6 Big Mistakes That Destroy Family Relationships

Family should be a person’s first source for love, acceptance, and support. Unfortunately, many extended families are failing miserably as the people within the family do things to undercut family unity. Understanding the problem is the first step in finding a solution.
6 things that destroy extended family include:

1. Insults and Criticism

Words carry weight. In some cases they can carry the weight of the world. When unkind words are said to family, they hurt. Your family is supposed to be your source of encouragement and support. Negative words damage the core of family relationships. Some family members may say things off the cuff and think that because these things were said casually, they don’t hurt the other person. The truth is that such words hurt, however they are said. When negative words are spoken to family members it creates a chasm in the relationship. It takes time and positive interactions to repair the harm that is done when insults, criticisms, and jabs take place.
When there is any outpouring of these negative words to a family member the chasm can grow so great that it can almost seem beyond repair. Any relationship can be resolved with apologies and forgiveness, but the hurt can still remain long after words are exchanged. Be careful with your words. Remind yourself that as family you are there to be one another’s greatest supporters in life. Tearing others in the family down with words is destructive to the family unit. Keep the old adage in mind when speaking to your family “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.
If there are people in your family who have problems with words, then set the example and set it strong. Use words that encourage and uplift family members. Doing so makes you a person that others want to be around. People don’t want to be around people who make them feel bad. They want to be around those who make them feel good about themselves. Help your family by looking for the positive in each and every person, so that you can set the example of using words that uplift fellow family members.
2. Gossip
Gossip is very damaging. Most often gossip occurs when someone is upset by something related to the person they are gossiping about. It may make a person feel better temporarily, but in the end it does not solve the problem as the gossip itself is certainly not done out of kindness or love. If you have a problem or issue with someone in the family then go to them directly. You don’t need to announce your issue in front of the whole family. Some people do this to force family members to choose sides in a situation .
When sides are taken, there is a divide in the family. Instead, go to that person privately with whom you have a problem. Discuss the issues, but do so with the the goal of reconciliation. Doing so with hardness in your heart or wanting to attribute blame won’t solve the problem.
Voice your concerns in a manner that helps them see things from your perspective. That way they may better want to heal the relationship and rectify any wrongs. Don’t talk badly about family members behind their back. If they have some drama in their life and it has nothing to do with you, then don’t spread their stories around. Tell yourself “not my monkeys, not my circus”.

3. Lack of Inclusion

An Ask Amy article was posted online that clearly puts family inclusion into perspective. Here is that wonderfully articulated response from Amy Dickinson of the Chicago Tribute: Inclusion of family members is essential to family unity. Include all family members at family functions. Even if you “know” they are going to say no. Ask anyway. The hard feelings come because of failure to ask and failure to include. It is up to them whether they attend whatever function or trip you are inviting them to, but the most important part is that they are asked. If your goal is family unity and love among all members, then include all members in family gatherings and functions. Don’t find excuses to not include, as that is wrong and will create hard feelings.

4. Deception and Lies

Deception in a family is destructive. The truth always prevails. Sometimes it may take years or even a generation for the lies and deceit to become known, but know that they will come to light someday. If you can’t be honest with your family, who can you be honest with?
Lying to family or using deception to keep secrets leads to brokenness in a family. This brokenness comes from trust being corroded. The bigger the lie, the bigger the corrosion. Some lies, such as secret children born from an affair, can create insurmountable corrosion that will leave a family damaged for generations.
Your actions have consequences. Not just to you, but to your extended family for generations to come. It is much better to admit your wrong doings and work toward healing, than to lie and work to carry that lie around indefinitely (or until you are found out). Don’t burden yourself with lies. Be open and honest with your family. If you have done something that is hurtful to family members, then you need to apologize and make an effort to rectify the situation for the sake of family unity. Trying to hide the truth only compounds the hurt. The longer the truth is hidden, the more compounded the hurt.

5. Failure to Accept Differences

Children who grow up in the same home with the same parents, same discipline, and same guidance do not turn out to be the same exact adults as their siblings. We all have differences. Allow others to be different. Just because you are family doesn’t mean you have to share the same political views or even the same religion.
People will grow up and have different parenting styles and lifestyle choices, but it is not the job of family members to judge. Love and acceptance starts in the family. If a family is not providing this to one another, then they are fundamentally failing as a family.
If you choose to put a foothold in the differences and create family strife because of differences, then the extended family unit is ultimately damaged. Accept people for who they are and for where they are in life. Acceptance of a person for who they are, is the ultimate form or love.

