I continue to resonate with the passing of Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh and the powerful teachings he brought to the world via his practices of mindfulness, of constantly returning to the present moment, and of his acknowledgment and acceptance of the complexities of our inherent and inescapable wholeness as human beings.
For quite a while now, I’ve focused on wholeness and self-acceptance as being central to a sense of well-being, supporting clients (and myself!) to acknowledge and accept aspects of themselves that aren’t what Buddhists would call “skillful”. I encourage clients (and myself here, as well) to also acknowledge and accept the aspects of themselves that are gifts to their well-being and quality of life. This acknowledgement can sometimes be even more difficult than looking at what we experience as negative in ourselves.
From Thich Nhat Hanh: Your mind is like a piece of land planted with many different kinds of seeds: seeds of joy, peace, mindfulness, understanding, love, and more; seeds of craving, anger, fear, hate, forgetfulness, and more. These wholesome and unwholesome seeds are always there, sleeping in the soil of your mind. The quality of your life depends on the seeds you water. If you plant tomato seeds in your gardens, tomatoes will grow. Just so, if you water a seed of peace in your mind, peace will grow. When the seeds of happiness in you are watered, you will become happy. When the seed of anger in you is watered, you will become angry. The seeds that are watered frequently are those that will grow strong.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to notice what seeds of your wholeness you regularly water. Notice which seeds/aspects of your wholeness you feed. Where do you place your attention? What’s your style of expressing yourself with your self-talk and in your relationship to the world around you? Bringing awareness to this kind of practice offers the possibility of choice. If you discover that you water seeds that bring distress, disappointment, or other forms of painful suffering, notice what it’s like to shift your attention to something that is soothing, comforting, beautiful, or in some other way nourishing to you. This doesn’t mean to ignore feelings that need attention and validation. Instead, it’s more about how many of us have developed automatic ways of focusing our attention on watering “seeds” that lead to unhappiness or suffering.
Read More “862nd Week: Watering the Seeds of Our Wholeness”