Sending super gratitude to Thích Nhất Hạnh who passed at 95 on Jan 22, 2022.
I learned of Thích from my wife, who showed me his book Peace Is Every Step. He was my introduction to any of this stuff. This type of writing. This way of looking at the world. This ability to see beauty in everything. To look at things that are hard and things of traditional beauty like nature with the same energy and intention. To honor our brief time in relationship to these bodies and this world.
Thích finally got me meditating. I realized at one point after reading a few of his books that I was going through the motions a bit. Reading and thinking yes meditation is great and important… finally admitting it’s not something I practiced. Around 5 years or so later I’m still a very amateur, sporadic meditator, but I practice.
Thích also absolutely changed what walking looks like for me too. Mindful walking, walking meditation, taking the time to notice things a bit deeper, with the awesome benefit of forgetting about work ish and to-do lists for a sec too.
Thinking about him today, I realized one of the gifts I learned from Thích was to not really refute. I just can’t picture him arguing with people—it even sounds ridiculous to write. He so confidently repped what he believed there wasn’t much need for anything else. He has a tragic story he tells of a rapist pirate, and how he realized he could be that rapist pirate if he was born and raised the same way as them. I wonder what this level of openness and egolessness could look like in terms of our political and religious discourse and beyond. To understand behind immediate differences. To sit with them calmly, to realize our interbeing.
At the same time—Thích was a massive activist! Such a trip to think of how these two seemingly opposing ideas can coexist. He famous helped Martin Luther King Jr. see a way beyond war, causing MLK to publicly oppose the U.S. invasion of Vietnam. MLK later nominated Thích for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.
I guess this is a thank you note and a way for me to practice re-re-re-remembering Thích’s influence, and dive back into the books (all of which I highly recommend). To practicing looking at a tree and seeing the rain, the clouds, the sun, the earth, the birds, the pollinators, and ourselves.