Q&A with Jeanine Cogan, PhD, co-editor of “Tears Turn out to be Rain: Tales of Transformation and Therapeutic Impressed by Thích Nhât Hanh” 


Q&A with Jeanine Cogan, PhD, co-editor of “Tears Turn out to be Rain: Tales of Transformation and Therapeutic Impressed by Thích Nhât Hanh” 

What’s Tears Turn out to be Rain about and why did you write it? 

As my Mary co-editor likes to say, “Tears Turn out to be Rain is a ebook about hope.” It’s a collection of tales the place 32 authors from 16 totally different nations every go on a hero’s journey, reaching deep inside themselves to search out the sunshine in moments of darkness. Every contributor describes the journey of life smacking them down and, by means of the religious knowledge of famend Zen instructor, Thích Nhât Hanh, they discover a method to get again up.

The thought for this ebook got here to me in 2019 after I had the will to honor Thích Nhât Hanh and provides again to his worldwide meditation neighborhood for all of the compassion and love I acquired from them over time. For instance, in 2009 after I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter Nicole, I went to the Plum Village retreat heart in France for a three-week meditation retreat. Whereas I’d been vegetarian for years, I didn’t understand that Plum Village had gone vegan. My first response was apprehension that I wouldn’t get sufficient protein for the infant. With out uttering a phrase to anybody folks started giving me baggage of nuts, smiling superbly as they positioned them in my arms with out phrases. After I was strolling throughout the inexperienced meadow having fun with the blue skies and sunflowers, a nun gently swinging in a hammock noticed me method, acquired up and summoned me to lie down.

These examples of easy acts of joyful generosity weren’t simply saved for me because the pregnant girl, they have been accessible to everybody. These overtures of empathy and compassion have been current at each retreat I attended over time and is likely one of the items of Thích Nhât Hanh’s legacy. I needed to thank him and thank the Plum Village neighborhood. Mary and I are so grateful!

The ebook exhibits how 32 mindfulness practitioners around the globe replicate on encountering the extraordinary teachings of Zen Grasp Thích Nhât Hanh. A few of the contributors have been direct college students of Thích Nhât Hanh. What was it like working straight with him? What was he like? Did he ever have moments when he didn’t seem to be he was training mindfulness completely? If that’s the case, how did he reply to these moments?  

Certainly one of my favourite moments with Thích Nhât Hanh was after I was on retreat and I sat proper near him for his lecture. He was doing this one in Vietnamese so that they supplied simultaneous translation, the place we every had a head set and would hear the English translation whereas Thay (the identify his followers gave him) talked. It turned that out my headset didn’t work and there was no alternative to alter it now that he’d began to show. So I simply put the headset down and absorbed his presence. That was by far his strongest educating. He was grounded, calm and absolutely engaged. He had an ease in his focus that introduced a way of confidence.


How can we combine mindfulness in our lives after we are feeling emotionally dysregulated and/or we’re liable to expertise robust feelings? 

Nice query. So first I wish to put in a plug for meditating. A daily mindfulness meditation observe, the place you dedicate time to aware respiratory each day, or a number of instances per week, will help you in holding robust feelings once they come up. That is likely one of the finest causes for committing to a devoted observe. When my mother died in January 2021, it was primarily my meditation time that prevented me from being swept away by grief and loss.

Quite a lot of our contributors write superbly about how to do that. For instance, when Katie Sheen from the U.Ok. in her story “Phew! What a Great Colon I Have!” goes in for her routine colonoscopy and it takes a flip she wasn’t anticipating, she makes use of mindfulness to maintain herself from being overwhelmed with concern.


She writes:

“I shut my eyes and discover my consideration mechanically seeking out the sensations of respiratory inside my physique, in search of consolation, for that peaceable core of interior power that has been steadily constructing over years of observe with the Plum Village Sangha.


Inhaling, I do know I’m inhaling.

Respiratory out, I do know I’m respiratory out. . .


Within the midst of robust emotion, my respiratory is protected and acquainted. The slight pause between the out breath and the in breath is all the time a peaceable place that is still safe, even after I really feel adrenalin rising and feelings starting to surge.


