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--by Thich Nhat Hanh (Aug 13, 2012)


This morning, at sunrise, a new bud appeared on the tree.  It was born around midnight.  The bark, the skin of the tree, split open under the incessant movement of its sap to make room for another life.  However, the tree was not listening, was not feeling those movements, that pain.  All it did was listen attentively to the whispering of the flowers and grasses that surrounded it.  The fragrance of the night was pure and wondrous.  The tree had no idea of passing time, of birth and death.  It was there, as present as the sky and the earth.

This morning, at dawn, I understand that this new day does not resemble any other, that this morning is unique.  We often think that we store away certain mornings for later.  But it is impossible.  Each morning is special, unique.  My friend, how do you find this morning?  It is here for the first time in our lives?  Is it the repetition of a past morning?  My friend, when we are not present, mornings repeat themselves.  If we are present in front of life, each morning is a new space, a new time.  The sun shines over different vistas, at different moments.  Your full awareness is like the moon that bathes in the heart of hundreds of rivers: the river flows, the water sings, the moon travels under the immense dome of the blue sky.  Look at that blue color, smile, and let your awareness spring up like the transparent, pure sunlight that caresses the branches and leaves in the early morning.
 
A morning is not a page that you cover with words and turn over at any moment.  A book is a path where one can come and go.  A morning is not a path, not even a path followed by a bird that flies away without leaving trace.  A morning is a symphony; for it to be there or not depends on your presence.
 
The new bud on the tree is not even a year old.  It is the bud of mindfulness and deep looking that, at each moment, in perpetual motion, opens up to life.  If you see the new bud, you will be able to go beyond the limits of time, for true life is beyond months, beyond years.
 
Your eyes are the immense sky, the high mountain, the deep ocean.  Your life does not know borders.  All the delicious fruit and magnificent flowers belong to you.  Accept them.
 
--Thich Nhat Hanh, in Call Me By My True Names


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On Aug 16, 2012 Anita Balaraman wrote:

Two sentences leapt out to me from yesterday’s reading… “If we are present in front of life, each morning is a new space, a new time.”; and, “A morning is a symphony; for it to be there or not depends on your presence.”   If we are not “present”, then we don’t see the newness of each moment, or in other words, the morning wouldn’t be a symphony, but rather just a path to the rest of your day. I can honestly say that I experienced being “present” yesterday. It carried over today too, when the Buddha statue on my front entryway looked just divine as the sun beamed over his face.   But, I have to confess, I am afraid of losing it, afraid that I may slip back into thinking of every moment as a path to somewhere, because that is easy. “Presence” is such a profound feeling that I felt a compulsive need to share it, share it with all, including my kids. I pondered over this, and wondered how I would  See full.

Two sentences leapt out to me from yesterday’s reading… “If we are present in front of life, each morning is a new space, a new time.”; and, “A morning is a symphony; for it to be there or not depends on your presence.”
 
If we are not “present”, then we don’t see the newness of each moment, or in other words, the morning wouldn’t be a symphony, but rather just a path to the rest of your day. I can honestly say that I experienced being “present” yesterday. It carried over today too, when the Buddha statue on my front entryway looked just divine as the sun beamed over his face.
 
But, I have to confess, I am afraid of losing it, afraid that I may slip back into thinking of every moment as a path to somewhere, because that is easy. “Presence” is such a profound feeling that I felt a compulsive need to share it, share it with all, including my kids. I pondered over this, and wondered how I would describe it to my 9 and 11-year olds. Still struggling, but this is the best I have come up with so far.
 
There are a couple of 3-D portraits in my hallway, those that on first blush look like several random colored dots just adorning the wall. But these paintings are fascinating- because when we stop by to just stare, zone out in some ways, then a picture seems to pop out, literally I mean. Oh, wow, is that really a garden, hidden in there? Once you see it, it is amazing to see how you might not have noticed it before.  But, tomorrow, as I hurry past the painting on the wall getting ready to rush out, the morning becomes just a path, and the 3-D painting just a framed picture of random dots. “So sweetie”, I rehearse, in my mind, “being present is being able to notice the picture that pops out of the random dots.” 

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On Aug 15, 2012 Narendra wrote:

Can you share a personal experience where you felt that the "morning is a symphony?" Every time I am outdoors in Nature, morning or evening, it is a symphony.   How do we grow in awareness of the novelty of each day?  If we are truly in the present, we become a part of flow of love and life in creation.  There will be nothing ‘mundane’ in life-creation. Everything we do, including common tasks, will be a source of happiness and a creative expression.   What does "All the delicious fruit and magnificent flowers belong to you. Accept them." mean to you, in terms of "you" and "belong"? All of life including unpleasant surprises can be accepted as an opportunity to see our strengths and weaknesses, and to grow in love, compassion and awareness.    How does this belonging relate to things that "belong" to us in our everyday sense of ownership? If we are ego-centered, our pain and our happiness belon  See full.

Can you share a personal experience where you felt that the "morning is a symphony?"
Every time I am outdoors in Nature, morning or evening, it is a symphony.
 
How do we grow in awareness of the novelty of each day?  If we are truly in the present, we become a part of flow of love and life in creation.  There will be nothing ‘mundane’ in life-creation. Everything we do, including common tasks, will be a source of happiness and a creative expression.
 
What does "All the delicious fruit and magnificent flowers belong to you. Accept them." mean to you, in terms of "you" and "belong"? All of life including unpleasant surprises can be accepted as an opportunity to see our strengths and weaknesses, and to grow in love, compassion and awareness. 
 
