BY THICH NHAT HANH
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There’s a lot of suffering in the world, and it’s important for us to stay in touch with this suffering in order to be compassionate. But to remain strong, we also need to embrace the positive elements. When we see a group of people living mindfully, smiling and behaving in a loving manner, we gain confidence in our future. When we practice mindful breathing, smiling, resting, walking, and working, we become a positive element in society, and we will inspire confidence in everyone around us. This is the way to avoid allowing despair to overwhelm us. It is also the way to help the younger generation so they don’t lose hope. It’s very important that we live our daily lives in such a way as to demonstrate that a future is possible.
To bring about real change in our global ecological situation our efforts must be collective and harmonious, based on love and respect for ourselves and each other, our ancestors, and future generations. If anger at injustice is what we use as the source of our energy, we may do something harmful, something we will later regret. According to Buddhism, compassion is the only source of energy that is useful and safe. With compassion your energy is born from insight; it’s not blind energy. Just feeling compassion is not enough; we have to learn to express it. That is why love must always go together with understanding. Understanding and insight show us how to act.
Adapted from The World We Have. Look inside the January issue of the Shambhala Sun, dedicated to the life and teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.