible in the here and now. When you’re fully aware of what is there, and you can maintain that awareness and keep con- centration alive, then insight arises. This insight can help free you from your worries, fears, long- ing, and searching. With insight, you recognize that there are more than enough conditions for you to be happy right here, right now. This insight brings freedom, joy, and happiness. The Holiness In You The energies of mindfulness, concentration, and insight can be generated by practicing mindful- ness of breathing, of walking, of sitting, and of all your other daily activities. When you are inhabited by these three wholesome energies, there is holiness in you. We speak of holiness, but oftentimes we don’t Our thinking can make us suffer, but it can also set us free. Right thinking is characterized by nondiscrimination and nonduality. THICH NHAT HANH is the founder of the Order of Interbeing, a community of monastics and laypeople with monasteries and practice centers around the world. This article is adapted from his latest book, Peace of Mind, published by Parallax Press, November 2013. RICHARDFRIDAY