Thursday, October 7, 2010

Becoming Alive, the Kingdom of Happiness

"This is the practice of living deeply in the moment. If you worry too much, you will suffer." --Going Home by Thich Nhat Hanh

Know that, says Thich Nhat Hanh, "the Kingdom [of heaven] is not for tomorrow, the Kingdom is not a matter of the past. The Kingdom is now. We need food today... We need to be alive in each moment. We need the kind of food that makes us alive in every moment of our life so that we can nourish our faith, our love, our solidity, and our tolerance. We desperately need that kind of food." There are so many hungry people, people hungry for spiritual food.
We grasp ideas and notions "that is why we have never satisfied our hunger. We always speak of eating, but we never eat."

"If the Christ is the body of God, which he is, then the bread he offers is also the body of the Cosmos. Look deeply and you will notice the sun, the earth in the bread."
Being mindful will allow you to see all that the bread contains; consuming this bread, "you eat it in such a way that you become alive, truly alive... Eat in such a way that the Holy Spirit becomes an energy within you.. and then [it] will stop being an idea, a notion."

You need to eat this bread, corn, rice, what ever it may be, mindfully so as to become alive to the Way, to the process.
Artists often talk of 'process.' What is your process? What is your attachment to the outcome?
Mindfully observe the ways in which you consume the 'bread of life.'
"You need to eat it in order to become alive again so that faith as an energy, true faith, true love, is nourished in you, and happiness becomes a reality for yourself and for many others."

Yet because of all that what is written above, in complete faith and hopefulness, you imagine a kingdom that is without suffering at all. "It is very distressing,' writes Hanh.
 He observes that the joy to be alive can most clearly come about from the despair of dying; the joy of health is not complete without the knowledge and experience of sickness and loss of health.
Hanh states, "Our hope, our desire, our aspiration for a kingdom or a place where suffering does not exist should be re-examined."  That the people in that place should not suffer, they will not despair; they should only experience happiness, unending in their daily life -- Wake Up!
"This is something absurd and impossible," Hanh writes. Rather a "Pure Land" is a place where both suffering and love exist. It is a place of mindfulness, and of impermanence so that the good may follow the ill. It is Hell to merely suffer without any hope for relief.

Love is born of suffering. Suffering is its ground. If you live in such a place that is without suffering, then you live in a place without love.
We all need food to sustain ourselves, but not just any kind of food. The right food for each of us is not always the same food.
You who have suffered, know what it is; you want to help others in their suffering; to bring them the food they need. You want to bring happiness, your happiness; this is the stuff of love; it is compassion. Love born of suffering is a practice.
"Unless you know what suffering is, you are not motivated to practice compassion, love and understanding."

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