In A Rose for Your Pocket, Thich Nhat Hanh invites us to reflect on the question: Have you loved your mother enough? This lovely prose poem, a gentle reminder of the qualities embodied by mothers, leads the reader to a new and deeper appreciation of his or her mother, whether she is still alive or has passed away. Nhat Hanh shows how motherhood is celebrated in different cultures and shares the story of how his desire to become a monk affected his relationship with his own mother. It also includes a meditation on the “Interbeing” of mother and child, teachings on mindfulness and finding one’s true home, and instructions for the beautiful Rose Ceremony.
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Mother is the foundation of all love, and many religious traditions recognize this and pay deep honor to a maternal figure, the Virgin Mary, the goddess Kwan Yin. Hardly an infant has opened her mouth to cry without her mother already running to the cradle. Mother is a gentle and sweet spirit who makes unhappiness and worries disappear. When the word “mother’ is uttered, already we feel our hearts overflowing with life. From love, the distance to belief and action is very short.
Do you remember anything from your stay in your mother’s womb? All of us spent about nine months there. That’s quite a long time. I believe that all of us had a chance to smile during that time. But who were we smiling at? When we’re happy, there’s a natural tendency to smile. I have seen people, especially children, smiling during their sleep.
Our time in our mothers’ wombs was a wonderful time. We did not have to worry about food or drink. We were protected from heat and cold. We didn’t have to do homework or housework. Protected in our mothers’ wombs, we felt quite safe. We didn’t have to worry about anything at all. No worry is wonderful. I believe many of us still remember that time spent in our mothers’ wombs. Many people have the impression that they were once in a safe and wonderful paradise and now they have lost that paradise. We think somewhere out there is a beautiful place without worry or fear, and we long to get back there. In the Vietnamese language the word for uterus is ‘the palace of the child.’ Paradise was inside of our mothers.