People Share Tragedy.

“You Suffer, I suffer”(Nhat Hanh).

I have returned to the wise words of Thich Nhat Hanh recently, needing to be reminded and inspired about the importance of being apart of something larger than myself and connected to the world as a whole. People have different ways of finding their space and creating their sanctuaries; some use meditation, dance,sing, trail run, camp, spend quality time with friends, etc. I believe finding myself is necessary in order to find harmony with the rest of the world and to understand no one is alone.

I came across an article in Times magazine recently about the current condition of, now ninety-two year old Thich Nhat Hanh. I will leave the link to the article at the bottom for you to read. Revisiting his work, I read a passage with the following simple yet thought-invoking quote, “You suffer, I suffer” (Nhat Hanh). His words will of course be interpreted uniquely by people. I think that is how people learn through literature. We present ideas from reading, and though we may not all share these ideas, or agree, it universally captures attention and inspires people to critically think about it before dismissing it.

I have reflected on these words from Nhat Hanh, and I believe each person who experiences unique emotions and events, has different reactions to events; however, they collectively experience the happenings in the world, nonetheless. It is each individual and the diversity each bring to a community that make a tribe, create opportunities, and contribute his or her unique ability and effort (people learn from one another whether they admit it or not, or agree on everything. They may learn to be more confident with their decisions after giving someone else’s opinion a chance to be heard and digested).

“Our fear and suffering is also the suffering of our parents, our friends, and our society. You are me and I am you” (Nhat Hanh).

I don’t think he is saying we are all the same or followers, rather our emotions connect us to one another. We all suffer. We do not all derive from the same place to get to the suffering, and we may not share the exact same experiences, yet we are all in this world together to experience suffering, happiness, and other feelings. I believe acknowledging this can create more empathy for one another. Nhat Hanh called this “no-self.” For example, everyone who lived during World War II suffered through this time together one way or another. People suffer different ways around the world from tornadoes to hurricanes, war, poverty, etc. However, would it be fair to say some suffer more than others? I think so.

For every literary work there is an argument, and Nhat Hanh’s idea about “you suffer, I suffer”. When I think of suffering being shared among people(not like slices of pizza) it is easier to belive;however, thinking of happiness being shared seems less convincing. Hmm, is suffering and misery more powerful than happiness?Why is misery shared and happiness not so much?

Everyone experiences happiness on Christmas. This is not necessarily true, however, not everyone will be happy this day. Some may be suffering too much from poverty to celebrate Christmas, or be alone and have no one to share the holiday with. Perhaps, this is to say that only the dark, tragic events are shared, in some way, than moments of euphoria.

I think people cling to worry, purposely or not purposely. From experience, it seems easy to live in the past and present and less so in the present. Thoughts become worry and begin to suck away happiness and awareness of the moment, and the fact people are apart of a web, this worry is shared. Mindfulness is one way to find the connection to the world. I imagine not everyone thinks of mindfulness “like a loving parent cradling a baby, saying ‘” Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of you; just rest”‘(Nhat Hanh).

It is stressed in yoga classes and exercise, but breathing correctly is essential for me to be present, calm, and aware. A deep inhale and exhale can make the network that binds people together. I believe it is a path to happiness.


Below is the link to the latest article about Thich Nhat Hahn.

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