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When you practise walking alone, try slow walking. Breathe in, and make one step. Bring all your attention to the contact between your foot and the ground below, and say something like, «I have arrived». I have arrived means I have arrived in the here and the now, I have arrived in the Kingdom. But that is not a statement; I have arrived is not a statement. That is a practice; that is a realisation. Because with one in-breath and one step, we can arrive in the here and the now; it means we stop the running. Stopping the running is hard work because we are used to run; we run even during our sleep. We are not capable to be established in the here and the now, to live deeply each moment of our daily life. It has become a habit, running, running. So when I take a step, and I say «I have arrived», that is a revolution. It means that I don’t want to run anymore; I want to stop. I have run all my life, and in my former lives, in the life of my mother, my father, my grandmother, my grandfather. I also have run, and now I’ve come in touch with the teaching, I don’t want to run anymore. I want to stop in order to make myself available to the Kingdom, because I know the Kingdom is available, but there is no way to touch the Kingdom because I always, am always running. I have always been running. So the step I make is no less than a revolution. You want to really stop the running. I have arrived. I have arrived is not a statement, that is a realisation. And you know whether you have arrived or not. Deeply, you know you have arrived or not.

You may arrive 10 percent or 20 percent, that’s not true arrival! You have to arrive 100 percent. And in order to arrive 100 percent in the here and the now, you need to invest 100 percent of your body, 100 percent of your mind in order to make that step. That is the training, and if you have not arrived, dont make another step; stay there until you arrive. And that is the advantage when you practise alone, because no one is waiting for you. You can take as much time as you need to arrive. We just take one step, breathing in, and arrive. Don’t take another step if you have not arrived. You know that when you want to stop the fan, you push the button, but the fan continues to turn for a hundred times in order to stop. So it may be like that with your step. You want to stop. You have given you the order to stop. And yet you are still running. So bring 100 percent of your body and your mind into arriving, stopping. Because you are dealing with a very strong habit energy, the energy of running. And during the first day, the first week of practice, you might encounter that habit energy of running, always trying to bring you everywhere, not to allow you in the here and the now.

So, when you make one step like that, we should use our mindfulness, our concentration. Mindfulness and concentration is powerful enough for you to arrive, to really stop. I don’t want to run anymore, I want to stop, I want to be in the here and the now. I want to be in touch with the wonders of life. I want to be in touch with the Kingdom of God. And when you feel that you have arrived, smile to your success, and take another step. Slow walking, try it. Every day you may practise alone; you take one distance, from this rock to the other tree. And from here to there, every step helps you to arrive; every step helps you to be in the Kingdom of God. What makes this land the land of suffering or the Kingdom of God depends on you, depends on your energy of mindfulness and concentration.

— More from Thich Nhat Hanh

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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