It is often said that life is suffering. Why, then, do some people weather the sea of suffering with composure while others fall victim and sink into it? Again, I like the writings of Thích Nhất Hạnh as they are relevant, relatable and easily understood. In his book, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering, Thích Nhất Hạnh provides suggestions as to how to frame and relate to suffering so as to not succumb to it. Per the publisher, “The secret to happiness is to acknowledge and transform suffering, not to run away from it. In No Mud, No Lotus, Thích Nhất Hạnh offers practices and inspiration transforming suffering and finding true joy.
Thích Nhất Hạnh acknowledges that because suffering can feel so bad, we try to run away from it or cover it up by consuming. We find something to eat or turn on the television. But unless we’re able to face our suffering, we can’t be present and available to life, and happiness will continue to elude us.
Nhất Hạnh shares how the practices of stopping, mindful breathing, and deep concentration can generate the energy of mindfulness within our daily lives. With that energy, we can embrace pain and calm it down, instantly bringing a measure of freedom and a clearer mind.
No Mud, No Lotus introduces ways to be in touch with suffering without being overwhelmed by it. “When we know how to suffer,” Nhất Hạnh says, “we suffer much, much less.” With his signature clarity and sense of joy, Thích Nhất Hạnh helps us recognize the wonders inside us and around us that we tend to take for granted and teaches us the art of happiness.”
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