Looking deeply

“Outside of the First Holy Truth there cannot be any path, holy or unholy.  That is why you have to embrace your suffering, hold it close to your chest, and look deeply into it. The way out of your suffering depends on how you look into it.  That is why suffering is called a Holy Truth.  Look deeply into the nature of the path, using your Buddha-eyes.  The truth of the path is one with the truth of suffering.  Every second I am on the path that leads out of suffering, suffering is there to guide me.  That is why it is a Holy Path.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

As I look deeply into my own suffering I can see that my understanding of it is the way out. I see where my suffering has led me in this life; all the ways that I avoided my responsibilities because they were too hard and overwhelming; seeking relief in alcohol, drugs, relationships, and fantasy. I see how all of those choices and so many more have made me the person I am today. I see that I was not capable then of embracing my suffering as I would a crying baby. Today, as I sit in meditation, I see the ways that I suffer. I offer myself love, comfort, and compassion. I no longer have to tell myself how horrible I am for what I’ve done or what I want to do. I simply hold those feelings, allowing them to arise and pass away, knowing they are just feelings – a part of life.


Continue to work with your feelings or thoughts or whatever arises in your sitting practice. Allow everything to arise and pass away naturally without commentary. Should the commentary begin, allow that to pass away also. Don’t hold on to anything.

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