Tangerine Meditation: Thich Nhat Hahn’s Simple, Profound Mindfulness Practice to Magnify Your Capacity for Joy

Snake and Muricated lizard, from guiding 18th-century artist Sarah Stones natural history illustrations of endangered and exotic animals. (Available as a print and as a face mask.) It is that any totality of love is born of the specifics– those footholds of understanding by which we ascend the ladder of appreciation and adoration to show up at a mindful and specific love that subjectifies what it likes rather than objectifying it, the method Ursula K. Le Guin believed poetry subjectifies the universe.

A quarter millennium after William Blake saw “a World in a Grain of Sand and a Heaven in a Wild Flower” and a century after William James laid the foundation of modern psychology with the then-radical assertion that your experience is what you concur to address, the fantastic Vietnamese peace activist and Buddhist instructor Thich Nhat Hanh developed a basic, powerful instrument for refining attention, kindred to Maries poetic project, additional miniaturized into a portable everyday help for living with higher aliveness.

Attention, after all, is the native poetry of awareness and the most essential type of love.

Inevitably, the animals previously considered as remote and abstract othernesses, caricatured by a couple of loathsome features, are gradually rendered intriguing by the thousand small information of their being, complex and concrete. Since interest is the crucible of intimacy and intimacy the crucible of connection, due to the fact that the light of attention cast upon the creatures renders them luminous golden threads indivisible from the tapestry of aliveness that makes our rocky planet a captivated loom of a world, the poems inevitably become love poems.

My poet friend Marie Howe gives the students in her ecopoetry class a lovely task: At the outset of the semester, each young poet is asked to name the animal they find most repulsive, then to learn everything they can about it– scientifically, traditionally, culturally. By the conclusion of the course, they need to write a poem about it.

Thich Nhat HanhIn a section of his 1992 traditional Peace Is Every Step (town library) titled “Tangerine Meditation,” he observes that if you are offered a newly chosen tangerine, the magnitude of your satisfaction will depend upon the level of your mindfulness:

If you are had by anger or fear, the tangerine may not be very genuine to you.

He goes on to share a reality-regrounding mindfulness practice from his deal with kids that is, like an excellent childrens book, a mini work of art of approach and a mental salve for any stage of life:

One day, I provided a variety of kids a basket filled with tangerines. The basket was passed around, and each kid took one tangerine and put it in his/her palm. We each looked at our tangerine, and the children were invited to contemplate its origins. They saw not just their tangerine, however also its mother, the tangerine tree. With some assistance, they began to imagine the blooms in the sunshine and in the rain. They saw petals dropping and the tiny fruit appear. The rain and the sunshine continued, and the tiny tangerine grew. Now someone has picked it, and the tangerine is here. After seeing this, each kid was welcomed to peel the tangerine slowly, observing the mist and the scent of the tangerine, and then bring it approximately his or her mouth and have a mindful bite, in complete awareness of the texture and taste of the fruit and the juice coming out. We consumed slowly like that.

Tangerine. Echoing John Muirs poetic observation that “when we attempt to choose out anything by itself, we find it hitched to whatever else in the universe,” Thich Nhat Hanh adds:

For a different and similarly powerful take on how attention magnifies delight, drawing on a various orange fruit, enjoy Diane Ackermans sensual poem “The Consolation of Apricots,” then review Thich Nhat Hanhs gentle and effective knowledge on mastering the art of “interbeing” we call love, the four Buddhist mantras for turning worry into love, and his terrific hugging meditation– which might just be the loveliest way for this world to extend itself alive after the long contact-famished stupor of a global pandemic.

One day, I offered a number of kids a basket filled with tangerines. The basket was passed around, and each kid took one tangerine and put it in his or her palm. They saw not only their tangerine, however also its mother, the tangerine tree. After seeing this, each child was invited to peel the tangerine slowly, noticing the mist and the scent of the tangerine, and then bring it up to his or her mouth and have a mindful bite, in complete awareness of the texture and taste of the fruit and the juice coming out. You can see everything in the universe in one tangerine.

Each time you look at a tangerine, you can see deeply into it. You can see everything in the universe in one tangerine.