Martin Luther King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 and he’s a buddhist monk and peace activist.
And when he was standing right in front of me tonight I was blown away by what he said.
We went to an opening for an exhibit of his calligraphy.
He looked like a child. He smiled like a child. He talked like a little boy. It was almost funny to look at.
Here’s some things he either said or drew that I learned from.
How to Do What You Love.
He starts his day with tea, he said. And he loves calligraphy. So he puts the tea in the ink and starts his drawing.
Funny, I thought. He combines the things he loves. But then he went further.
He said he imagined his father’s hand was on his when he drew, and that he loved his father.
And that all his ancestors hands were on his when he drew. And all his students hands and all the people he knew.
He showed a drawing of a circle. He said that the circle was made out of smiles.
He didn’t say “do what you love”. But he showed that if you love something, here’s how you do it.
You pour all of your love into it. You hold nothing back.
He laughed when he said that. But the woman next to me was crying.
Peace can only come from peaceful people.
Here we are on the eve of dropping more bombs on people in order to establish peace in a region that we know nothing about.
Peace seems hard, which is why I guess we never get it right. It’s not a fight but more like something that is shared.
Understand your own suffering.
Stop everything for a moment and really think about your own suffering, he said.
Your own moments of hitting bottom. This, he said, was how compassion is created. Compassion then cradles the suffering like a mother cradles a baby.
And this is then how you learn to have compassion for the suffering in others. The pain we all feel. The loneliness we all feel. The regrets and uncertainty.
Every breath is a miracle.
“It proves we are alive again!” and he laughed.
During the day I sometimes think my breathing is so shallow when I’m on the computer I have to stop to take a deep breath.
I just read in the book “Crazy Sexy Cancer” that how we breathe can help us battle cancer.
No mud, no lotus.
This phrase was on one of his calligraphy drawings.
The lotus flower is beautiful, but comes from the mud. Just as compassion often comes from suffering. The lotus shows the true value of the mud.
He started a small meditation by ringing a bell.
By coincidence, a company I’m on the board of is going on the Nasdaq tomorrow. I’m very proud of them.
So at 9:30 I’m going over to the Nasdaq and the CEO of the company will ring the bell to start the day’s trading for thousands of companies.
Both Thich and the CEO use the ringing of the bell to stop us for a moment. To start something new and amazing. It’s all connected.
I learn the same thing from both Thich and this CEO. Nothing can stop you when you pour all of your love into the things you do.
[Notes: A) Thanks to Patty Gift for inviting me and Claudia to such a wonderful event. B) Thanks to abchome.com and Deepak Chopra for hosting the event. Here is a link to all of the calligraphy. Also note: this post was written a few days ago. ]