Update: We are offering online retreats while Plum Village France remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dharma Talks / Freedom from Being Caught in the Past or the Future

Thich Nhat Hanh

There is the habit energy of running in every one of us. We tend to run to the futrue in order to look for happiness, peace and fulfillment. Many of us are caught in our regrets and sorrows concerning the past. You may have suffered a lot when you were a child, when you were young. The mark of suffering is very deep in us and there is a dark corner in our consciousness. The memory of suffering is stored there. In our daily life we tend to go back there and watch the film again and again. We experience the suffering of the past again and again. We know that it is not good to go back to the past and experience the same kind of suffering again and again, but that has become a habit. The past becomes a kind of prison. We are locked in it, and we are not capable of getting out and be in the present moment., to get in touch with the sunshine, the blue sky and the wonders of life. We are not free. There must be a way to get out of that prison. The practice of mindfulness can help us.

Many of us tend to also run to the future. We have a lot of fear and uncertainty about the future. We are caught by the energy of fear, uncertainty and worry. The future also becomes a prison. We are so concerned about the futrue, we worry about the future and we are not capable to live in the present moment. The blue sky, the beautiful hills, the trees, the flowers, the sunshine, the children, all wonders are there in the present moment.

In fact, life is only available in the here and the now. The past is already passed and the future is not yet there. Life is only available in the present moment. This is very clear.

The practice of mindfulness helps us not to be caught in the past or the future and live deeply in the present moment. We need freedom in order to live our life, freedom from the sorrows and regrets concerning the past, and the worries and uncertainty about the future. The practice of mindful breathing and walking can help us to be free.

When we do walking meditation, we may walk not too quick and not too slow. Breathing in, you may make two steps or three steps. Every step brings us home to the here and now. I have arrived, I am home. Joy and love is possible. Breathing in, I make one step and arrive in the here and the now. Breathing out, I am home, home. With every step we arrive at the Kingdom of God.

We can use words to help us practice walking meditation:

I have arrived, I am home.
In the here, in the now.
I am solid, I am free.
In the ultimate, I dwell.

(This is the first Dharma talk by Thay for the 4th week of Summer Retreat 2014 in Plum Village.)

You can help us caption and transcribe this video on Amara

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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