Tag Archives: Thich Nhat Hanh

Deep Relaxation

Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat HanhOkay, I couldn’t resist. Here is the deep relaxation guided meditation from Appendix D of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, which the author says is essential for the body and mind to heal and should be practiced often:

Lie down comfortably on your back on the floor or on a bed. Close your eyes. Allow your arms to rest gently on either side of your body and let your legs relax, turning outwards.

As you breathe in and out, become aware of your whole body lying down. Feel all the areas of your body that are touching the floor or the bed you are lying on; your heels, the back of your legs, your buttocks, your back, the back of your hands and arms, the back of your head. With each out-breath, feel yourself sink deeper and deeper into the floor, letting go of tension, letting go of worries, not holding onto anything.

As you breathe in, feel your abdomen rising, and as you breathe out, feel your abdomen rising. For several breaths, just notice the rise and fall of your abdomen.

Now, as you breathe in, become aware of your two feet. As you breathe out, allow your two feet to relax. Breathing in, send your love to your feet, and breathing out, smile to your feet. As you breathe in and out, know how wonderful it is to have two feet, that allow you to walk, to run, to play sports, to dance, to drive, to do so many activities throughout the day. Send your gratitude to your two feet for always being there whenever you need them.

Breathing in, become aware of your right and left legs. Breathing out, allow all the cells in your legs to relax. Breathing in, smile to your legs, and breathing out, send them your love. Appreciate whatever degree of strength and health is there in your legs. As you breathe in and out, send them your tenderness and care. Allow them to rest, sinking gently into the floor. Release any tension you may be holding in your legs.

Breathing in, become aware of your two hands lying on the floor. Breathing out, completely relax all the muscles in your two hands, releasing any tension you may be holding in them. As you breathe in, appreciate how wonderful it is to have two hands. As you breathe out, send a smile of love to your two hands. Breathing in and out, be in touch with all the things your two hands allow you to do: to cook, to write, to drive, to hold the hand of someone else, to hold a baby, to wash your own body, to draw, to play a musical instrument, to type, to build and fix things, to pet an animal, to hold a cup of tea. So many things are available to you because of your two hands. Just enjoy the fact that you have two hands and allow all the cells in your hands to really rest.

Breathing in, become aware of your two arms. Breathing out, allow your arms to fully relax. As you breathe in, send your love to your arms, and as you breathe out, smile to them. Take the time to appreciate your arms and whatever strength and health are there in your arms. Send them your gratitude for allowing you to hug someone else, to swing on a swing, to help and serve others, to work hard — cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, to do so many things throughout the day. Breathing in and out, allow your two arms to let go and rest completely on the floor. With each out-breath, feel the tension leaving your arms. As you embrace your arms with your mindfulness, feel joy and ease in every part of your two arms.

Breathing in, become aware of your shoulders. Breathing out, allow any tension in your shoulders to flow out into the floor. As you breathe in, send your love to your shoulders, and as you breathe out, smile with gratitude to them. Breathing in and out, be aware that you may have allowed a lot of tension and stress to accumulate in your shoulders. With each exhalation, allow the tension to leave your shoulders, feeling them relax more and more deeply. Send them your tenderness and care, knowing that you do not want to put too much strain on them, but that you want to live in a way that will allow them to be relaxed and at ease.

Breathing in, become aware of your heart. Breathing out, allow your heart to rest. With your in-breath, send your love to your heart. With your out-breath, send your love to your heart. With your out-breath, smile to your heart. As you breathe in and out, get in touch with how wonderful it is to have a heart still beating in your chest. Your heart allows your life to be possible, and it is always there for you, every minute, every day. It never takes a break. Your heart has been beating since you were a four-week-old fetus in your mother’s womb. It is a marvelous organ that allows you to do everything you do throughout the day. Breathe in and know that your heart also loves you. Breathe out and commit to live in a way that will help your heart to function well. With each exhalation, feel your heart relaxing more and more. Allow each cell in your heart to smile with ease and joy.

Breathing in, become aware of your stomach and intestines. Breathing out, allow your stomach and intestines to relax. As you breathe in, send them your love and gratitude. As you breath out, smile tenderly to them. Breathing in and out, know how essential these organs are to your health. Give them the chance to rest deeply. Each day they digest and assimilate the food you eat, giving you energy and strength. They need you to take the time to recognize and appreciate them. As you breathe in, feel your stomach and intestines relaxing and releasing all tension. As you breathe out, enjoy the fact that you have a stomach and intestines.

