At a Q&A session during Thich Nhat Hanh’s recent visit to Boston, I was given the opportunity to ask Thay a question. I inquired about the most challenging and desperate situation that he has faced during his lifetime, and how he managed to cope.
During a recent retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh in Blue Cliff Monastery, I learned about the difference between joy and happiness.
Generating joy and cultivating happiness are key elements to the practice of mindfulness. And while these feelings usually go hand-in-hand, they are two separate states - so what is the difference?
As a child, every food is finger food. Cereal, vegetables, pasta: if you can pick it up, it’s fair game. But at a certain point, your parents bring in the utensils. Forks, spoons, knives or chopsticks are introduced as the proper vehicles for food, and who are we to object? But even though we may finish our meals with less food on our hands and faces, we sacrifice something perhaps much more important than cleanliness. We are distancing ourselves from our food.
Last August I traveled to Whistler, British Columbia, to speak at Wanderlust—a festival that aims to “create a community around mindful living.” By focusing on diverse experiences like practicing yoga, eating well, being green, practicing purpose, creating awareness, and showcasing art, the event allows participants to deepen their mindfulness practice and enhance their approach to healthy living.
Hannah is a rising junior from Amherst College majoring in Anthropology and French. She is interning with me at Harvard School of Public Health this summer.
Within each and every one of us lie the seeds of compassion. In times of shocking disasters, like the Boston Marathon bombings, we saw complete strangers manifest their compassion as they instantly took action to help the victims despite the unknown and the chaos.
Most of us live in some area of summertime heat and we are heading to the beach to cool off. This doesn’t mean we have to leave our mindful eating habits at home. For inspiration, let’s look to countries that have a custom of healthy sea shore-snacks.