Thich Nhat Hanh has a concise prescription for success in life: “Breathe, smile, and go slowly.” And this man seems to be one of the rare few who actually practices what he preaches. Watching him being interviewed by Oprah, at one point he shared that it takes him one hour to drink a cup of tea. Initially, that might sound a bit insane, but he might also think the same thing of us if he sees us drink our tea in 3 minutes, or chug a soda in 30 seconds – even worse – shotgun a beer ;-). Then again, I get the feeling Thich Nhat Hanh has moved beyond judgment and would simply accept our actions for whatever they are. By his choice of drinking a cup of tea in one hour, he is simply doing what he believes is best for him. My guess is he advocates that we all do what we believe is best. Nothing less than the best! And what is best? Well, discovering that begins with the simplicity of “Breathe, smile, and go slowly.”
In any situation, if you have the presence of mind to consciously stop and take a few deep breathes, you’ll notice that any negative emotions quickly dissipate. In a book titled, Science of Breath, the author Swami Rama asserts that no negative emotion can be help onto while practicing deep, conscious breathing. When we connect with our breath, we move ourselves in the present moment, and in the present moment there is nothing but love. The past is dead, the future is imaginary. When consciously breathing, all you can be sure of is that you are Here & Now, and that is always more than enough. 🙂
Just being is amazing. Life is extraordinary. We are miracles. Yet, how often do we life with this awareness? When people ask me how old I am, I generally think of the age of the universe and think, “I’m about 14.5 billion years old.” Of course, it seems like most people are actually how old is this physical body / how long have I been embodied. In reality, our existence demanded the entirety of existence. Without everything that is come before, unfolding exactly as it has, what’s to say either one of us would be Here & Now? The technology, intelligence, and wisdom present in the functioning of these human bodies we move around in is totally awesome. As far as we can tell, the human body is the most advanced piece of technology on the planet. That’s you! You are way more advanced than any computer or satellite.
Think about it this way. Human civilization has technologically been advancing with external inventions for maybe 10,000 years (or maybe even 100,000, why not a million?) . Your body, on the other hand, has been advanced by the entirety of Creation and took more than 14 billion years to come into existence! You exist thanks to the power of love unfolding in the universe in a perfect way. You are the miracle. You are worthy of reverence and infinite love and compassion and gratitude. There is nothing more amazing in the universe than you. Unlike an iPhone, no human being possesses the technology to invent you. You were only made by a power much greater than any human being, yet this power is in every one of us, and that is love. Love made you.
So then, we are made of Love perfectly loving for more than 14 billion years (at least…we might be able to say infinity). Why are we? What is our major definite purpose? I think realizing the truth of who and what we are is a start. In Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, as well as in the Bhagavad Gita, there is a claim that the source of all human suffering is forgetting our relationship with the eternal. When we remember our eternal nature and who we really are, we can experience only peace and love (and all those other good things :-)). In a way, I think this means that our purpose is to tune our awareness so that we are forever conscious of our eternal connection with the Divine. Just as the Divine Power of Love created us, so now we are empowered to create with the Power of Love (and also other “lesser” powers, but let’s not talk about those!). Us existing demanded Love evolving for 14 billion years, and then poof – we’re created. And now, we’re conscious Love able to consciously create more Love. It’s as though we’re a microcosm of the entire Universe. Everything that’s ever existed has all accumulated to this point in space and time, and Here we are, Now, able to create whatever we desire. Especially when we align with Love, which is our nature, possibilities are infinite.
How do you want to use your life to create Love in the world? What do you love to do? How can you become more conscious and aware of your eternal relationship and connection with the Divine?
Could the answer really be so simple as, “Breathe, smile, and go slowly,” ? It just might be. When we breathe, smile, and go slowly, we allow ourselves a greater opportunity to connect and be in this Present Moment, which indeed is a Wonderful Moment, full of Infinite Potential and Possibility. Open to the Infinite Love that is Here & Now!