Daily Wisdom / Zen

Telephone Meditation

book coverI will now propose to you a meditation that you can try this evening, telephone meditation. Every time the phone rings, it creates a small vibration in you. There is not true peace—there is a hint of worry: Who is it that’s calling? Is this going to be good news or bad news? You cannot hold yourself back and you run immediately to the phone. In Plum Village, we remain where we are and we consider the sound of the telephone to be like the bell of mindfulness. “Breathing in—I am calming myself; breathing out—I am smiling.” Then we go to the telephone in the style of walking meditation, but before that we practice mindful breathing.

In our community, every time we hear a bell, we stop—we stop our thinking, we stop our conversation, we stop our work; and we begin breathing—an inbreath, then an outbreath—and it is the same thing whether it is the telephone ringing or the clock chiming. In this way we have lots of opportunities to return to ourselves, to our true home, here and now, to touch peace. And what we are stopping, in order to be able to be alive, is our thinking. When you contemplate the full moon, if you are thinking then the full moon is not there and you are not there either. This is because thinking prevents us from living deeply in the present moment in our everyday life. When you are drinking water, drink water, drink only water. That is meditation. You must not drink other things, such as your worries, your plans—wandering around in the realm of your thoughts. Thinking prevents us from touching life deeply. I think, therefore I am really not there.

From True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh, pages 85–87

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