smile, breathe, and go slowly.
Recall the feeling when... you know you have plenty of time and there is no rush.
Let's lean into that spaciousness!
Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Buddhist monk who has had a huge impact on my life. One of his most powerful teachings is encapsulated in a simple, yet profound mantra:
"smile, breathe, and go slowly."
In the midst of our busy lives, it can be easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of things, I love this mantra because it reminds us to pause, take a deep breath, and move through life with intention and mindfulness. By adopting it as a daily practice, we can cultivate greater peace, clarity, and presence, even amidst the chaos of modern life.
Often I need to remind myself of a simple truth: the practice of mindfulness is not about perfection, but about progress. Many years ago, I was drawn to mindfulness as a way to contend with my workaholism, and I fell in love with the Zen Buddhist teachings of Thích Nhất Hạnh (also known as Thay) because of his gentle and compassionate approach. Of course, there are still days when I catch myself rushing to complete my morning meditation or my journaling pages before an early call. In those moments, I try to remember to take a deep breath, let go of my attachment to perfection, and trust that the process is more important than any specific outcome.
The proverb chop wood, carry water helps... by emphasizing the importance of being fully present and engaged in even the most mundane and ordinary tasks of daily life. Encouraging us to focus on what is in the here and now without getting caught up in thoughts of the future. When we do that, we cultivate a deeper contentment in our lives.
Think about the last conversation you had with someone who wasn't fully present. Maybe you could tell they were preoccupied, lost in their own thoughts, or distracted by something else. How did it feel? ... Now flip that, can you recall the last time you weren't fully present with someone? Our level of presence either deepens our relationships or damages them. Slowing down and being present matters so much.
One simple way to cultivate a greater presence in your daily life is to pay attention to your breath and heart rate in different situations. When you're around certain people or engaging in particular activities. By becoming more aware of how your body responds, you can begin to identify any "barriers" to presence that you may have. Building presence isn't a meditation practice; it can occur through all the activities that make up our daily routines. So, as you go about your day, approach each moment with curiosity, openness, and a willingness to be fully present.
The purpose of meditation isn't to become an expert meditator but to cultivate greater peace, clarity, and happiness in all aspects of life.
Grá mór / Big love,