Some Very Helpful Things from Thay

Tane Mahuta, Māori God of the Forest

I am most of the way through “Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet” by Thich Nhat Hanh, recently authored by him and published, and packed with practical applicable insight. The book’s title is maybe deliberately a little playful in its faux-grandiosity; Thay’s path to saving the world is more about changing our little contribution to the fate of the world, and changing our own minds and hearts in order to do that. A lot of the insights apply to just being happy, free of suffering, really there for the people around you and firstly yourself; and “saving the planet” actually feels more like the upshot of what he spends most of his time talking about.

But, in saying that, there is so much in this book which is amazingly helpful to live fully and fulfillingly in these times, in a way that requires so much less to be happy and contribute more. Here are some key takeaways that I got out of it:

  • Electrons are intelligent: Thay talks about how some modern physicists are now working on the idea that electrons possess a rudimentary intelligence on the same scale as that of our own, animals, and plants, and quantum mechanics is electrons making simple choices. So it makes sense to give love to, well, everything. Also, it kind of takes the burden off human intelligence. And makes fly swatting seem like kind of a weird thing to do.

There is so much more, maybe I’ll add more later. I hope you enjoyed these takeaways, please drop your musings and reactions below!

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