A Pact with a Staircase

THE LONG ROAD TURNS TO JOY Thich Nhat Hanh

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Twenty years ago I made an agreement with the staircase in my hermitage – that I would always pay attention when I walked on it – and since then I’ve never failed to go up and down the stairs in mindfulness. If you can succeed with your staircase, you can succeed everywhere. When you climb the first step, you breathe in. When you climb the next step, you breathe out. That is slow climbing. But if you want to climb a little bit more quickly, you can climb two steps while you breathe in, and two steps while you breathe out.

Promise the stairs that if, half way up, you realize you haven’t climbed mindfully, you will go back down and start again. If you don’t have a staircase, find a path, a hill, or some steps that you can climb every day so that you can practice your commitment to be mindful in every step.

From The Long Road Turns to Joy, © 2011 by Thich Nhat Hanh, published by Parallax Press.