Breathing in, become aware of your eyes. Breathing out, allow your eyes and the muscles around your eyes to relax. Breathing in, smile to your eyes, and breathing out, send them your love. Allow your eyes to rest and roll back into your head. As you breathe in and out, know how precious your two eyes are. They allow you to look into the eyes of someone you love, to see a beautiful sunset, to read and write, to move around with ease, to see a bird flying in the sky, to watch a movie — so many things are possible because of your two eyes. Take the time to appreciate the gift of sight and allow your eyes to rest deeply. You can gently raise your eyebrows to help release any tension you may be holding around your eyes.

Here you can continue to relax other areas of your body, using the same pattern as above.

Now, if there is a place in your body that is sick or in pain, take this time to become aware of it and send it your love. Breathing in, allow this area to rest, and breathing out, smile to it with great tenderness and affection. Be aware that there are other parts of your body that are still strong and healthy. Allow these strong parts of your body to send their strength and energy to the weak or sick area. Feel the support, energy, and love of the rest of your body penetrating the weak area, soothing and healing it. Breathe in and affirm your own capacity to heal, breathe out and let go of the worry or fear you may be holding in your body. Breathing in and out, smile with love and confidence to the area of your body that is not well.

Finally, breathing in, become aware of the whole of your body lying down. Breathing out, enjoy the sensation of your whole body lying down, very relaxed and calm. Smile to your whole body as you breathe in, and send your love and compassion to your whole body as you breathe out. Feel all the cells in your whole body smiling joyfully with you. Feel gratitude for all the cells in your whole body. Return the gentle rise and fall of your abdomen.

To end, slowly stretch and open your eyes. Take your time to get up, calmly and lightly. Practice to carry the calm and mindful energy you have generated into your next activity and throughout the day.

I have praticed a similar meditation after yoga since I was in high school. Good stuff.

Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh

Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat HanhAs promised, here are more thoughts on Thich Nhat Hanh’s Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames.

I think this book should be required reading for every man and woman.

I loaned a copy to a friend who was coping with some anxiety and anger in her professional life and she liked it so much she bought herself a copy.

We’ll see if it brings about real change but at the very least this book has a calming effect that is much needed during times of anger.

Go get a copy for yourself for Christmas!

Guided Meditations for Looking Deeply and Releasing Anger

Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat HanhI still need to write down my thoughts about Thich Nhat Hanh’s Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, but after sharing Appendix B (The Five Mindfulness Trainings) I’d like to also share the guided meditations found in Appendix C. But first, the instructions on guided meditation from Appendix C:

Begin with “Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.” Followed by the key words “In, out.” You should always start with a few moments of mindful breathing to calm your mind. Use the first key word to accompany the in-breath, and the second key word to accompany the out-breath. Repeat these key words silently with your in- and out-breath in order to really touch the meaning of the meditation. Avoid saying the words mechanically; instead experience and feel them concretely. Allow eight to ten in- and out-breaths for each exercise, keeping the key words alive during each in- and out-breath.

Here are the guided meditations for Looking Deeply at Anger.

  1. Contemplating a person in anger, I breathe in.
    Seeing the suffering of that person, I breathe out.
    Angry person / Suffering
  2. Contemplating the damage from anger to self and others, I breathe in.
    Seeing that anger burns and destroys happiness, I breathe out.
    Anger harms self and others / Destroys happiness
  3. Seeing anger’s roots in my body, I breathe in.
    Seeing anger’s roots in my consciousness, I breathe out.
    Anger’s roots in body / Anger’s roots in consciousness
  4. Seeing the roots of anger in wrong perceptions and ignorance, breathe in.
    Smiling to my wrong perceptions and ignorance, I breathe out.
    Anger’s roots in wrong perceptions and ignorance / Smiling
  5. Seeing the angry person suffer, I breathe in.
    Feeling compassion for the angry person who suffers, I breathe out.
    Angry person suffers / Feeling compassion
  6. Seeing the unfavorable environment and unhappiness of the angry person, I breathe in.
    Understanding the causes of this unhappiness, I breathe out.
    Angry person unhappy / Understanding unhappiness
  7. Seeing myself burned by the fire of anger, I breathe in.
    Feeling compassion for myself burning with anger, I breathe out.
    Burned by anger / Compassion for myself
  8. Knowing anger makes me look ugly, I breathe in.
    Seeing myself as the chief cause of my ugliness, I breathe out.
    Anger makes me ugly / I cause my ugliness
  9. Seeing when I am angry I am a burning house, I breathe in.
    Taking care of my anger and going back to myself, I breathe out.
    I am a burning house / Taking care of myself
  10. Contemplating helping the angry person, I breathe in.
    Seeing myself able to help the angry person, I breathe out.
    Helping angry person / Capable of helping

