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In honour of Valentine’s Day, I’m going to share some quotes from How to Love, a wonderful short book by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. It is short, sweet, and full of wise words on how to truly care for another human being.

Love isn’t limited to romance. Nhat Hanh’s words apply equally to relationships with siblings, parents, children, friends… anyone who we love. Here are a few thoughts on love that you can practice every day of the year.


Learning to love, every day

Feeding Our Love

“Each of us can learn the art of nourishing happiness and love. Everything needs food to live, even love. If we don’t know how to nourish our love, it withers. When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That’s why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our own happiness.”

The Four Elements of True Love

“True love is made of four elements: loving kindness, compassion, joy, and dquanimity. In Sanskrit, these are maitri, karuna, mudita, and upeksha. If your love contains these elements, it will be healing and transforming, and it will have the element of holiness in it. True love has the power to heal and transform any situation and bring deep meaning to our lives.”

Body and Mind

“Body and mind are not two separate entities. What happens in the body will have an effect on the mind and vice versa. Mind relies on body to manifest, and body relies on mind in order to be alive, in order to be possible. When you love someone, you have to respect him or her, not only his or her mind, but also body. You respect your own body, and you respect his/her body. Your body is you. Your body is your mind. The other person’s mind and body are also connected.”

Goodwill is Not Enough

“Your good intentions are not enough; you have to be artful. We may be filled with goodwill; we may be motivated by the desire to make the other person happy; but out of our clumsiness, we make them unhappy. Walking, eating, breathing, talking and working are all opportunities to practice creating happiness inside you and around you. Mindful living is an art, and each of us has to train to be an artist.”

Share your favourite book or poem about love in the comments!