Here’s another section from Be Free Where You Are that struck me deeply, on the hell that we cultivate and maintain in ourselves, and the alternative:
“We contain the Kingdom of God [peace, freedom, happiness], the Pure Land of the Buddha, in every cell of our bodies. If we know how to live, the Kingdom of God will manifest for us in the here and now; with one step, we can penetrate it. We don’t have to die to enter the Kingdom of God; in fact, we have to be very much alive. Hell, too, is in every cell of our body. It is up to us to choose. If we keep watering the seed of Hell in us each day, then Hell will be the reality we live in twenty-four hours a day. But if we know how to water the seed of the Kingdom of God in us each day, then the Kingdom of God will become the reality we live in every moment of our daily lives. This is my experience.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Be Free Where You Are
This struck me deeply, and made me think, and make lists. “If we keep watering the seed of Hell in us each day, then Hell will be the reality we live in twenty-four hours a day” … What are the things that cause my own version of hell, my low moments of depression and despair, and how do I water these every day? What are the things that lead me to my own ‘Kingdom of God’, or peace, happiness and inner freedom, and do I water those?
It’s very simple – if I do, watch, read, think or talk about, or listen to certain things, I feel bad. If I do, watch, read, think or talk about, or listen to certain other things, I feel good, in peace. So which do I want to do? How do I want to feel? Having a list for each, hell vs happiness, makes it very clear, very quickly, which path to take.