6. No Apologies and No Forgiveness

Apologies and forgiveness are the glue that keep a family together. Nobody is perfect. At some point in time you will hurt a member of the family. It is up to you to say the words “I am sorry for…”. Those words can heal wounds and create a stronger family bond. When you apologize to a family member, the message you are sending to the person is that they matter and that you don’t want ill feelings between you and them.
Not apologizing, is sending the message that the person does not matter or that their feelings don’t matter. Failure to apologize is a personality flaw and weakness of character. Be the bigger person and apologize when you do something wrong against a family member, whether your words or actions that hurt the person were intentional or not does not matter. What matters is that the apology takes place. You can explain intentions, but you can’t make someone unfeel being wronged.
When someone apologizes, be a gracious forgiver. Families need one another. Don’t hold grudges, as that is a burden to you and it harms the family. Forgive and show your forgiveness with your actions as well as your words. This means that if you forgot to invite a family member to a birthday celebration, then ask for their forgiveness and offer to do something to make it up to the family member like taking him or her to lunch. Actions speak louder than words, so make your apology count by making your actions parallel a heartfelt apology.
Source: lifehack.org


“The dhamma that I preach can be understood only by those who know how to think.” - The Buddha

I get plenty of comments when I say that I’m not a religious person, but I am a practicing Buddhist.

Although Buddhism is known worldwide as a religion, for me it is not. Frankly, I used to perceive it as one, before knowing anything about it and delving into its culture.

To start off, the word religion means “a system of faith and worship” and “the belief in a superhuman, or god with power.” After visiting India and Nepal, and observing the Buddhist complex, I came to notice that Buddhism is neither a system of faith, nor a god-based institution.

Buddhists do not consider the Buddha as a supreme god. For them, he is a man like any other man who’s walked on the earth. Nevertheless, Buddha untangled the reasons of suffering and offered us a concrete way of getting out of them.

And although he did offer the world teachings about how to get unstuck from samsara, he insisted that he wanted no worship or praying. All he asked for is that we must examine his teachings first, and if they do resonate with us, then we practice them. If not, however, we have the utter freedom to leave them.

Although I have watched rituals and ceremonies being held at monasteries, I’ve been told that they’re not in any way worship-based. The so-called “worship” that we might see is one that is offered as a way of showing respect and thankfulness to the man who exhibited the truth. Even the prayers that we hear are ones that read compassion, kindness and love to all sentient beings, without any exception.

If we look more closely at Buddhism, we can even ascertain that there is no leader in the culture. Dzongsar Khyentse constantly talks about how the Dalai Lama is a secular leader for the Tibetan community in exile and a spiritual master to many people all over the world—and not merely for Buddhists. He insists that there is no authority in Buddhism with the power to decide who is a true Buddhist and who is not, or who is punishable and who is not.

If Buddhism isn’t a religion, what is it then?

The way I see it, Buddhism is a way of life—it’s a philosophy and a truth that simply represents 

how things are in life. 

I must admit (and I’m not ashamed to claim it) that Buddhism has helped me understand the religion I was brought up with, as well as all the other religions in the world. Before being introduced to Buddhism, “holy books” were on par with the Chinese language to me. I couldn’t understand why I was supposed to pray, to attend religious ceremonies or to follow a spiritual leader, without true conviction or belief for what they’re saying. Before Buddhism, I was co-dependent on “God.” I constantly searched outside of myself, and I believe this is why I never found myself.

Buddhism helped me look inward. It taught me independence and self-awareness. Through it, I began to understand how the world ticks. It helped me look at myself and take responsibility for my actions, thoughts and emotions, rather than taking refuge in a supreme god.

With Buddhism, I came to finally understand that God isn’t a judgmental man who lives in the clouds. I stopped this duality between God and myself, and I figured out that God is in everyone (and everything and everywhere). It is not something that is outside of us or something we cannot reach—it is in us.

So you might ponder the question—why is it worth looking into Buddhism or practicing it?

I utterly believe to each their own—however, I also believe that it is never wrong to live with an open heart and an open mind which expands our knowledge and raises questions in our heads.

Unlike other religions, Buddhism doesn’t tell its followers to stick only to its teachings. Buddhists don’t care where you’re from, what you believe in or who you worship. All they care about is that you know the truth—and the truth is: “All compounded things are impermanent.”

It’s worth understanding Buddhism, because the final outcome of its purpose is not something that is beneficial to itself—the benefits are for our own sake.The benefit is that we will actually understand the truth of life, our existence and ourselves.

Again, like Dzognsar Khyentse said, “Buddhism is not a survival kit for living that dictates how many husbands a wife should have or where to pay taxes or how to punish thieves. Buddhism doesn’t even have a ritual for wedding ceremonies.”

