Nourishing Peace and Happiness Through Conscious Consumption Part 3: Cultivating Compassion

Written by joyenergyandhealth on . Posted in Blogs, Joy, Energy and Health


The Third Nutriment: Our Deepest Desire: Cultivating Compassion


Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk writing in Calming the Fearful Mind, speaks of four nutriments that we consume:

1) Edible food,

2) Sensory food,

3) Our deepest desire and

4) Consciousness.

The Third Nutriment: Our Deepest Desire: Cultivating Compassion


There is a Native American story that frames this discussion well:

“An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, ‘Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.


But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.’ He continued, ‘It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.


But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.


Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.’


The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, ‘Which one wins, Grandfather?’


The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, ‘The one I feed.‘”


In the same vein, Thich Nhat Hanh talks of healthy desires and unhealthy desires.



The Healthy Desires

The healthy desires are the ones that nourish us and gives us energy. They are “…to protect life, to protect the environment, or live a simple life with time to take care of yourself and your beloved ones…(these desires)…will bring you to happiness.”



The Unhealthy Desires

The unhealthy desires are wanting power, wealth, sex and fame. If we feed these desires, says Hanh: “…you are consuming a very dangerous kind of food and it will bring you a lot of suffering.”


Hanh has had both rich and famous people attend his seminars. They have shared with him that neither wealth nor fame has made them happy. Instead their happiness came from coming back to their own hearts and minds and really practicing.



Becoming Rich and/or Famous NOT the Answer

The comedic actor Jim Carrey is quoted as saying: “I wish everyone could become rich and famous so they would know it’s not the answer.”



Lottery Wins do NOT Increase Long Term Happiness

Many still harbour the fantasy that winning the lottery will make them happy. Few believe me when I tell them of author Marci Shimoff’s research that showed little change in long term happiness for lottery winners. Instead, I get the feeling that those folks almost feel insulted when I dare to tarnish their shining fantasy of what life will be like when they win the lottery.



Cultivating Compassion

Hanh tells us that this desire for wealth brings us suffering. So why do we persist in chasing after rainbows?  I don’t have a definitive answer. I can tell you that I work/play every day to nourish my desire to help others, to love myself deeply and to nourish the desire to love others deeply as well. It is my strongest desire that cultivating this compassion and love for myself and others will contribute to peace in my heart and mind and in the world.


Hanh: “Whether we are eating a bowl of rice, enjoying a field of flowers, or nourishing our deepest desire, we practice doing it as mindfully as possible, conscious of each breath.”



Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept
Your mission (and mine), should you and I choose to accept it, is to begin or continue to deepen our awareness of our every action and thought. We can do this by watching our breath more and more as we go through the day. Just taking a deep breath from time to time and noticing the effect on the body and mind goes a long way to deepening our awareness.







Any and all information provided here is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed medical practitioner. Individuals are advised not to self-medicate in the presence of significant illness. Always consult with your licensed medical practitioner first before undertaking anything…be it supplements, exercise programs or other protocols. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Do not construe the information provided here as authoritative health advice…or authoritative advice of any sort. All information provided or referred-to on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be health, medical, financial, accounting or tax advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. Matti Anttila is not a licensed financial planner, doctor or health practitioner. If you’re not inclined to Do-It-Yourself then please, before you Do-It-To-Yourself, obtain professional advice.


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