I was first introduced to mindfulness when a friend gave me Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Miracle of Mindfulness back when I was living in China in 1996. 


Thich Nhat Hanh, global spiritual leader, poet, and peace activist and “the father of mindfulness,” died a few days ago at the age of 95 years old.


As my friend who introduced me to Nhat Hanh’s teachings texted me, “There is a person who has really helped decrease suffering in this world.”


Nhat Hanh taught mindfulness as a way to live in a state of peace.


Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us or inside of us. 


Mindfulness is something that we already have within ourselves; still, mindfulness can be cultivated through sitting, standing, and walking meditation, through short pauses that we insert into everyday life, and through mindful exercises like yoga and T’ai Chi. 


I would like to share with you three beautiful quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh.


“In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.”


“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” 


“The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion. The most important person is always the person you are with, who is right before you, for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future? The most important pursuit is making the person standing at your side happy, for that alone is the pursuit of life.”


The world will miss you Thich Nhat Hanh, but we know that we can access the love and peace you taught by taking a breath, being in this moment, and offering a gentle smile to others.


Rest in peace.


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