Excerpt from “The Art of Power” by Thich Nhat Hanh
Imagine a flower in the morning. The flower is not yet open. The sunshine embraces the flower, and the energy of the sunshine begins to penetrate the flower. The sun doesn’t just go around the flower. The light naturally penetrates the flower, and an hour later the
flower has to open itself to the sun. The sun is our mindfulness, embracing the flower of our feelings.
If we allow our anger, fear, and despair to be alone and unsupervised in us, they will be destructive. If we generate mindfulness, it will recognize and embrace these painful feelings. The practices of mindful breathing and mindful walking not only nourish and refresh us, but they also help us recognize and embrace the pain in us. Instead of using our energy, our power, to suppress our pain, we help our body become more integrated. By embracing our suffering, we are much stronger.
If our loved ones sit or walk with us, we become even stronger because the other person lends us their energy of mindfulness. We can say, “Darling, please come and do mindful walking with me. I need your presence.” Then she will come and walk with you. Together, we combine our mindful energies, and there is plenty to embrace our suffering. If we have several friends sitting with us, the positive, collective energy of mindfulness will be even
stronger. It will be much easier for us to allow our pain, sorrow, and despair to be embraced by the collective energy.
That is why it is so pleasant and helpful to practice in a community where everyone knows how to do the same thing. The energy is powerful. If you allow yourself to be embraced by that collective energy, you feel much better and healing happens quickly. The energy of mindfulness helps us be aware of what is going on. When you breathe in and you know that you are breathing in, this is mindfulness of breathing.
When you drink your coffee or tea and you know that you are drinking coffee or tea, this is mindfulness of drinking. When you walk and you know you are walking, and you enjoy every step you take, this is mindfulness of walking. So these kinds of practices generate the energy of mindfulness, helping you be fully alive, fully present to touch the wonders of life for your nourishment and healing.