February Subject of the Month ~ How to Love ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

THICH NHAT HANH is one of the best known Zen teachers in the world today.  He has been teaching mindfulness practice for more than seventy years.

The English pronunciation is: Tik · N’yat · Hawn


This month’s subject will be excerpted from his book HOW TO LOVE.


True love is made of four elements: loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.  In Sanskrit, these are maitri, karuna, mudita and upeksha.  If your love contains these elements, it will be healing and transforming, and it will have the element of holiness in it.  True love has the power to heal and transform any situation and bring deep meaning to our lives.


The first element of true love is lovingkindness.  The essence of loving kindness is being able to offer happiness.  You can be the sunshine for another person.  You cannot offer happiness until you have it for yourself.  So build a home inside by accepting yourself and learning to love and heal yourself.  Learn how to practice mindfulness in a way that you can create moments of happiness and joy for your own nourishment.  Then you have something to offer the another person.


The second element of true love is compassion.  Compassion is the capacity to understand the suffering in oneself and in another.  If you understand your own suffering, you can help another to understand their suffering.  Understanding suffering brings compassion and relief.  You can transform your own suffering and help transform the suffering of another with the practice of mindfulness and looking deeply.

three: JOY

The third element of true love is the capacity to offer joy.  When you know how to generate joy, it nourishes you and another.  Your presence is an offering, like fresh air, or spring flowers, or the bright blue sky.


The fourth element of true love is equanimity.  We can also call it inclusiveness or nondiscrimination.  In a deep relationship, there is no longer a boundary between you and another.  You are you and she is you.  Your suffering is her suffering.  Your understanding of your own suffering helps your loved one to suffer less.  Suffering and happiness are no longer individual matters.  What happens to your loved one happens to you.  What happens to you happens to your loved one.


Allow these offerings to swirl around in your mind, body and spirit.  Receive what resonates with you open heartedly and truthfully.  See what possibilities present themselves and share…






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