The best gift you can give someone is your full presence. That is truly a gift of love. I read this lovely article, The Four Mantras of True Presence, by Thich Nhat Hanh, and it brought it home to me. You can read the article here.
My Ma had always given my brothers and I her full attention. Nothing was ever more important to her than us, and whenever we tell her something, she would put down whatever she was doing to give us her full attention. She never hurried us. I remember eating my cereal in the car on the way to school with my Ma laughing jovially as the car bumped along happily, milk spilling, me squealing and my brothers yelling at me. “It will all come out in the wash,” my Ma would say cheerfully.
So yes, according to this insightful article by Thich Nhat Hanh, my Ma in her own words, had continually uttered this mantra, “Darling, I am here for you.” It made a huge difference to my brothers and I.
First mantra: “Darling, I am here for you.”
My partner loves me with the same fierceness and purity as my Ma. I credit my amazing recovery from my illness to him. He, who has a very busy and important job, had never once said, “Just a minute,” or “I am busy” to me when I was needy and clinging. Even when he could not be with me physically, I know he is always there for me in his soul and in his spirit. I could reach him anytime and he never made me feel as if I was intruding. His love had put this fragile Humpty Dumpty back once again.
Second mantra: “I know you are there, and I am very happy.”
It is only when you are sick and down that you realise how important it is to have someone you can count on to be there for you. You feel helpless and vulnerable, incapacitated, and it is at this time you need a protector, someone to shelter you from the storm. I would say having that someone who is there for you when you need him/her is the greatest wealth in life.
Third mantra: “Darling, I know you suffer.”
When I was so very ill, I used to drag myself from the hospital to Westminster Cathedral everyday to light candles. My partner stood by my side, silently, throughout those long, dark days. The thing I remember most about that awful time in my life is the light of compassion in his eyes. Yes, he suffered alongside me. I saw the tears.
Fourth mantra: ‘Darling, I suffer, I need help.”
For me, this comes under Conscious Communication. Just by hurting someone back just because we have been hurt in the past only propagates the culture of unkindness and suffering. Yet we find it difficult to say, “Darling, I suffer, I need help.” This starts with self-honesty and courage to face our own darkness, in order to ask for help and to heal. Until then, we keep on slaying monsters outside when it is the ones in our hearts that we need to deal with first because all the darkness we experience comes from within us.
As we walked along my beloved New Forest roads, my partner and I talked deeply and honestly with each other, and promised to hold on to the four simple mantras of Thich Nhat Hanh. No greater gift have we to offer each other than ourselves ❤