The Buddha didn’t tell people what they wanted to hear—he simply opened their eyes to the truth of life.

This post was republished from www.elephantjournal.com. You can find the original post here.


The Buddha more than anything else was a man, who went from childhood to manhood, got married, and at the age of 29 had his first child. He went through all the stages men go through sexually, but at the age of 35 ended his sexual desire forever in *Nirvana.

The big question today is... Does the desire for sex always lead to suffering? The answer is, Yes! But the reason may surprise you.

The Buddha in everything he said about sex implies... The activity of sex will never ultimately satisfy the desire for sex.

Now this is a real bummer if you think about it. You can have sex a 1000 times, and want it a 1001. You can be 90 years old... Blind and cripple... Still want to have sex, and not be physically able to. You will never get rid of your sexual desire by having sex. In fact, it seems the more sex you have, the more sex you want.

I think sex is a lot like hunger... And to be honest with you, I'm so tired of being hungry. I have been hungry every day of my life. I'm hungry in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. Think of all the time and money I could save if I gave up eating!
So what if tomorrow, I get up real early and eat as much as I desire, and anything I want. Whatever looks good, I'm going to eat it and keep eating it, until I am so full and satisfied, I will never want to eat again.

Well, if I were to do that what would happen? I would wake up the next morning and still be hungry and sex works the very same way!

You might be saying to yourself, "Well Kusala is a monk, and monks don't have sex, so maybe if I choose celibacy I won't have to suffer."
I wish life were so easy!
The people who choose a celibate lifestyle ('desire' not to have) suffer in a different way from people that choose to have sex ('desire' to have). But all people (monks too) suffer when it comes to sex, if they have desire.

The only way to have sex and not suffer, is to have no desire to have sex. It sounds like a 'Zen Koan' doesn't it? To end our suffering we need to end our desire, our craving, our thirst.
When a Buddhist does end his/her desire in Nirvana, would there be any reason to have sex simply for pleasure???

The problem with sex according to Buddhism... Is not the activity of sex, but the desire for sex. The sexual desire of a human being will never be ultimately satisfied through sexual activity.


Below are 6 of the most common complaints regarding meditation.
I have outlined them briefly, as well as effective solutions for each.

Modify these to fit your personal experiences and situations – take what works for you, and leave the rest for another time.

I’m Experiencing Restlessness/I Can’t Relax…What Do I Do?

If you work all day in an office or cubicle, your body is naturally going to “unwind and unfold”. As soon as your brain starts sending it signals that it’s time to meditate, things can get wonky!

You’re quite literally “shifting gears”, just like any other piece of machinery. Your biological machinery is not dissimilar!

The key here is to use this to your advantage – especially in Vipassana meditation – by bringing your focus and attention to the very areas which are distracting you.

A large part of Vipassana is the focusing of conscious energy on bodily sensations as they arise, slowly recognizing that they are all occurring in the present moment.

Everything that’s happening right now is trying to show you that everything can only happen right now.

This is one of the higher lessons of Vipassana meditation!

Take note of “how” and “where” it “feels”.

Allow your focus to fill those areas – be it your feet, hands, legs, shoulders – like water filling a glass.

Your consciousness takes the shape of its container…

Why Can’t I Find a Comfortable Sitting Posture?!

There’s no “right way” to sit for meditation. The only “right way” is the way which works for you.

For myself personally, I always use the traditional Zazen style of seated meditation. You’ve seen it millions of times; it’s the stereotypical “sitting monk” posture:
Zazen isn’t the only posture, however! There are countless other variations and positions:
Once you’ve identified a comfortable enough position to begin with – you can always fine-tune it to your own preferences.

I tend to favor positions where I don’t feel like I’m spending the majority of my energy trying to get comfortable; that’s the entire point of finding a good posture.

You essentially want a position that allows you to feel as weightless as possible.

Because of this, I typically start off my clients and students in the Zazen position, and then ask them how they think it could be improved.

I’m Having Issues Steadying My Thoughts/Stopping Runaway Thinking/I Can’t Stop Thinking!

The secret here is two-fold:

Stop resisting your thoughts! Let them pass by the screen of your consciousness with zero judgement
Continue observing your thoughts as they “cross your mind” – just like sheep jumping over a fence.
Your thoughts are just as much a part of meditation as anything else!

Part of meditation is learning how to relate to our thinking in new and exciting ways.

This is how self-transformation occurs!

A large misconception regarding meditation practices is that they involve silence and stillness exclusively.

A large portion of becoming aware to the subtleties of our thinking, is learning to work with the natural calmness and serenity your still mind exhibits.

