The Moment is Perfect
By Thich Nhat Hanh
No matter what we experience when we’re meditating, it only has meaning when we take it out into our daily lives. There is nothing we experience—from the simple act of eating to the complications of work and relationships—that we cannot approach with the mindfulness and compassion we develop in our meditation.
Take the time to eat an orange in mindfulness. If you eat an orange in forgetfulness, caught in your anxiety and sorrow, the orange is not really there. But if you bring your mind and body together to produce true presence, you can see that the orange is a miracle. Peel the orange. Smell the fruit. See the orange blossoms in the orange, and the rain and the sun that have gone through the orange blossoms. The orange tree that has taken several months to bring this wonder to you. Put a section in your mouth, close your mouth mindfully, and with mindfulness feel the juice coming out of the orange. Taste the sweetness. Do you have the time to do so? If you think you don’t have time to eat an orange like this, what are you using that time for? Are you using your time to worry or using your time to live?…
…We may think that everything in us is wrong, but that’s not true. There are millions of things in us that are right.
When we cook, when we clean, when we walk, each movement can be made with mindfulness, concentration, and insight. With each step we take, we can touch the earth and become one with it. Our fear and loneliness dissipate. There is no other way. With every breath, we can generate mindfulness, concentration, and insight. Insight is our liberation. Insight liberates us from our fear, our ignorance, our loneliness and despair. It is this insight that helps us to penetrate deeply into the nature of no-birth and no-death, and the interconnected nature of all things. This is the cream of Buddhist practice—and we can do it by means of the very simple practices of breathing in and breathing out, being mindful of each step, and looking deeply.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a renowned Vietnamese Zen master, poet, and founder of the Engaged Buddhism movement.
The Moment is Perfect, Thich Nhat Hanh, Shambhala Sun, May 2008.