Quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh’s “The Art of Power”

Known and loved around the world for spreading the practice of mindfulness, Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh passed away at 95 last month in the Vietnamese city of Hue. Thich Nhat Hanh dedicated much of his life working for peace, and he distilled Buddhist teachings on compassion and suffering into easily grasped concepts. A prolific author, the teacher’s books have influenced millions of lives. Here, we’ll take a look at selected quotes from his book – The Art of Power.

Power is a central issue in our private and public lives. The struggle for control and authority contributes to rising rates of depression, stress and anxiety. In my coaching and counselling practice, I’ve seen numerous clients who are kept awake at night because of the contention for fame, fortune and success. Challenging the conventional understanding of power, Thich Nhat Hanh advocates for true power which comes from within – what we seek, we already have.

On Power

“All the power you possess, no matter how great, is useless if it does not bring you joy and does not bring peace and happiness to those you love.”

“Even if we are not aware of it, most of us seek to be in positions of power because we believe this will enable us to control our life situations. We believe power will get us what we most want: freedom and happiness.”

“There is another kind of power, a greater power: the power to be happy right in the present moment, free from addiction, fear, despair, discrimination, anger and ignorance.”

“Power will be challenged by those with less power if it is seen as illegitimate. But when power is seen as legitimate and comes with spiritual authority, it is appreciated and even revered.”

“The fruit of mindfulness practice is the realization that peace and joy are available within us and around us, right here and right now.”

“You may not know what is causing your pain, your despair, your depression, your fear, but if you know how to hold that pain with the energy of mindfulness, you immediately get relief, because the energy of mindfulness begins to penetrate the energy of pain, of sorrow.”

“Happiness can come to you in a thousand ways if you only allow it to. But if you’re committed to only one idea of happiness, you’re stuck.”

“If at some point in your life, you adopt an idea or a perception as the absolute truth, you close the door of your mind. This is the end of seeking the truth…. Attachment to views, attachment to ideas, attachment to perceptions are the biggest obstacles to the truth.”

“To be anxious about the future dose not help. The fact is that the future is made of the present. If you take care of the present to the best of your ability, you are doing everything you can to ensure a happy future.”

Interested in mindfulness?

At Personality Matters, we facilitate an experiential 8-session Mindful Living Programme designed to help you enhance your mental and emotional wellbeing. Through mindfulness exercises, therapeutic dialogues and home practices, you will change the way you relate to your thoughts and emotions, and take steps towards a happier, more peaceful, and energized life.

Benefits of mindfulness includes:

• Reduction in levels of depression, anxiety, stress, worry and anger.
• Improved quality of sleep.
• Better pain management.
• Build healthier relationships.
• Deeper self-compassion and gratitude.

Contact us to find out more!

Dr. J. Peter is a researcher and specialist in psychological type and cognitive-behavioural sciences. He helps clients build better emotional, psychosocial and relational well-being.

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