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The Four Mantras of True Presence

By Thich Nhat Hanh on Wednesday December 30th, 2015

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These simple mantras can help us overcome suffering

When you love someone, you have to be truly present for him or for her. A ten-year-old boy I know was asked by his father what he wanted for his birthday, and he didn’t know how to answer. His father is quite wealthy and could afford to buy almost anything he might want. But the young man only said, “Daddy, I want you!” His father is too busy – he has no time for his wife or his children. To demonstrate true love, we have to make ourselves available. If that father learns to breathe in and out consciously and be present for his son, he can say, “My son, I am really here for you.”

The greatest gift we can make to others is our true presence. “I am here for you” is a mantra to be uttered in perfect concentration.

When you are concentrated – mind and body together – you produce your true presence, and anything you say is a mantra.

1st mantra: “Darling, I am here for you.”

It does not have to be in Sanskrit or Tibetan. A mantra can be spoken in your own language: “Darling, I am here for you.” And if you are truly present, this mantra will produce a miracle. You become real, the other person becomes real, and life is real in that moment. You bring happiness to yourself and to the other person.

Boy looking up
“Darling, I am here for you”

2nd mantra: “I know you are there, and I am very happy.”

“I know you are there, and I am very happy” is the second mantra. When I look at the moon, I breathe in and out deeply and say, “Full moon, I know you are there, and I am very happy.” I do the same with the morning star. Last spring in Korea, walking mindfully among magnolia trees, I looked at the magnolia flowers and said, “I know you are there and I am very happy.” To be really present and know that the other is also there is a miracle. When you contemplate a beautiful sunset, if you are really there, you will recognize and appreciate it deeply. Looking at the sunset, you feel very happy. Whenever you are really there, you are able to recognize and appreciate the presence of the other – the full moon, the North Star, the magnolia flowers, or the person you love the most.

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These mantras can be practiced in our daily life

First you practice breathing in and out deeply to recover yourself, and then you sit close to the one you love and, in that state of deep concentration, pronounce the second mantra. You are happy, and the person you love is happy at the same time. These mantras can be practiced in our daily life. To be a true lover, you have to practice mindfulness of breathing, sitting, and walking in order to produce your true presence.

3rd mantra: “Darling, I know you suffer.”

The third mantra is: “Darling, I know you suffer. That is why I am here for you.” When you are mindful, you notice when the person you love suffers. If we suffer and if the person we love is not aware of our suffering, we will suffer even more. Just practice deep breathing, then sit close to the one you love and say, “Darling, I know you suffer. That is why I am here for you.” Your presence alone will relieve a lot of his or her suffering. No matter how old or young you are, you can do it.

4th mantra: “Darling, I suffer. Please help.”

The fourth mantra is the most difficult. It is practiced when you yourself suffer and you believe that the person you love is the one who has caused you to suffer. The mantra is, “Darling, I suffer. Please help.” Only five words, but many people cannot say it because of the pride in their heart. If anyone else had said or done that to you, you would not suffer so much, but because it was the person you love, you feel deeply hurt. You want to go to your room and weep. But if you really love him or her, when you suffer like that you have to ask for help. You must overcome your pride.

Partners
Your presence alone will relieve a lot of his or her suffering

Home-coming

There is a story that is well-known in my country about a husband who had to go off to war, and he left his wife behind, pregnant. Three years later, when he was released from the army, he returned home. His wife came to the village gate to welcome him, and she brought along their little boy. When husband and wife saw each other, they could not hold back their tears of joy. They were so thankful to their ancestors for protecting them that the young man asked his wife to go to the marketplace to buy some fruit, flowers, and other offerings to place on the ancestors’ altar.

While she was shopping, the young father asked his son to call him “daddy,” but the little boy refused. “Sir, you are not my daddy! My daddy used to come every night, and my mother would talk to him and cry. When mother sat down, daddy also sat down. When mother lay down, he also lay down.” Hearing these words, the young father’s heart turned to stone.

When his wife came home, he couldn’t even look at her. The young man offered fruit, flowers, and incense to the ancestors, made prostrations, and then rolled up the bowing mat and did not allow his wife to do the same. He believed that she was not worthy to present herself in front of the ancestors. His wife was deeply hurt. She could not understand why he was acting like that. He did not stay home. He spent his days at the liquor shop in the village and did not come back until very late at night. Finally, after three days, she could no longer bear it, and she jumped into the river and drowned.

