In Thich Nhat Hanh’s beautiful book, Peace Is Every Step, The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, he writes about suchness, saying, “In Buddhism, the word ‘suchness’ is used to mean ‘the essence or particular characteristics of a thing or person, its true nature.'”
I have been thinking about this as I have read this book in relation to yoga teacher training.
Water has suchness. It is the nature of water to be the vital element that keeps us alive. Without water to drink, we will die. Because of that, we welcome it into our homes through numerous taps – some to drink from, some to bathe in, some to cook with. It is also the nature of water to come down as rain – nourishing our crops, our yards, our feathered and furry friends, making things look shiny and new. It is also the suchness of water to storm – sometimes terrifyingly so – tsunamis that kills hundreds, hurricanes that obliterate entire neighborhoods and small towns. It is the suchness of water.
It is the suchness of wood that constructs buildings, dwellings, chuches, temples, yoga studios, businesses. It provides the enclosures that we humans rely on for safety, warmth and comfort. It is also the suchness of wood that builds barriers and fences, crosses and sticks that can be used to break bones. That is the suchness of wood.
Love, too, has so much suchness that the world is made of it. Love that is deep and strong that uplifts, that carries us to the heights of esctasy, that makes us feel so worthwhile and so vital and so needed by the other. Love that is celebrated by its very own special holiday, that is the cement of marriages and partnerships and families and significant others. Love is the suchness of joy. It is also the suchness that can break our hearts, cause us to let other people down, create groups that let others in or out, cast us in the place of being totally misunderstood, create tears that flow into rivers and sometimes it is the suchness of love to cause hurt, deception, blame, judgement and banishment. That is the suchness of love.
Yet we welcome it into our hearts daily. Knowing its suchness is never a given…one way or the other.
As humans, we also have our suchness. We ourselves of a nature composed of love and joy and, when provoked or misunderstood, we find ourselves acting of a suchness that we will most likely regret when it is all said and done.
Yet we welcome each other into our hearts daily. Not knowing how it will all turn out in the long run.