Thich Nhat Hanh on Transforming Negative Energy Habits

From http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Thich_Nhat_Hanh_Transforming_Negative_Habit_Energies.htm

Our joy, our peace, our happiness depend very much on our practice of recognizing and transforming our habit energies.

There are positive habit energies that we have to cultivate, there are negative habit energies that we have to recognize, embrace and transform. The energy with which we do these things is mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a kind of energy that helps us to be aware of what is going on. Therefore, when the habit energy shows itself, we know right away. “Hello, my little habit energy, I know you are there. I will take good care of you.” In recognizing it as it is, you are in control of the situation. You don’t have to fight it; in fact the Buddha does not recommend that you fight it, because that habit energy is you, and you should not fight against yourself. You have to generate the energy of mindfulness, which is also you, and that positive energy will do the work of recognizing and embracing.

Every time you embrace your habit energy, you can help it to transform a little bit. The habit energy is a kind of seed within your consciousness, and when it becomes a source of energy, you have to recognize it. You have to bring your mindfulness into the present moment, and you just embrace that negative energy: “Hello, my negative habit energy. I know you are there. I am here for you.” After maybe one or two or three minutes, that energy will go back into the form of a seed, in order to re-manifest itself later on. You have to be very alert.

Every time a negative energy is embraced by the energy of mindfulness, it will lose a little bit of its strength as it returns as a seed to the lower level of consciousness. The same thing is true for all other mental formations: your fear, your anguish, your anxiety, and your despair. They exist in us in the form of seeds, and every time one of the seeds is watered, it becomes a zone of energy on the upper level of our consciousness. If you don’t know how to take care of it, it will cause damage, it will push us to do or to say things that will damage us and damage the people we love.

Therefore, generating the energy of mindfulness, to recognize it, to embrace it, to take care of it, is the practice. And the practice should be done in a very tender, non-violent way. There should be no fighting, because when you fight, you create damage within yourself.

The Buddhist practice is based on the insight of non-duality: you are love, you are mindfulness, but you are also that habit energy within you. To meditate does not mean to transform yourself into a battlefield, the right fighting the wrong, the positive fighting the negative. That’s not Buddhist. That is why, based on the insight of non-duality, the practice should be non-violent.

Mindfulness embracing anger is like a mother embracing her child, big sister embracing younger sister.

The embrace always brings a positive effect. You can bring relief, and you can cause the negative energy to lose some of its strength, just by embracing it.

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Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

Posted in Buddhism, Uncategorized

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