Come Home To Yourself – 10 quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book – Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise

by Mark Votava

download (17)1. Deep listening leads to understanding

“If we want to be more connected to others, we don’t need to text them more; we need to listen to them more. Deep listening leads to understanding. Understanding leads to greater connection. The way to listen more deeply is not simply to try harder. Rather, it is to take time in practice that starts with silence – that is, with quieting our internal Radio Non-Stop Thinking.”

2. Breathing mindfully

“Breathing mindfully and becoming aware of your responses to people and events around you is a deep practice. Instead of reacting, instead of even thinking, you allow yourself just to be. You practice mindfulness to be with your breath, your steps, the trees, the flowers, the blue sky, and the sunshine.”

3. A wonderful lightness and freedom

“Not talking, by itself, already can bring a significant degree of peace. If we can also offer ourselves the deeper silence of not thinking, we can find, in that quiet, a wonderful lightness and freedom.”

4. Listen deeply to yourself

“You can spend your whole life listening to internal and external messages without ever hearing the voice of your deepest desire… If you have the space and silence to listen deeply to yourself, you may find within you a strong desire to help other people, to bring love and compassion to others, to create positive transformation in the world…”

5. Beauty and silence

“All the sounds around us and all the thoughts that we’re constantly replaying in our minds can be thought of as a kind of food. We’re familiar with edible food, the kind of food we physically chew and swallow. But that’s not the only kind of food we humans consume; it’s just one kind. What we read, our conversations, the shows we watch, the online games we play, and our worries, thoughts, and anxieties are all food. No wonder we often don’t have space in our consciousness for beauty and silence: we are constantly filling up on so many other kinds of food.”

6. When you ask the question, “Who am I?”

“When you ask the question, ‘Who am I?’ – if you have enough time and concentration – you may find some surprising answers…”

7. Most of us don’t feel settled or quiet

“Even if we are not talking with others, reading, listening to the radio, watching television, or interacting online, most of us don’t feel settled or quiet. This is because we’re still tuned to an internal radio station, Radio NST (Non-Stop-Thinking).”

8. Hurrying, noise, or confusion

“If your daily life is full of hurrying, noise, or confusion, it’s easy to forget to be aware of the wholesome and supportive elements that are all around you, such as the fresh air, the sun, and the trees.”

9. If we listen from the mind of silence

“If we listen from the mind of silence, every birdsong and every whispering of the pine branches in the wind will speak to us.”

10. Come home to yourself

“With the act of breathing in mindfully, you go inside. Your body is breathing; and your body is your home. In each breath, you can come home to yourself.”

Have you practiced coming home to yourself?

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist