Investing in Friends, by Thich Nhat Hanh

“Even if we have a lot of money in the bank, we can die very easily from our suffering. So, investing in a friend, making a friend into a real friend, building a community of friends, is a much better source of security. We will have someone to lean on, to come to, during our difficult moments.

We can get in touch with the refreshing, healing elements within and around us thanks to the loving support of other people. If we have a good community of friends, we are very fortunate. To create a good community, we first have to transform ourselves into a good element of the community. After that, we can go to another person and help him or her become an element of the community. We build our network of friends that way. We have to think of friends and community as investments, as our most important asset. They can comfort us and help us in difficult times, and they can share our joy and happiness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh



I have two selves: one internal and one external. Lately, I am getting to know my external self. The external self is the self that everyone sees and hears. I am looking from the outside in and creating a different perspective. Stephen Levine, an American poet and author, says that when we die, we pass out of a body and “we see that the body which we thought of us, the mind which we thought of as us, is quite a bit different, that life itself is a good deal different then we had ever imagined.”

When I die and look down at my body, will I even recognize that it’s me? When I listen to my voice on a recorder, it doesn’t sound like the voice that I hear. When I see a video of myself, I act and move differently than I thought.

Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Nonself means that your are made of elements which are not you. During the past hour, different elements have entered you and other elements have flown out of you. Your happiness, in fact your existence, comes from things that are not you.” He continues to say in his book, The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching, “The teachings of impermanence and nonself were offered by the Buddha as keys to unlock the door of reality. We have to train ourselves to look in a way that we know that when we touch one thing, we touch everything. We have to see that the one is in all and the all is in one.”

Maybe when I look down at my dead body I will understand how I can be and not be. I will see that I have a self and a nonself. And that I was made to be fluid, like the elements. Also, I will understand how we are all one because we share the same elements.

I cannot be attached to my life, and my body is not mine to keep. It is subject to illness, old age, and death. If I am fluid, then I have the ability to flow and change shape. I am a true shapeshifter.

Sadhguru, an Indian yogi and mystic, says you are the only doorway to the existence for yourself. It is our job to find out everything about ourselves. Exploration will lead us to self-realization. The more you know about yourself, the better you will live . For example, if you want to know how to use a camera, the more you know about it, the better.

So, it is good to look at life through different lenses. It will help us open our minds and lead us to self-realization.

Namaste, world.





Be Like a Tree in a Storm, by Thich Nhat Hanh


A strong emotion is like a storm. If you look at a tree in a storm, the top of the tree seems fragile, like it might break at any moment. You are afraid the storm might uproot the tree. But if you turn your attention to the trunk of the tree, you realize that its roots are deeply anchored in the ground, and you see that the tree will be able to hold.

You too are a tree. During the storm of emotion, you should not stay at the level of the head or heart, which are like the top of the tree. You have to leave the heart, the eye of the storm, and come back to the trunk of the tree. Your trunk is one centimeter below your navel. Focus there, paying attention only to the movement of your abdomen, and continue to breathe. Then you will survive the storm of strong emotion.

You should not wait for emotion to appear before you begin practicing. Otherwise, you will be carried away by the storm. You should train now, while the emotion is not there. So sit or lay down and practice mindfulness of the breath, using the movement of your abdomen as the object of your attention. I am positive that if you do this exercise for twenty days, ten minutes per day, then you will know how to practice whenever a strong emotion comes up. After ten or twenty minutes, the emotion will go away, and you will be saved from the storm. – Thich Nhat Hanh