Tree Graffiti
Occasional Picture February 2014

Heart graffiti on an old tree.

Tree Graffiti

© 2014 Marina Rundell


“Nirvana is not something that we should search for, because we are nirvana, just as the wave is already water. The wave does not have to search for water, because water is the very substance of the wave.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh, True Love, A Practice for Awakening the Heart


“Let us go on: ‘Breathing in—I am aware of my heart; breathing out—I am smiling at my heart.’ ‘Why, that’s very nice, ‘answers your heart. Maybe we have never had the time to do that, and this is the first time we have been aware of our heart. ‘Dear one, I know that you are there, and I am glad about it.’ That is the second mantra we learned.”

“Our heart then begins to experience relief. It has been waiting for a very long time for the appearance of this friendly attitude on our part. This evening, we will touch our heart with the energy of mindfulness. ‘Breathing in—I know that you are there; breathing out—thank you for being there.” If you keep that up for a few minutes, you will perceive that your heart is one of the basic conditions of our happiness. Our heart is still functioning normally—what happiness! Our heart works night and day to preserve our well-being and peace. As for us, we have the time to sleep, but not our heart. Our heart pumps thousands of liters of blood every day so it can irrigate all the cells in our body, without taking a break. Nonetheless, we have not paid enough attention to our heart, and we eat and we drink in such a way that our heart suffers in silence, day and night, year after year. We must turn to our heart and practice the third mantra: “Dear one, I know that you are suffering; that is why I am here for you.”

“If you continue to practice mindful breathing while deeply touching your heart, you will begin to see things. For example, every time you smoke a cigarette, this is not a friendly gesture toward your heart. Every time you drink alcohol, it is lack of consideration toward your heart. Meditating in this way, you will have wisdom, understanding, and compassion. And if you go on for a week like that, you will stop smoking and drinking.”

“When somebody comes to us and asks if he or she should stop drinking before receiving the five mindfulness trainings (the precepts), we always tell them that they can continue to drink, but they must drink mindfully. If you drink your wine mindfully for a week, and you practice deeply, you will stop drinking after a few weeks. Nothing is forced on you; it is your own understanding, your wisdom, that tells you how to behave, that tells you how to conduct your everyday life. In Buddhism, when we practice five precepts, or ten, or two hundred and fifty, it’s not because the Buddha wants us to do this, but because we are practicing deep looking. We see that practicing the precepts is protecting ourselves against suffering. The precepts are a guarantee of your freedom.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh, True Love, A Practice for Awakening the Heart



There’s this inch worm
proceeding little by little
to make feet on the cement
unaware centimeters are now being taught

There’s this snail
sliding across the asphalt
hiding in its shell
believing it’s protected
unaware the wheels have stopped

There’s this ant
blending with the orange
that separates the lanes
six legs at a time
hauling popcorn
unaware the pieces were dropped

All of them eventually
finish crossing to the other side

If only they were told
the bridge was already owned and closed

If only they could be controlled

© 2014 Marina Rundell


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