Imagine suddenly finding yourself widowed at the young age of 27, with an 11-month old baby and $3 million dollars in debt…well, that is exactly what happened to renowned Thai spiritual master and best-selling author Master DDnard (her full name is: Thitinart Na Pattalung).
DDNard is now completely debt free and her mission is to show people how to be happy and fulfilled regardless of their circumstance. Her book, The Compass of Now reveals how you change your surroundings by elevating the quality of your thoughts, and that can only be done through observing your mind — through the powerful practice of mindfulness.
When I was asked to speak with DDNard, I honestly had my doubts about “the fit” for the Soul Love readers, but I promised to read her book The Compass of Now and I really loved it. I decided to speak with DDNard and I am so happy I did!! She is honestly one of the most loving and genuine persons that I have met and there was an instant ‘click’ between us. I am therefore very happy and also proud to share my inspiring conversation with the Thai Master DDNard.
Interview with DDNard
Dirk Terpstra: Can you tell me a bit about your background story and what happened that brought you to where you are in life now?
DDNard: On the morning of New Year’s Eve 1997, I was about to travel to Phuket and I heard the news that I lost my husband. He died of a heart-attack and I was left with my 11-month-old son and I pretty much collapsed. But something very profound happened – although my son was not even one year old, he stood up on his feet for the first time and he held me tight and wiped away my tears.
It was then that I realized that as adults, when we face problems, we keep asking ourselves the wrong question: “Why is this happening to me?” But a child asks himself the right question: “How can I make this better? How can I support my mom?” And that is what my son did and so he taught me that I could make things better. However, when we walked to the funeral, different bankers and creditors came up to me and started speaking to me about a 3 million dollars debt inheritance.
I began exploring Buddhist meditation to help provide insight and inner contentment and to be the best mom for my son. During the meditation I observed the pain that was in my life and the moment I observed the pain as it was, it became separate from me and it was that moment that I knew: “The debt is the debt, my mind is my mind and it cannot bother me any longer”.
As I kept looking at my life, co-existing with the pain, the pain actually disappeared and I knew then that if we don’t push away our problems, they will be dissolved on their own. But we as humans keep falling into same three traps:
- We pull in what we like
- We push away what we don’t like
- We are generally not aware that we’re doing this
We therefore keep falling into these three traps all the time during our life. So what I learned from that moment is that I could be very happy, even while having this 3 million debt inheritance, because I knew that it would disappear very quickly. I therefore focused on the good side and I paid off all off my debt within two years.
Dirk: Can you remember what it was that gave you the faith to make this decision?
DDNard: It was actually from practicing until I actually knew it from the inside. This is not at the level of thinking, not at the level of believing it, but it’s at the level of truly knowing it. If you think something might be true or not be true or if you believe in something, that means that you don’t really know it, but when it’s something that you know, then no matter what other people think, you just know that’s the way. When we are actually doing it from our soul, that’s the level of knowing and the moment that you’re free from your thinking, you have all the faith and freedom in the world.
Dirk: How can meditation and spiritual practice help us in becoming emotionally and financially free?
DDNard: With meditation, your mind becomes free and once your mind is free from your own fears and worries, you’re above your own feelings. Normally, when you have a debt like I had, you have fear, worries and anxiety, you’re normally being consumed by those feelings, but when you use the mindfulness and meditation, you can see those feelings being separate from you and once it’s separate from you, you are free to choose how you want to feel, what you want to do or what you want to say and without the fear, this feels really good!
Dirk: In your book “The Compass of Now”, you’re talking about “happiness from freedom”. Can you elaborate on that?
DDNard: We normally don’t realize that we are being trapped – Trapped by our past, trapped by our thoughts about the future, trapped by how we were brought up and by unconscious beliefs that have been embedded in our minds since we were young. The moment that you actually realize how you feel now, what you want to do, why you want to do it or where you want to go, you actually see all the feelings and all the external and internal circumstances as if they belong to someone else – so you’re actually free even from your own past, free even from how you were brought up, free from your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend who made you feel inferior, so it’s like you’re free from everything.
“During the meditation I observed the pain that was in my life and the moment I observed the pain as it was, it became separate from me”.
I discovered that our inner state actually dictates the outer circumstances and the way you want your outer life to be, you just groom up your inner state accordingly. To do that you need to observe and to be aware of yourself very often, because if you are not aware of how you are thinking and feeling you tend to go by the external circumstances.
Dirk: How can we manage to stay true to our life while managing all distractions, expectations and pressure from others?
DDNard: I like to come back to my ‘true home’ all the time. My true home is my body and my mind – for example, for the past four days my schedule was very hectic. I flew from Bangkok to New York and I had 24 interviews in three days, including a live television show in Portland this morning. But I feel very serene because most of the time I stay within my perimeter, which is my body and my mind and we all have this “island of happiness” inside of us and we have the option to visit this place as often as we want.
Someone told me recently that she didn’t have enough time to be mindful and I told her that if you have time to live, to breathe, to talk, to eat and to walk, you do have time to be mindful, because while you’re doing all those things, your mind needs something to focus on. If you don’t focus on your body movement, you will focus on something else which might not be beneficial to you. Your mind will be wondering around like a lost dog. All we have to do is to just make a decision that you’re going to be mindful and I keep coming back to my true home as often as I can and smile to myself. In order for you to keep doing this, you must enjoy it and once you gain happiness from it you will do it more often.
Dirk: You are writing about Love Incompetence and Competence, what does Love mean to you?
DDNard: Love, wow! It’s the best feeling that allows your heart to smile when you’re thinking about the person that you love or even thinking about the word “love”. Since my incident eighteen years ago, I never get out of bed before I spread the love-feeling all over my body, from head to toe. Every morning, before I even open my eyes I sense the feeling of love all over and each night before I go to sleep, I do the same. Love to me has the meaning in itself.
In the past eighteen years I have met thousands of people who are incapable of loving or to feel loved, they don’t feel that they deserve to be loved. Even though they find someone nice, they push those nice people away and whenever they come across someone who is cruel to them they use themselves to be the doormat for those cruel people and they feel the things they think they deserve. It’s almost like the way we’re looking for happiness these days – People are searching for happiness so much, reading so many books about happiness that they forget how to be happy.
Dirk: What if people feel that they lack the tools to change their own life, what kind of questions could they start asking themselves?
DDNard: First of all, you could change your state, which means changing the picture you have in your own head. You can then change the way how you speak to yourself and to others. Ultimately, you change the way you feel inside, your posture, how you walk, talk and move your body, it really impacts how you perform in life. You will need to know what you believe in and what strategy you’re using. Most people who are blocked, don’t believe in their own ideas or beliefs.
The Compass Of Now has inspired many and has put hope and strength into the hearts of millions and sold over 1.4 million copies worldwide. This book is a complete, simple guidebook to life for ANYONE going through hardship and life challenges. It is a one woman’s profound story of shifting her point of view and making the inner changes to reflect her outer reality.
To purchase The Compass of Now, please click here (or click on the book).
For more information please visit: Compassofnow.com
INTERVIEW BY: DIRK TERPSTRA – SOUL LOVE FOUNDER