That evening after the funeral, when the young father lit the kerosene lamp, his little boy shouted, “There is my daddy.” He pointed to his father’s shadow projected on the wall and said, “My daddy used to come every night like that and my mother would talk to him and cry a lot. When my mother sat down, he sat down. When my mother lay down, he lay down.” “Darling, you have been away for too long. How can I raise our child alone? She cried to her shadow.” One night the child asked her who and where his father was. She pointed to her shadow on the wall and said, “This is your father.” She missed him so much.

Suddenly, the young father understood, but it was too late. If he had gone to his wife even yesterday and asked, “Darling, I suffer so much. Our little boy said a man used to come every night and you would talk to him and cry with him, and every time you sat down, he also sat down. Who is that person?” she would have had an opportunity to explain and avert the tragedy. But he did not because of the pride in him.

Soldier crying
The fourth mantra: “Darling, I suffer. Please help.”

The lady behaved the same. She was deeply hurt because of her husband’s behavior, but she did not ask for his help. She should have practiced the fourth mantra, “Darling, I suffer so much. Please help. I do not understand why you will not look at me or talk with me. Why didn’t you allow me to prostrate before the ancestors? Have I done anything wrong?” If she had done that, her husband could have told her what the little boy had said. But she did not, because she was also caught in pride.

In true love, there is no place for pride. Please do not fall into the same trap. When you are hurt by the person you love, when you suffer and believe that your suffering has been caused by the person you love the most, remember this story. Do not act like the father or the mother of the little boy. Do not let pride stand in the way. Practice the fourth mantra, “Darling, I suffer. Please help.” If you really consider her to be the one you love the most in this life, you have to do that. When the other person hears your words, she will come back to herself and practice looking deeply. Then the two of you will be able to sort things out, reconcile, and dissolve the wrong perception.

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Words By Thich Nhat Hanh

Originally posted on The Mindfullness Bell

 

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comments

  • BeachDancer

    This is beautiful ! And i am so so blessed to be reminded of this teaching at this time ! Thank.you and bless you Thich Nhat Hanh & all others responsible for sending this now ‘ !

  • Jeanette

    I’m so sad that it wasn’t pride, it was the deepest sadness to have been let down, again. And this later turned out to be a misstake. Maybe it was meant to be.

  • SilverAngel

    Another article today that came just at the right time…tears in my eyes, shared on FB…<3 <3
    Peace and Love
    Sylvia Melaynia xx

  • Kellyann Conway

    Thank you!

  • Mike Kiwiallegiance

    To our dear incarcerated soul’s

    Your release from incarceration will be immediately actioned after C.R.A.N.Z Calendar Reform Aotearoa New Zealand is initiated.

    No Gregorian date on any document will stand up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    In 1919 the league of nations forerunner of the United nation’s was formed after the “Great war” the war to end war’s.

    In
    1930 after years of mustering western support it was agreed to adopt
    the indigenous peoples ancient calendar following natures time frame, of
    28 days per month and 13 months with1 day out of time for nature to
    recalibrate.

    So there it was: In 1933 January 1st we would start,
    Tricember being the thirteenth month. The bill got stopped by the
    church and Hollywood and co.

    After the radio broadcast of the war
    of the worlds brainwashing experiment in 1938 and the start of another
    world war, the Rothchild/Rockerfeller foundation invented Television, 50
    years of Tele-scope the vision of the Hollywood stars and in doing so
    made over 800 billionaires by 2008 this has kept the masses disconnected
    from natures law of time.

    The moon governs the birds, bees
    oceans and the seas and yes Humans.Quarter moon builds to fullmoon then
    wanes to a 3quarter moon then wanes back to a no moon called a new moon
    cycle.
    Writers like Raoal Dahl write under the light of the new
    moon!!! There is no moon in a new moon cycle. The cycle flows and
    repeats every 28 days following our human heart bio-Rhythms of the 13
    month moon cycle.

    Science has proven we human’s have a brain in
    our hearts that sends signals to the brain in our heads. Our heart mind
    bio-rhythms are as unique as our fingerprints yet collectively we are
    traveling on this planet at 66,666 miles per hour. In knowing these
    cycles of time and living in natures moon cycle, we collectively will
    engage our heart bio-rhythms in this bio-sphere no-osphere.
    We as the
    masses refuse to work as cash cows under a calendar that has been
    deliberately designed to make money and disconnect our heart
    bio-rhythms. The labels for marking time mon,tue, jan, feb etc invoke
    old karmic, tapu connotations associated with Gregorian calendar
    programme of tele-scope vision of Hollywood and co stars, not our stars
    in heaven. Disaster means disassociated from stars in heaven

  • Shani Amor

    there’s so much to learn from this post, really. thank you very very much for sharing!

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