"If you really love someone, you have to be fully present for him or her. A ten-year-old boy I know was asked by his father what he wanted for his birthday, and he said, 'Daddy, I want you!' His father was too busy. He had no time for his family. His son knew that the greatest gift his father could offer was his true presence.

"When you are concentrated — mind and body at one — anything you say can be a mantra. It does not have to be spoken in Sanskrit. It can be uttered in your own language: 'Darling, I am here for you.' If you are fully present, this mantra will produce a miracle. You become real, the person you say it to becomes real, and life becomes real in that moment. You bring happiness to yourself and to the other person. This is the greatest gift you can offer your loved one. To love is to be there for him, for her, and for them."

To Practice: Try using the mantra "Darling, I am here for you" in a close personal relationship. See how it opens up new doors of feeling and meaning.

Thich Nhat Hanh in Teachings on Love