I discovered my true home many years ago: the fully embodied experience that home was in the present moment with my own heart.
Maya, my very old singing bowl from Nepal and my partner in teaching, is a constant reminder of my true home. One of the fruits of many years of practicing meditation in sangha, reading and listening to the recordings of Thích Nhất Hạnh, is that I find a deeper breath and remember these words each time she is invited:
Listen, listen to the sound of the bell, it brings me back to my true home.
The first time I discovered this felt sense of my true home was in sangha, in mediation with community. It was the deepest peace I had ever known, and it just arrived one day. I had been meditating for many years and yet it was in mediation with others that helped me to discover that my true home was in each moment—in my breath, in my practice, and with my own heart.
In the daily meditation book, Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhất Hanh, Thay writes:
When I was a young monk in Vietnam, each village temple had a big bell, like those in Christian churches in Europe and the United States. Whenever the bell was invited to sound, all the villagers would stop what they were doing and pause for a few moments to breathe in and out in mindfulness.
Thay goes on to say that today at his center in France, they continue this practice:
Every time we hear the bell, we go back to ourselves and enjoy our breathing. When we breathe in, we silently say, ‘Listen, listen,’ and when we breathe out, we say, ‘This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.’
The new neuroscience is beginning to catch-up with what the ancients knew and what Thay has always taught: That the benefits of a deep, mindful breath are exponential. That through our breath we have the opportunity to not only find peace and healing in each moment, but also access our connection to the divine—to the vast limitless love the exists in the universe. It is an extremely valuable practice to simply listen to the sound of the bell, the song of a bird, the ring of a cell, the whistle of the wind, and to breathe. And it is free. It requires only our intention and our action.
In a world that continues to bombard us with messages that we need something outside of ourselves to feel good and to heal, it is worth remembering again and again that we hold the seeds of true happiness, peace, and healing within ourselves through our mindfulness practices and in compassionately sharing those practices with another—one breath, one step at a time.
Kintla Striker is the CEO of Kintla Yoga LLC and the creator of Kintla Yoga Therapy®. She also serves as a program author with the integrative medicine division of Unitus Therapy Intelligence. Kintla currently maintains a private and group client practice in East Lansing, Michigan, is an international lecturer, trauma educator, consultant, and researcher as well as an Advisory Executive Council member of the global Women Economic Forum and a member of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force. She has a decades-old active interest in seeing an end to human trafficking and is interviewed in the feature length documentary, Break the Chain, which raises awareness of human trafficking in the US. To learn more or to schedule a demo of her cloud-based program visit: www.kintlayoga.com.