Looking Deeply

In his book Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh quotes Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Then he says, “‘Be still’ means to become peaceful and concentrated. The Buddhist term is samatha (stopping, calming, concentrating). ‘Know’ means to acquire wisdom, insight, or understanding. The Buddhist term is vipasyana (insight, or looking deeply). ‘Looking deeply’ means observing something or someone with so much concentration that the distinction between observer and observed disappears. The result is insight into the true nature of the object.”

The object of most of Thay’s writing seems to be to encourage us to “look deeply” into every moment of our lives. Also, “Looking deeply” seems to be the object of the practice of meditation in both the Buddhist and Christian traditions–the conscious effort to see into the true nature of life, of love, of God. But meditation as a method of spiritual growth might be seen as something we do not only when we sit in silence and focus our attention (as in “be still and know”), but also a way of doing everything we do. Being mindful, looking deeply at every act. This, it seems to me, is the only way to “pray without ceasing”–the prayer of looking deeply into each moment of our lives. Not a prayer of words, but a prayer of being.

Published by Gary Guinn

Retired English professor. Dog lover. Craft beer lover. Occasional writer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: