How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh. Parallax Press. 2015. 128 pages.
Winter makes me gravitate toward the spiritual. Simple truths mix well with leafless trees and frozen ground. Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, “How to Love” is the perfect book to use for meditation and reflection during the season.
It’s the kind of book that provides you with something different each time you read it. The passages that struck close to the bone this time were about the body. I’ve heard over and over again recently that the body is a requirement for manifesting ideas.
It seems like common sense, but look at how much war we create within our bodies. Diet and exercise that often doubles as physical punishment are not done out of love. As a young woman, I was trained to discount my true identity and play the role given to me by society. I could only receive love if I was regarded as beautiful, but my physical appearance was never enough. I was never good enough for love, which is why I went on endless diets and hid when I didn’t feel pretty.
I never felt pretty.
Middle age is the great equalizer. Some people claim I look the same as I used to look. I don’t know if that’s true. What is important to me now is that I make my body home, a concept the Buddhist monk contemplates in his book. “If you can accept your body, you have a chance to see your body as your home… As you practice building a home in yourself, you become more and more beautiful.”
This beauty appeals to me, as it incorporates the spirit. I look forward to claiming more of my true identity in 2016.