Peace Is Every Step

“Breathing and smiling together — that is peace education…. Peace is available in every moment, in every breath, in every step.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, in the closing paragraph of his book Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, originally published in 1991.

 

Dear reader,

Have you read any books by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh? If so, I welcome you to share your experiences in the comments below… If not, perhaps you will be inspired by this post to check him out… Here is a link to some of his 100 books: Plum Village Key Books.

For many years I had Nhat Hanh’s book Peace Is Every Step on my shelf, and from time to time I read a few random parts… But this Summer I was inspired to read it cover to cover, and now I have read it at least three times! It is so very good that I took eight pages of notes and now I am studying those notes daily. I highly recommend this book! In this post I will share a few of my favorite parts…

The book is organized into three parts, and I found the second part to be the most helpful because it is primarily about working with feelings. This is the best book I have ever read about how to skillfully work with difficult emotions. Nhat Hanh points out that our feelings are parts of us; that they are not separate from us. So he says, “Instead of acting as if we can dispose of parts of ourselves, we should learn the art of transformation.” He then goes on to explain, step by step, how to transform the energies of anger, fear, depression, anxiety, and so on. If this section of the book was taught in all of our schools and workplaces, the world would become happier, healthier, and more peaceful within one generation!

One of my very favorite parts is called “Nourishing Healthy Seeds” in which Nhat Hanh writes, “Consciousness exists on two levels: as seeds and as manifestations of these seeds. Suppose we have a seed of anger in us. When conditions are favorable, that seed may manifest as a zone of energy called anger. It is burning, and it makes us suffer a lot. It is very difficult for us to be joyful at the moment the seed of anger manifests.”

He continues, “Every time a seed has an occasion to manifest itself, it produces new seeds of the same kind. If we are angry for five minutes, new seeds of anger are produced and deposited in the soil of our unconscious mind during those five minutes. That is why we have to be careful in selecting the kind of life we lead and the emotions we express. When I smile, the seeds of smiling and joy have come up. As long as they manifest, new seeds of smiling and joy are planted.”

I believe this is a very important book. I want to give a copy to everyone I know! Have you read this book already? If so, what was your favorite part?

One last quote that really resonates with me:
“We all have the seeds of love and compassion in our minds, and we can develop these fine and wonderful sources of energy.”

May All Beings Know Peace, Love, and Compassion!

With great love and gratitude,
Teja

 

Photo of lone dandelion at sunset by Natalia Luchanko on Unsplash.

 

Transforming Difficult Emotions Through Singing

“The Name repeated with either good or evil intentions, in an angry mood or even while yawning, diffuses joy in all the ten directions.”
~ Tulsidas (1532–1623), Indian poet-saint. (Quote shared by Krishna Das in the jacket cover of his CD, “Greatest Hits of the Kali Yuga.”)

Chanting (singing) has been one of my daily practices for more than fifteen years, and I have been chanting a forty-verse prayer called the Hanuman Chalisa for more than ten years. Each day when I sit down to sing along with a CD by Krishna Das, I acknowledge whatever is present in me in that moment, and then ask for help as needed.

One morning last month I got really triggered by something right before I was going to do my chanting practice. I was in an utterly reactive state, so I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to do the practice, but I sat down anyway, feeling angry and depressed. I said a prayer, asking that my difficult emotions could be transformed into love…

Well, it took the entire forty verses for that transformation to happen! This was the first time I had this experience: I chanted the forty verses in a gruff angry non-singing voice with clenched teeth, and felt like I was possessed. And in fact, I was possessed, by my own toxic angry reaction… After chanting the forty verses that way, as I began the after prayers, suddenly I was singing in my normal singing voice! The healing, transformative power of the chants is so miraculous! I felt so incredibly grateful to be softened into love again.

Sometimes when we get angry we have to do the mental work of searching for the root cause and then consciously transforming and releasing the anger through understanding… But sometimes we can just simply sit and sing, allowing the healing sound vibrations to melt the anger into love and joy.

