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

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

What’s Tears Change into Rain about and why did you write it? 

As my Mary co-editor likes to say, “Tears Change into Rain is a guide 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 seek 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 guide got here to me in 2019 after I had the will to honor Thích Nhât Hanh and provides again to his worldwide meditation group for all of the compassion and love I acquired from them through the years. 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 notice that Plum Village had gone vegan. My first response was apprehension that I wouldn’t get sufficient protein for the child. With out uttering a phrase to anybody folks started giving me luggage of nuts, smiling superbly as they positioned them in my fingers 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, obtained up and summoned me to lie down.

These examples of straightforward acts of joyful generosity weren’t simply saved for me because the pregnant girl, they had been obtainable to everybody. These overtures of empathy and compassion had been current at each retreat I attended through the years and is likely one of the items of Thích Nhât Hanh’s legacy. I wished to thank him and thank the Plum Village group. Mary and I are so grateful!

The guide reveals how 32 mindfulness practitioners around the globe replicate on encountering the extraordinary teachings of Zen Grasp Thích Nhât Hanh. A number of the contributors had 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 appear to be he was working towards mindfulness completely? If that’s the case, how did he reply to these moments?  

Considered 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 provided simultaneous translation, the place we every had a head set and would hear the English translation whereas Thay (the title 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 instructing. 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 susceptible to expertise sturdy feelings? 

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

Various our contributors write superbly about how to do that. For instance, when Katie Sheen from the U.Okay. in her story “Phew! What a Fantastic 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 worry.


She writes:

“I shut my eyes and discover my consideration robotically seeking out the sensations of respiratory inside my physique, on the lookout for consolation, for that peaceable core of internal power that has been step by step constructing over years of apply 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 sturdy emotion, my respiratory is protected and acquainted. The slight pause between the out breath and the in breath is at all times a peaceable place that is still safe, even after I really feel adrenalin rising and feelings starting to surge.


I discover shock, a sort 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 maintain my feeling of shock.”


And so Katie continues, working with all the varied 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’ve got to cradle and soothe the crying child. Once we try 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 obtained by means of this expertise and her therapy and resides fortunately most cancers free.

What are some challenges of working towards 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 truly doesn’t. That’s what the science tells us. Multi-tasking makes folks really feel drained and leaves a way that they haven’t finished something properly on the finish of the day. Doing one thing along with your full presence, whether or not that be consuming, strolling, consuming a cup of tea or petting your canine, will nourish you. As Thích Nhât Hanh has stated, the miracle isn’t strolling on water. The miracle is strolling on the earth and realizing you’re strolling on the earth.

If you’d like extra pleasure and ease in your life, apply aware consumption. Flip off the information. Our our bodies are beneath 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’ve got management over what you devour, so why ingest such toxins? If everybody did this one merely act there could be instant peace.

Lots of the contributors write about how mindfulness helped them after tragic or traumatic occasions akin to going through loss of life, a traumatic previous as a refugee, going through racism and a poisonous office. How can we apply mindfulness throughout these occasions? And the way can mindfulness assist us take care of these kind of occasions which can be usually outdoors of our management?  

Nice query. My finest reply is to recommend everybody learn the tales in Tears Change into Rain as every creator shares knowledge for face the challenges of life.

The one factor we have now management over is how we reply to what life throws us. We’ve got 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 principally not true. Mindfulness additionally permits us to not consider 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 acutely aware alternative.

I discovered yesterday a buddy of mine is within the hospital with an aggressive case of the shingles. A bunch of us are in textual content communication. I’m holding my buddy 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 potential futures, why run forward and suppose the worst one will occur? I’m consciously interrupting the behavior of worry, noticing the thought after which shifting to a therapeutic thought and sending her ease (metta meditation). 

What are a number of the advantages of mindfulness? 

A whole bunch of research have documented the constructive bodily and psychological well being advantages of meditation together with decreased anxiousness, 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 the 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 every little thing extra absolutely after I’ve meditated.


Jeanine Cogan, Ph.D. is a mindfulness meditation instructor and govt guide. As a pupil 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 revealed in tutorial journals. Study extra at www.tearsbecomerain.org.

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