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Thich Nhat Hanh on loneliness and true connection

Thursday, March 18, 2021

So soothing and wise...

"We know that when we are home, we no longer feel lonely, we feel at home, warm comfortable, safe.
So home is a place where loneliness disappears.
Buddha said clearly that home is a place within us. It is an island we have to go back to, the island of self. This is a practice, not a theory.
Loneliness is the new being of our time. We are lonely even when surrounded by many people. We are lonely together. There is a vacuum inside of us, we don't feel comforatable with that kind of vacuum so we try to fill it up by connecting with other people. Technology supplies us with a lot of devices in order to stay connected. We always stay connected, but we continue to feel lonely. We check our email several times a day, we post messages several times a day, we want to share, we want to receive. We are busy a lot of the time trying to connect, but that doesn't dissolve the loneliness in us. This is what happens in our modern civilization. Our relationship is not good, with ourselves, with our brother and sister, with society.
We have not succeeded in dissipating that feeling of loneliness.
In the tradition of Plum Village, every time we sit down on our cushion, that is meant to connect with ourselves. We are disconnected with ourselves. We walk and we don't know that we are walking.We are alive but we do not know we are alive. This happens almost all day long. So the act of sitting down is an act of revolution. You sit down and you cut off that state of being, of losing yourself, of not being yourself. When you sit down you connect with yourself and you don't need an iPhone or computer to do that.
You just need to sit down mindfully and breathe in mindfully, and in a few seconds you connect with yourself. You know what is going on, in your body, in your feelings, in your emotions, what is going on in your perceptions and so on. You are already home. And take care of your home, you have left home for a long time, and home has become a mess.
So going home means sitting down and accepting: yes, it is a mess and I accept it. I have allowed this to happen, so now I am at home I'm going to rearrange everything and with my in breath, I begin to smile with everything and allow my body to release the tension.
And the Buddha told me how to do that, how to release the tension in my body. I am aware of sadness, of fear, of anxiety. I smile at my feeling of loneliness and I say: my dear loneliness I know you are there. I am home to take care of you, and you make peace with your loneliness and your anxiety. You recognize and embrace the loneliness. That is the act of going home.
Every time you take a step brings you home to the here and now so you can connect with yourself, your body, your feelings. And you don't need a lot of technology to do it. This is the way to heal ourselves and our society.
We are losing ourselves... we are lost. We have to find ourselves again. We have to go home.
There is an illusion of connection. You cannot really connect using those devices. How can you connect with another person when you cannot connect with yourself?
So with the act of breathing in, you go inside. The way out is IN.
Your body is your breathing, your body is your feet, your body is your lungs. We are home, because our body is part of your home. When you spend two hours with your computer you forget completely that you have a body. And without your body how can you be alive.
So in Plum Village, many of us have a mindfulness bell in our computer; every fifteen minutes we hear the bell, and we stop working, we stop thinking, we go back to our in breath, we enjoy breathing in and we connect with ourselves and we smile, we connect with our body and we become alive again, we know that we have a body, which is a wonder. Our body is a wonder and connection is possible, connection with the body.
Whether there is a feeling of anger,or loneliness, or sadness: it is us. We connect with our in breath, and then with that mindful in breath we connect with our feelings, we smile at our feelings and say 'no worry, I am home and I'm going to take care of you."
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Lovely! Thank you for sharing. I love his wisdom.
    59 days ago
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