Excerpted from The Five Earth Touchings by Thich Nhat Hanh.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What do the five prayers bring up for you? Can you share a personal story of a time a prayer deeply touched you? What helps you cultivate gratitude toward all?
Prayers open up my heart to receive blessings from others that include my ancestors, my parents, my other family members, friends, teachers and even those who have hurt me. I have learned priceless life lessons from such a wide circle of people in my life. And how can I forget blessings that I receive everyday from nature? I feel deeply grateful to all of them for taking care of me, loving me, and teaching me how to live and be connected.
There have been two difficult things for me to be grateful for. One: When I have acted selfishly and expected somebody to fulfill my needs and when my needs are not taken care of ,I find fault with them. I have learned to thank them for making me more mindful of my role in causing hurt and disappointment me. I am thankful to them for showing my own limitation and for maintaining connection with that person and for working on me. Second: To forgive someone for causing hurt in me. This is very essential for me for learning to let go and ease and heal my suffering.
May we all be grateful for the blessings we have received from many in ourl ives and thank them!
Jagdish P Dave
We thank our grandfathers and grandmothers, the ones who came before us, on whose shoulders we stand; we thank the children who yet to come, on our shoulders they will stand. We understand that we are never alone or separated; we are drops of water in a constant flow of stream; we are part of a great miracle manifested in this universe.
I especially resonated with thinking of all those who impact our lives that we may not always hold in awareness: all those who have gone before us to pave the pathway so that we may live more fully in our present time. Also to all those presently who impact us on a daily basis: from every one instrumental in the process so we could enjoy a cup of tea in the morning. It is valuable to pause and send up a prayer honoring them all. I also loved the part about compassion for those who have caused us suffering and to realize anyone who causes suffering has been or is in pain themselves. Pondering the personal impact of prayer: thinking about recently how Ive been offering prayers to Trump those who are so hurting and in such suffering that they have followed his rhetoric. I remain hopeful that somehow with all the racism, xenophobia uncovered that we may heal the divide that has grown so deep and that we all seek to understand and hold more compassion for each other. In the end whatever our beliefs, we are all human beings. no one is born as someone who hurts another and so it is up to each of us to be kind and send up the 5 prayers as suggested.[Hide Full Comment]
The five prayers bring up for me that I am not a separate entity but part of a much bigger system. It is said we stand on the shoulders of all who came before us -- that's true and it's more than that -- we are connected to all who ever lived, are living and will live. We are all one -- past, present, and future, interrelated, interdependent, interaffecting. Many prayers have touched me over the years. Some prayers that touched me years ago no longer touch me as I have changed and grown. A prayer that touches me very much today is one that I have created and say often. The 'Five Prayers' of Thich Nhat Hanh touches me deeply. I think what helps me cultivate gratitude toward all is learning that at a most basic level I and others are one, that we are much more alike than different, that we are in this project, this body, this journey, this cosmos together, that all that is is whole and sacred. I am grateful to be part of it all.[Hide Full Comment]