How does this belonging relate to things that "belong" to us in our everyday sense of ownership? If we are ego-centered, our pain and our happiness belong to us in a lonely fight for happiness and survival. When everyone’s pain and happiness belong to us, we become our environment and a part of life-force in creation. Personal pains become less significant.

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On Aug 14, 2012 Sundi wrote:
 Having had a series of health issues over the last few years, I am deeply aware of morning in terms of how I feel.  I have noticed that when the sun comes shining through the window I am immediately happier.  When I step outside and listen to the birds, I can face the day. This has become a routine that gets me going, lifts me up, and makes me appreciate the fact that I CAN rise out of bed, move, and enjoy life.  Thich Nhat Hanh always voices that which is hard to put into words.  THANK YOU for posting this.

On Aug 14, 2012 Lesly wrote:
Thank you Conrad.  Your description of "trying to say something worthwhile" was very aptly put and was very helpful in illustrating how we get out of the present - and co-incidentally how to stay in the present.

On Aug 12, 2012 david doane wrote:

 "My friend, when we are not present, mornings repeat themselves.  If we are present in front of life, each morning is a new space, a new time."  Those lines grabbed me.  I'm not at the point of appreciating and basking in the uniqueness of each morning, but I appreciate the unique wonder of some moments, and those moments are a symphony.  Being aware that each moment is a unique symphony helps me grow in appreciation of those moments.  "All the delicious fruit and magnificent flowers belong to you.  Accept them" means to me that I am part of all that is, that I and all that is is one, we are expressions of the one Being, and we belong to one another.  I think our everyday sense of ownership is based on seeing separateness of I and things which is a shared delusion that we all for the most part participate in, and it's a whole different world than appreciating that we really don't own anything and we do belong to o  See full.

 "My friend, when we are not present, mornings repeat themselves.  If we are present in front of life, each morning is a new space, a new time."  Those lines grabbed me.  I'm not at the point of appreciating and basking in the uniqueness of each morning, but I appreciate the unique wonder of some moments, and those moments are a symphony.  Being aware that each moment is a unique symphony helps me grow in appreciation of those moments.  "All the delicious fruit and magnificent flowers belong to you.  Accept them" means to me that I am part of all that is, that I and all that is is one, we are expressions of the one Being, and we belong to one another.  I think our everyday sense of ownership is based on seeing separateness of I and things which is a shared delusion that we all for the most part participate in, and it's a whole different world than appreciating that we really don't own anything and we do belong to one another and to all that is because we are one.  An analogy  may be that my arm and my heart are unique expressions of one being, neither owning the other, and belong to one another as they are part of one body. 

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On Aug 10, 2012 susan schaller wrote:
 Born at the bottom of a big and confused family, I had raised fists from babyhood, defending myself from three older brothers, a bossy older sister, and the accusations of my baby sister.  My raised fists and fighting attitude made for a narrow and painful life.  As I learned to accept myself and life, and practiced love instead of fighting, I could be, be in the present.  Without dragging heavy baggage from the past or obsessing about future fear based fantasies, I could see the trees, the skies, the humming bird, your smiles and me.  Life and each day became full and a doorway into possibility.  When I am in the present, not only is everything more beautiful and grand, I am bigger, connected to all of life, connected to all of you. Enjoy the fullness of this day.

On Aug 10, 2012 Susan xo wrote:
 Mornings are indeed a symphony for ne! I love this writing.of Thich Nhat Hanh because.I closely relate to its meaning and sentiment.

For the whole.of.my life as ling as I can remember this time of day.has been magical for me, the quiet comimg of the new day, beginning as the birds and critters wake to greet the rising.sun. then as the sky lightened and brightened as darkeness reverse to welcome a new beginning.

Physically and metaphorically this time has represented a blossoming of newness of.promise and potential that is a gift that belongs to me!

Mostly I try to approach this time with awareness of the subtlies of the burgeoning day and equally with my interaction with family, neighbors, colleagues and friends as the days journey begins.

As Thich has written, all the delicious fruit belongs to me... my day, my experience in this day this moment is a reflection of me, a reflection of my thoughts, my loving nature, my hope for this new day!

On Aug 9, 2012 Kokil wrote:
 For many years at a stretch all I did was get up in the morning, get dressed, rush to work, come back from work, eat , watch TV and sleep. One fine day I decided to move into a state of awareness and as I evolved and life evolved around me I noticed that each day might have been the same but each of those days now belonged to me and it was me who could make it unique. I began to relish the sounds around me as I embraced the silence within. From being in a state wherein I thought I didn't belong anywhere and nothing belonged to me I moved into a state of belonging to the universe and the vice versa.

On Aug 9, 2012 Conrad P. Pritscher wrote:
 When I pay attention to my present experience I grow in awareness of the novelty of each moment.  When I am aware of my present experience, that present awareness equals all the delicious fruit and magnificent flowers and they all belong because I am then one with everyone and everything.
I experience myself as talking more about present awareness than experiencing present awareness.  I'm still very "heady" and intellectual about being aware of the present.  Right now I notice myself "trying" to say something worthwhile for  others to hear.  That "trying" I experience  as not being as present as when I just let myself be.  I now notice myself trying to write well so that Somik will praise me next week for having something important to say.  I now experience warm feelings for all readers.  Thanks for the opportunity to respond.  Kind regards.

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