I kept having a smile on my face while I was reading this book. It made me feel calm and reminded me of “The wisdom of no escape” by Pema Chödrön.
Thich Nhat Hanh was a Buddhist monk and peace activist who had a significant impact on Buddhism around the world and specifically he was one of the first to bring the concept of mindfulness to the West.
In the 1960s, he worked to bring an end to the conflict in his native Vietnam through nonviolent means. He was exiled and became a refugee in France. When he returned to his Vietnam after almost four decades, he lived there until he died at the age of 95.
In 1982, he founded the Buddhist monastery “Plum Village“, near Bordeaux in southwest France, which is still active.
The main theme of this book is about the idea of practising mindfulness every day. It’s a good list of reminders for when and how we can bring our awareness to the present moment, including things like washing the dishes and walking. In other words, it’s a refreshing reminder that mindfulness isn’t just something we do during meditation, but can be woven into the fabric of our daily lives.
One teaching that particularly resonated with me was the idea of asking ourselves “what’s not wrong?” rather than “what’s wrong?” As the author points out, we often focus on the negative aspects of situations without realizing that there are often many more things that are not wrong. This small shift in perspective can bring a sense of gratitude and peace to our daily lives.
Although I found the book enjoyable to read, I felt that some of the content could have been explained and expanded upon a bit more. In fact, I found the fragmentation of the content like a shopping list so I didn’t feel like it was developed enough for me to fully connect with it. It might be a good read for someone who likes to just consult the book randomly and not from the first page till the last one.
I didn’t find this book as impactful as other books on mindfulness that I have read. In any case, I would recommend it more for those who already have some experience with mindfulness rather than those who are just starting out.
Title: Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Author: Thich Nhat Hanh
Year first published: 1992
In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. For him a ringing telephone can be a signal to call us back to our true selves. Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. The most profound satisfactions, the deepest feelings of joy and completeness lie as close at hand as our next aware breath and the smile we can form right now.
Lucidly and beautifully written, Peace Is Every Step contains commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from Nhat Hanh’s experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and community leader. It begins where the reader already is—in the kitchen, office, driving a car, walking a part—and shows how deep meditative presence is available now. Nhat Hanh provides exercises to increase our awareness of our own body and mind through conscious breathing, which can bring immediate joy and peace. Nhat Hanh also shows how to be aware of relationships with others and of the world around us, its beauty and also its pollution and injustices. the deceptively simple practices of Peace Is Every Step encourage the reader to work for peace in the world as he or she continues to work on sustaining inner peace by turning the “mindless” into the mindFUL.