Last Night’s Dream of Thay

Yesterday night, I found out my favorite meditation teacher, Thich “Thay” Nhat Hanh who was also an author and poet, had just passed away at age 95. I’d first found him 14 years ago and soon after I wished for a copy of his book Peace is Every Step, and read it fully.

Last night I dreamed I saw him walking in an open field, with carefully shaped green hills smoothly sloping upward here and there to wander along beyond the clearing where he walked, which was open and spacious. There was more I couldn’t see I felt; I imagined there were olive trees and white, pink, pale orange, light gold, soft red, and blue flowers in bloom among the land of varying shades of green. It was morning there, the sun just coming up and warm, while it was nighttime for me as I was asleep.

I could see Thay was walking with a small dog who had an easygoing, reserved disposition, and this mostly white dog with little black accents on his fur had the look that he was walking with a new friend he just met that he was glad to walk with.

And Thay was walking carefully and with an extra bounce that I noticed easily as if he noticed it too, as if he hadn’t walked at all in a long time and was surprised by how easy it was to be able to walk again; there was no delay for that as one may think logically.

It was said that he was going to give a speech now and that it would be in Italian, and I don’t understand Italian (am Italian American), but I wasn’t concerned: Thay smiled greatly, a very distinctly Thay smile that was the clearest part of the dream and the most realistic, and I thought, That is what I liked about his teachings; his genuine smile often told the majority of what he would say in words and anyone could understand his smile whichever language they spoke or did not speak.

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