Life is Available Only in the Present Moment

Dear Friends:

Now that the world knows that Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) is in intensive care, it is important to remember one of his major teaching: “Life is available only in the present moment.” Tricycle also picked up on this theme with these words of wisdom from Thay.

It is funny that things are often quite different from what we think they will be. Even so, we keep on hoping, planning, and waiting for things to happen the way we want instead of living life just as it is. I have to learn this lesson almost daily, but my practice helps me remember.

Sending loving kindness to myself has changed my fear and self-hatred into joy and self-compassion. I often do these practices two or more times a day. They are so refreshing. They help me ground myself in the present moment.

Life in the Present Moment | November 14, 2014

We’re afraid all the time of what the future will bring—afraid we’ll lose our jobs, our possessions, the people around us whom we love. So we wait and hope for that magical moment—always sometime in the future—when everything will be as we want it to be. We forget that life is available only in the present moment.

– Thich Nhat Hanh, “Free From Fear”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh in Plum Village in 2000, Photo Jerome Freedman

The practice I use is the following. I begin with showering loving kindness blessings on myself. I do this from one to three times.

May I be safe from internal and external harm.
May I have a calm, clear mind and a peaceful, loving heart.
May I be strong, healthy, and vital.
May I experience love, joy, wonder, and wisdom in this life, just as it is.

The second practices is to use similar verses to shower loving kindness on my wife and children.

The third practice is to use similar verses to shower loving kindness on people I know are suffering, such as Thay right now.

When you begin the practice of loving kindness meditation, it may feel strange, but keep to it and you will also free yourself of fear and become more forgiving of your thoughts, words, and deeds. You will begin to experience life in the present moment.

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