What do you do when your wisdom eludes you? When you feel overcome with emotion or ill equipped to handle life as it is? According to Buddhist teacher and author, Thich Nhat Hanh, our safest course of action is "indirect embracing."
Most of us have a difficult time embracing all of our emotions, especially the volatile ones. It is a genuine spiritual practice to embrace anger, greed, jealousy, and the like. But we can, with the help of our breath and an attitude of loving-kindness.
Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that you recognize the emotion by simply saying hello to it, offering it a slight smile, just like you would someone you're not fond of, but don't want to be impolite to. Allow this hello and an inner smile help you rest into your breath with gentleness. Relief can be yours.
©2023, Janice L. Lundy
I have a lovely friend who signs off her emails by saying, "Breathe deep the day." Each time I read this I really do take a deeper breath. It's delicious.
I notice "breathing deep the day" centers me and it also turns me toward gratitude—appreciation for this one-of-a-kind day. I am so very aware at this stage of my life how special each day is, as well as how fleeing time is. Each moment is precious and can easily slip away into obscurity without my loving attention.
If you take a few moments right now and breathe deep the day in your own way, what do you notice? How do you feel and what shimmers for you?
I hope and pray that awareness of the precious present sings in your heart today just as it does mine.
Gentle and timely reminders for the spiritual journey, because sometimes we forget or need a kind nudge back to Center.
Dr. Janice Lynne Lundy (PsyD, DMin, MPC)
is The Gerald May Professor of Spiritual Direction & Counseling at the Graduate Theological Foundation. She is an interspiritual director/mentor, educator and counselor who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for nearly thirty years.