At first, your mind won’t like “the lack of noise” – and this is all part of it!

This is how you begin gaining access to your conscious core – the True You.

Meditation teaches you to stop resisting what’s already happening – a prerequisite for understanding the true nature of reality, your place in it, and how much power you truly have to influence your external world – via balancing and mastering your inner.

This is the goal and wisdom of Vipassana meditation – my primary style of teaching and methodology.

I Keep Spacing Out! Now What?!

This is a sign that your focus is slipping, and it’s time to switch it up a bit.

There’s a reason you’re slipping; but what is it?

It could be your posture, the temperature in the room, your clothing, etc.

I always suggest posture adjustment first and foremost, as many of us don’t realize how awkwardly we’re truly sitting!

The main thing to direct your focus to whenever you “get lost” in meditation is your breathing.

Establishing a steady rhythm acts as a self-directing metronome; YOU are that metronome!

ALWAYS return to your breathing whenever your mind and focus begin to wander; this is the first true test of your mastery of self-remembrance!

I’m Noticing Some Emotional Vulnerability Surfacing…Now What?

NOW we’re getting to the good stuff!

Emotional turbulence during meditation can be due to a variety of things.

Most often, it’s your conscious mind and filters relaxing enough, so that portions of your subconscious mind begin permeating through.

This is ultimately what you want.

I know it sounds scary and counterintuitive, but those subconscious layers are where all of your behavior and belief blocks are hiding!

When we bring them to the surface – no matter how temporarily uncomfortable – we’re reclaiming our personal power.

Those uneasy emotions are stepping stones to higher states of fulfillment, in disguise as temporary discomfort.

Solution? The sooner you move through these, the less severe they will become.

Like ripping off a bandaid, this can be both uncomfortable, and induce a state of over-thinking – the exact opposite of what meditation teaches!

This is also the step where people of all skill sets, backgrounds, and life experience have the most trouble.

I Don’t Have The Time to Meditate! Where Do I Start?!

Another common complaint. With our busy lives and schedules, how are we supposed to find time to meditate during the day?

The solution? You don’t. You don’t “find” time to meditate during the day.

You must CREATE time and space for yourself.

The simplest and most effective way to do this is to begin meditating 15 minutes upon waking, and 15 minutes before bed.

From there, you’ll gradually develop a better sense of how to work it in with your current routine.

You’ll also have a very good idea of which areas meditation improves for you, in regards to the way you’re currently living your days.

Yes, even on weekends.

Now, WHY the hell would I do this to myself?!

Conclusion: Meditation is The Gateway Back to Your True Self

The answer: because early morning meditation out on my deck (with the rising sun) affords me more fulfillment and genuine happiness and contentment than 90% of the “goals and tasks” I work on afterward.

Meditation is my career.

Unveiling more of my True Self  is my only “job”.

Everything else flows and arises as a natural consequence of this. This article is one of those consequences.

It’s a secret, and now you know it. Without meditation and tapping into the higher portions of myself, none of my content would even exist.

It’s about connecting to the True You, and learning to live with the consequences of that.

Meditation teaches acceptance, letting go, and discernment – all of which ironically yield massive rewards just by their virtue of being a constant in your life experience.

When you stop worrying about the details of things, you will start seeing things in a brand new way. Entering a state of allowance will transform your life both on the inner and outer planes.

Meditation is the gateway back to your True Self; it all begins and ends with you.

This article was republished from expandedconsciousness.com. You can find the original post here

5 Rules To Set Yourself Up For Success

Have you thought about what you want to be doing in five years' time? Are you clear about what your main objective at work is at the moment? Do you know what you want to have achieved by the end of today?
If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life's direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. Think about it: Having a million dollars in the bank is only proof of success if one of your goals is to amass riches. If your goal is to practice acts of charity, then keeping the money for yourself is suddenly contrary to how you would define success.
To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them. You can't simply say, "I want" and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between there are some very well defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to formulate goals that you can accomplish.
Here are our five golden rules of goal setting:

The Five Golden Rules

1. Set Goals that Motivate You

When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you: this means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If you have little interest in the outcome, or they are irrelevant given the larger picture, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is key to achieving goals.
Set goals that relate to the high priorities in your life. Without this type of focus, you can end up with far too many goals, leaving you too little time to devote to each one. Goal achievement requires commitment, so to maximize the likelihood of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and have an "I must do this" attitude. When you don't have this, you risk putting off what you need to do to make the goal a reality. This in turn leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, both of which are de-motivating. And you can end up in a very destructive "I can't do anything or be successful at anything" frame of mind.