I discover shock, a type of nothing feeling, an emotional pause between life earlier than and life after this second.


Inhaling, I’m conscious of my feeling of shock.

Respiratory out, I deal with my feeling of shock.”


And so Katie continues, working with all the assorted feelings that come up for her. Discover how she didn’t attempt to change the feelings. She’s merely caring for them. This implies she’s respiratory and holding them with out judgement.

Thích Nhât Hanh describes a robust emotion developing like a crying child. We have now to cradle and soothe the crying child. Once we do this, then we’ll be okay. We are able to deal with no matter arises by holding it with mindfulness. That is what Katie did. And there’s no magic to it. We are able to all do the identical.

And Katie acquired by means of this expertise and her remedy and resides fortunately most cancers free.

What are some challenges of training mindfulness and the way can we overcome these challenges in a fast-paced and fear-based world? 

Mindfulness, which is being targeted on one factor and just one factor at a time, is the antidote to our busy multi-tasking, Instagram, texting-filled frenzied lives. We’re absolutely current with one factor that feels good. Multi-tasking really doesn’t. That’s what the science tells us. Multi-tasking makes folks really feel drained and leaves a way that they haven’t accomplished something nicely on the finish of the day. Doing one thing together with your full presence, whether or not that be consuming, strolling, ingesting a cup of tea or petting your canine, will nourish you. As Thích Nhât Hanh has mentioned, the miracle isn’t strolling on water. The miracle is strolling on the earth and figuring out you’re strolling on the earth.

If you’d like extra pleasure and ease in your life, observe conscious consumption. Flip off the information. Our our bodies are below siege with the 24-7 information cycle as we’re not physiologically designed to always soak up a lot human trauma. Our our bodies are being overwhelmed with stress hormones that undermine our our bodies functioning optimally. So turning it off is stopping sickness. You may have management over what you devour, so why ingest such toxins? If everybody did this one merely act there could be speedy peace.

Lots of the contributors write about how mindfulness helped them after tragic or traumatic occasions reminiscent of dealing with loss of life, a traumatic previous as a refugee, dealing with racism and a poisonous office. How can we observe mindfulness throughout these occasions? And the way can mindfulness assist us take care of most of these occasions which can be typically outdoors of our management?  

Nice query. My finest reply is to recommend everybody learn the tales in Tears Turn out to be Rain as every creator shares knowledge for easy methods to face the challenges of life.

The one factor we have now management over is how we reply to what life throws us. We have now management over our minds — despite the fact that many individuals don’t take that energy. Mindfulness helps us to see our wild and loopy ideas and to know they’re largely not true. Mindfulness additionally permits us to not imagine our ideas or get swept away by them. We are able to watch our ideas as if they’re clouds within the sky. They arrive they usually go. So we create area between the thought and any motion. And in that area is aware selection.

I came upon yesterday a good friend of mine is within the hospital with an aggressive case of the shingles. A gaggle of us are in textual content communication. I’m holding my good friend in my coronary heart by sending her needs of therapeutic and ease (metta meditation) however I’m not fueling my anxious fearful ideas. Since there are such a lot of doable futures, why run forward and suppose the worst one will occur? I’m consciously interrupting the behavior of concern, noticing the thought after which shifting to a therapeutic thought and sending her ease (metta meditation). 

What are a few of the advantages of mindfulness? 

Lots of of research have documented the constructive bodily and psychological well being advantages of meditation together with decreased nervousness, despair, stress, loneliness, binge habits and emotional consuming. Meditation additionally enhances vanity, self-awareness, focus and readability, reminiscence, sleep, the immune system and compassion in direction of self and others.

One of many largest advantages for me is that meditation lightens my temper. I’m simpler to be round and luxuriate in all the pieces extra absolutely after I’ve meditated.


Jeanine Cogan, Ph.D. is a mindfulness meditation instructor and government guide. As a scholar of Thích Nhât Hanh since 1996, she is dedicated to introducing mindfulness and meditation to others. Jeanine additionally earned a PhD in social psychology. Jeanine has edited two different books and plenty of articles printed in educational journals. Be taught extra at www.tearsbecomerain.org.


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