Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

.One of my Facebook friends posted this picture with the following quote of Thich Nhat Hanh’s: “Recently, one friend asked me, ‘How can I force myself to smile when I am filled with sorrow.’ A human being is like a television set with millions of channels.  If we turn the Buddha on, we are still Buddha.  If we turn sorrow on then we are sorrow.  If we turn a smile on, we really are the smile.

“We can not let just one channel dominate us.  We have the seed of everything in us, and we have to seize the situation in our hand, to recover our own sovereignty.”

I don’t know where he wrote this but it doesn’t really matter to me because  it contains important truths.  At first reading, it may appear as if he’s saying we need to just “suck it up” and take what life gives us but this isn’t it at all.  He is known for his work on being mindful in all situations and I think this is an example of this.

This quotation reminds me of something I have forgotten.  I never have liked behaviorism for I believe one needs to look at the core of one’s feelings in order to deal with them.  However I learned years ago that some behaviorism works when one has a brain injury.  Sometimes one becomes incapacitated if one thinks too hard about all the challenges a traumatic brain injury introduces into one’s life.  This is what happens to me all the time.  Sometimes I let one channel dominate me and it is not helpful at all.

All of us have many channels: happy-go-lucky, serious, sad, and many, many others.  Sure it is important to acknowledge all these channels but it is also important to change these channels, even if you do not feel like it.  I really like the picture above because it reminds me that water, like  God’s Spirit, can wash through and around me.

 Come Holy Spirit come!

If you have a brain injury, is it hard for you to sometimes do things even though you know you’ll feel better if you do?  How do you see God’s Spirit – which I experience a little like the rush of water – working in your life?  Feel free to comment here or write me directly at

One thought on “Thich Nhat Hanh

  1. I love this….I get his things regularly, but I have read this one more than once and thought about
    it more than once. I was kind of down recently and lying in my bed (which I try not to do when emotionally down) and the “I am more than one channel” came to me. I said it aloud and got out of the bed, feeling better for the thought….


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