Monday 12 August 2019

What I'm thinking about this week: Nourishing Love

I have been listening to the audiobook recordings from Zen meditation Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s “The Art of Mindful Living”. It is an interesting, challenging, thought moving discussion where Master Hanh very reasonably lays out the consequences of not living mindfully, and some guidelines on how to get out of the mess. 

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One of his teaching that struck me was Nourishing Love. 

Nourishing Love. The idea that not only do your actions and life nourish you, but does the way you love others and the way they love you nourish you? What he’s really talking about are healthy relationships, but what a wonderful Buddhist way to phrase it. 

Do your relationships and the way you love and are loved nourish you? In a family that is brittle, difficult, loving, passionate, it can be difficult and challenging to be the person who is kind, generous and listens. Wildly, he also speaks about active listening and how important it is to be mindful of others through really holding space and listening to what they have to say. This really hit me, because so often we run through life, cleaning the house while talking on the phone, texting while having dinner, eating in front of a computer instead of in front of friends, instead of being with our loved ones, instead of really listening and seeing them.  

When we spoke about this in my yoga class, it was really magical because you can narrow it down to two parts. On your mat, with your body, can you be present, kind and loving towards your body - weird and abstract to say, but when you have wild hurtful thoughts, or you push your body so much it hurts, can you take the edge off and just be a little kinder? And off the mat, where the real challenge is, can you nourish your relationships around you. Can you spend this week listening to your family? Can you pick one behavior that’s nourishing to focus on? 

I really loved this topic, because not only does it make me warm to say the words “nourishing love”  but it’s psychology. It’s relationships. It’s the accumulation of how you treat people every day, the little moments that make up a life. 

With love, 
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