Are you sure?

My Dharma teacher from our Plum Blossom Sangha invites everyone to sit or walk in a healing and appreciation meditation for our beloved teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. He has been seriously sick for three weeks and only started eating some yoghurt two days ago.

Image courtesy to spring in my eyes as I realize we might lose him. I feel sadness, fear, and grief about the anticipated loss. I decide to meditate outside on the deck, where the bougainvillea blooms abundantly. That will help me celebrate Thich Nhat Hanh’s contribution to the world, and understand and accept the impermanence of life.

As soon as I sit, it starts to rain, while the sun continues to shine exorbitantly. Cloud, rains, and sunshine at the same time. Just like I experience joy, sadness, and appreciation at the same time.

The Buddha taught his students one important question: “Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure?”

I remembered that question when I felt angry and frustrated a few days ago. I went for a walk and told myself “I feel angry and frustrated”. Then it dawned on me, was I sure?

Magic happened.

Sure, I still felt anger and frustration, I still had all these enemy images racing through my mind. I still felt adrenaline pumping through my hands.

And, I felt something else. A sadness about the conflict and disconnect. A joy about all the positive things in our relationship. An openness to and compassion for my partner.

Are you sure?

I feel sadness and fear with the thought of Thich Nhat Hanh dying. And I feel trust that his energy, presence, and teachings are always available to me. And gratitude and relief that I found him and my Sangha to support me on my path of mindfulness. And a solidity within myself that nothing is lost, nothing gained, that there is just a constant change in the manifestation of life.

Are you sure?

You might like to ask yourself that question once in a while.


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2 Replies to “Are you sure?”

  1. I like that Miss Elly. It’s both sad and wonderful to experience such emotions. A while back a friend of mine lost his Father. He was really crushed. When we spoke I reminded him how lucky he was to feel such loss. When my Father died, it didn’t strike me at all. I felt nothing. Not because I hated him, because I didn’t, we never connected. He was a drunk and very abusive. When I lose an animal I feel that kind of loss. I hope your friend finds peace, and that you find peace within that peace.

    1. Dear Richard, I am very aware that there is blessing in experiencing loss, since it is a sign that you had a precious connection. I completely understand how saddening it can be to realize that you don’t miss your father, as you had no connection that brought you any joy and love. I celebrate my connection with my parents, and know I will always carry their love, support, and appreciation in my heart, even after they’re gone. I much experience grief and loss, than not feeling loss and no connection.

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