2. Set SMART Goals
You have probably heard of SMART goals  already. But do you always apply the rule? The simple fact is that for goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART. There are many variations of what SMART stands for, but the essence is this – goals should be:
  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time Bound.

Set Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don't provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as "To reduce expenses" how will you know when you have been successful? In one month's time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years' time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it's possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn't have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to "raise the bar" and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you'll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you'll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

You goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

3. Set Goals in Writing

The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. You have no excuse for forgetting about it. As you write, use the word "will" instead of "would like to" or "might." For example, "I will reduce my operating expenses by 10 percent this year," not "I would like to reduce my operating expenses by 10 percent this year." The first goal statement has power and you can "see" yourself reducing expenses, the second lacks passion and gives you an excuse if you get sidetracked.

Post your goals in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do. Put them on your walls, desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder.

4. Make an Action Plan

This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you'll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term. Read our article on Action Plans  for more on how to do this.

5. Stick With It!

Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high.

source mindtools

30 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from Thich Nath Hahn

1. Never underestimate the power of a kind word, a touch, or a smile.

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.”
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”

2. If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.

“If you love someone but rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love.”
“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

3. Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos.

“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything.”

4. To be beautiful means to be yourself.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

5. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.

“When we walk like (we are rushing), we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”

6. Take time to relax and renew yourself. 

“From time to time, to remind ourselves to relax and be peaceful, we may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness, when we can walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, enjoy being together as if we are the happiest people on Earth.”

7. Get in touch with yourself. 

“In modern society most of us don’t want to be in touch with ourselves; we want to be in touch with other things like religion, sports, politics, a book – we want to forget ourselves. Anytime we have leisure, we want to invite something else to enter us, opening ourselves to the television and telling the television to come and colonize us.”

8. As long as you’re alive, everything is possible. 

“Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.”
“Because you are alive, everything is possible.”

9. When you have peace within, real peace with others is possible.

“We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women. To prepare for war, to give millions of men and women the opportunity to practice killing day and night in their hearts, is to plant millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear that will be passed on for generations to come. ”
“Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully. Seek peace. When you have peace within, real peace with others is possible.”

10. You are more than your sorrows.

“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”
“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.”

11. When another person makes you suffer, it only is because he suffers deeply within himself.

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”

12. Blaming has no positive effect at all.

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.”

13. Never lose hope.

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”

14. Let go of everything that no longer serves you and you will be happy.

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
“The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself.”

15. Never underestimate the power of a kind word, a touch, or a smile.

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.”
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”

16. True love is free from bondage. 

“If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love.”
“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”
“In true love, you attain freedom.”

17. Let go of fear. 

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”
“In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.”
“Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses.”

18. Breathe yourself back to life.

“Breathing in, there is only the present moment. Breathing out, it is a wonderful moment.”
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

19. Free yourself of concepts and keeps your mind open to what is.

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”
“Attachment to views is the greatest impediment to the spiritual path.”

20. Shift your focus from the negative on to the positive.

“I have noticed that people are dealing too much with the negative, with what is wrong. … Why not try the other way, to look into the patient and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?”

21. Welcome all of your feelings, no matter if they are negative or positive.

“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.”

22. The present moment is all you ever have.

“To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future. If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration. You can attain many insights by looking into the past. But you are still grounded in the present moment.”
“The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”
“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
“Life is available only in the present moment.”
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

23. Love’s only interest is to love.

“Through my love for you, I want to express my love for the whole cosmos, the whole of humanity, and all beings. By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species. If I succeed in loving you, I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth… This is the real message of love.”

24. True happiness is based on peace.

“Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”
“It is my conviction that there is no way to peace – peace is the way.”

25. At the core level we are all ONE.

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”

26. It may be that humankind has created God in the image of humankind.

“It is said that God has created man in his own image. But it may be that humankind has created God in the image of humankind.”

27. Enlightenment is always available to you.

“Enlightenment is always there. Small enlightenment will bring great enlightenment. If you breathe in and are aware that you are alive—that you can touch the miracle of being alive—then that is a kind of enlightenment.”

28. To have peace in the world we have to have to first peace between religions.

“Until there is peace between religions, there can be no peace in the world.”

29. If you look deeply into the palm of your hand,you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”

30. Life bursts with miracles.

“Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
“The kingdom of God is available to you in the here and the now. But the question is whether you are available to the kingdom. Our practice is to make ourselves ready for the kingdom so that it can manifest in the here and the now. You don’t need to die in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, you have to be truly alive in order to do so.”
What is your favorite quote from Thích Nhất Hạnh? What is one lesson you have learned from Thích Nhất Hạnh that really impacted and changed your life?  You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below.


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