And here are the guided meditations for Releasing Anger and Healing Relations with Our Parents.

  1. Seeing myself as a five-year-old child, I breathe in.
    Smiling to the five-year-old child, I breathe out.
    Myself, five years old / Smiling
  2. Seeing the five-year-old child as a fragile and vulnerable, I breathe in.
    Smiling with love to the five-year-old child, I breathe out.
    Five-year-old, fragile / Smiling with love
  3. Seeing my father as a five-year-old boy, I breathe in.
    Smiling to my father as a five-year-old boy, I breathe out.
    Father, five years old / Smiling
  4. Seeing my five-year-old father as fragile and vulnerable, I breathe in.
    Smiling with love and understanding to my father as a five-year-old boy, I breathe out.
    Father, fragile and vulnerable / Smiling with love and understanding
  5. Seeing my mother as a five-year-old girl, I breathe in.
    Smiling to my mother as a five-year-old girl, I breathe out.
    Mother, five years old / Smiling
  6. Seeing my five-year-old mother as fragile and vulnerable, I breathe in.
    Smiling with love and understanding to my mother as a five-year-old girl, I breathe out.
    Mother, fragile and vulnerable / Smiling with love and understanding
  7. Seeing my father suffering as a child, I breathe in.
    Seeing my mother suffering as a child, I breathe out.
    Father, suffering as a child / Mother, suffering as a child.
  8. Seeing my father in me, I breathe in.
    Smiling to my father in me, I breathe out.
    Father in me / Smiling
  9. Seeing my mother in me, I breathe in.
    Smiling to my mother in me, I breathe out.
    Mother in me / Smiling
  10. Understanding the difficulties that my father in me has, I breathe in.
    Determined to work for the release of both my father and me, I breathe out.
    Difficulties of father in me / Releasing father and me
  11. Understanding the difficulties that my mother in me has, I breathe in.
    Determined to work for the release of both my mother and me, I breathe out.
    Difficulties of mother in me / Releasing mother and me

The guided meditation found in Appendix D (Deep Relaxation) is also quite something so I might share that another day.

The Five Mindfulness Trainings

Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat HanhI still need to write down my thoughts about Thich Nhat Hanh’s Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, but for now I’d like to just share Appendix B from the book.

The Five Mindfulness Trainings

The First Mindfulness Training:Reverence for Life
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking or in my way of life.

The Second Mindfulness Training: Generosity
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I vow to cultivate loving-kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on earth.

The Third Mindfulness Training: Sexual Responsibility
Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I vow to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect couples and familes from being broken by sexual misconduct.

The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Deep Listening and Loving Speech
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

The Five Mindfulness Training: Mindfulness Consumption
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest food or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.

Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh

Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat HanhI just re-read Thich Nhat Hanh’s Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames (which I first read in 2003).

I highly recommend this book, whether or not you are angry. We are all angry at times and this book provides the tools for coping with your own anger and helping friends and famliy deal with their anger.

Here’s the Table of Contents:

Introduction

One: Consuming Anger
Two: Putting Out the Fire of Anger
Three: The Language of True Love
Four: Transformation
Five:Compassionate Communication
Six: Your Heart Sutra
Seven: No Enemies
Eight: David and Angelina: the Habit Energy of Anger
Nine: Embracing Anger With Mindfulness
Ten: Mindful Breathing
Eleven: Restoring the Pure Land

Appendix A: Peace Treaty
Appendix B: The Five Mindfulness Trainings
Appendix C: Guided Meditations for Looking Deeply and Releasing Anger
Appendix D: Deep Relaxation

I will write more on this book a bit later.