Can you relate to this experience? Have you ever dissolved anger through singing?

May All Beings Be Free of Suffering.
May All Beings Be Happy.

May our singing diffuse joy in all directions!

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

 

Reaching for Orange on Amazon!

Greetings, Beautiful Beings!

Just a short happy little post here, to invite you to order my new book on Amazon… Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life

To learn how this book may benefit you, please read my previous post, “23 Possible Benefits You May Gain Through Reading Reaching for Orange.”

Please click here to visit my Amazon Author Page:
Teja Shankara… 🙂

May you feel happier and happier,
every day, in every way!

 

Marigolds photo by Barbara808 on Pixabay.

 

3 Tips for the Lonely

Do you ever feel totally alone in this world, like no one understands and appreciates you? When you feel lonely, what do you do?

Typically, when people feel lonely they reach outside of themselves for comfort, through food and drinks, television, social media, and so on. Those external pleasures can be soothing temporarily, but a more lasting comfort can be achieved through internal practices.

The next time you feel utterly alone in this world, try these 3 tips for reaching inside your own being ~

~ Cultivating self-love with the mirror. Gaze into your own eyes in the mirror, and say out loud, “I love you (your name)” several times in a row, and then say, “I understand you (your name), and I appreciate you (your name).”

~ Focusing on your strengths. Take out pen and paper and write down everything you love about yourself. If you cannot think of at least 5 things, then write some intentions for new qualities you would like to call into your being. For example, if you do not feel like you are a very kind person, but you would like to be a kinder person, then set an intention to call the vibration of loving kindness into yourself. Place little pieces of paper with the written words “loving kindness” around your home and car.

~ Doing something that you really truly love doing. Make sure this is something you really want to do, and not something that you feel you should do. This could be turning on your favorite music and singing and dancing, or going outside barefoot to hug a tree, or making a cup of spicy tea to sip while reading an inspiring book… While doing this thing that you really love, tune in deeply to how you feel inside on every level. Focus on loving yourself totally, in every way.

To read more tips for reaching inside, please order your copy of my new book today! ~ Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life.

I hope this post was helpful to you, or to someone you love.

 

Photo of bird in marsh by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash.

 

Reaching for Orange to Calm Your Mind

Dear readers, yesterday was yet another bad day in the body. I used to have a more balanced mix of good days and bad days, but lately I’ve had quite the run of bad days, making me ask the question, “Did I not appreciate the good days enough when I had them?” But I did appreciate them, so much. In fact, right before this run of bad days began, I had very gratefully enjoyed so many good days that I almost couldn’t remember what the bad days were like…

I guess I needed a reminder… Geesh!

Anyhow, yesterday was not good, and my mind was beginning to get a little anxious about it… As anyone with chronic health issues knows, it is an ongoing struggle to maintain positivity when the body doesn’t feel well… And once the mind begins reacting negatively, difficult emotions flow from the negative thoughts… So, yesterday when that began happening, I took out my new book, Reaching for Orange, and spent the day reading it cover to cover! (“Spiritual helper, help thyself!”)

Reading Reaching for Orange helped me to happy up, just as the subtitle promises! I have read this book many times, and this time I especially enjoyed the Blessings section. I read all of the blessings out loud, and I felt calmed, soothed, and elevated as I allowed myself to deeply receive all of those blessings.

“Blessings can be vibrant transmissions of living consciousness.” ~ Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life.

If you regularly read my blog posts, then you know that I post blessings for you on Fridays… Tomorrow I will share a few blessings from Reaching for Orange, from the section of blessings to help with depression. Whether or not you feel depressed, you can enjoy tomorrow’s uplifting blessings.

Unfortunately today is worse than yesterday, so thankfully this afternoon I am going to see my new doctor. I am hoping for a diagnosis that will help me to better understand this body. If you feel inspired to send me some good thoughts, healing energies, blessings, prayers, magical mojo, or whatnot, I will gratefully receive them!

Thank you so much for reading this post.
May you feel great love in your whole being!

With gratitude and trust in the mysteries,
Teja