From Thich Nhat Hanh’s Four Establishments of Mindfulness: “We don’t practice mindfulness in Buddhism in order to repress our feelings, but as a way of looking after our feelings, being their sponsor in an affectionate, nonviolent way. When we’re able to maintain mindfulness, we’re not carried away by or drowned in our feelings or in the conflicts within ourselves. We nourish and maintain mindfulness through conscious breathing and try to become aware of our internal formations and conflicts as they manifest. We receive them with love as a mother takes her child in her arms: “Mindfulness is present, and I know that I have enough strength to be in contact with the knots in me.” In this kind of an environment, our internal formations will manifest as feelings and images in our mind that we can contact and identify fully and deeply. Without judgment, blame, or criticism for having these feelings or images, we just observe, identify, and accept them in order to see their source and their true nature. If there’s pain, we feel the pain. If there’s sadness, we are sad. If there’s anger, then we are angry, but our anger is accompanied by mindfulness. We don’t lose ourselves in the pain, the sadness, or the anger, but we calm them down. Even if we haven’t seen the roots of the internal formations, the fact that we can greet our pain, our sadness, and our anger in mindfulness already causes our internal knots to lose some of their strength. Thanks to our vigilant observation, eventually we’ll see their roots and transform them.”



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