Peace Is Every Step Book Summary - Peace Is Every Step Book explained in key points
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Peace Is Every Step summary

Thich Nhat Hanh

The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

4.4 (57 ratings)
15 mins
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    Peace Is Every Step
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    Mindfulness and life in the present.

    What do you want in your life? A good education? An established career? Perhaps you’re hoping to change the world through your work. Or maybe you’re seeking a partner to share your life with.

    We all have many types of goals in life. Many are worthwhile, and those are the ones we should focus on.

    And yet, it’s a mistake to think that by achieving our goals, we will then reach happiness. This is a misunderstanding. In fact, happiness isn’t something to be reached at all. Happiness, rather, is something to be experienced immediately, in the present moment. And we will either have it or not, quite independently of whether we succeed in our goals.

    Picture Sally, an entrepreneur who is driven single-mindedly to build her business. She spends every waking hour contemplating how she can make her business succeed; how she will face and overcome obstacles; and how, once she’s made her fortune, will spend it. She struggles in this narrowly-focused way for a decade, finding great success and wealth. 

    We may consider people like Sally admirable in their dedication. And yet, if they’re only ever oriented towards the future, it’s quite likely that happiness will elude them. They’ve arrived at what was their previous destination, and they’re too focused on what’s around the corner to see what they already have. 

    People like Sally, Nhat Hanh says, have missed out on life. By living only in the future they imagine, they’ve been essentially dreaming. The people and places around them have only been phantoms. They’ve allowed hope itself to become an obstacle to the present moment. 

    And yet the present moment is the only place in which happiness ever occurs. Our society is great at planning for the future but often misses out on enjoying the present. We excel at planning for life but often struggle with the actual act of living. 

    It may be hard to believe, but it’s true nevertheless: all of the happiness that you seek – from getting that diploma to building your business and your bank account to finding that special someone – all of that happiness is available to you already, right now

    It’s waiting for you in the present moment. And to abide in that happiness, you don’t need to sacrifice or abandon your goals. You simply need to begin cultivating happiness directly, as you move through your daily life. To do so, you need to start developing mindfulness.

    But you might be wondering, what does it mean to be mindful? What's it like to truly be in the present moment? 

    Being mindful is a state of profound awareness, a gentle surrender to the unfolding of life as it manifests before us. It is a state of being fully engaged with moment-by-moment experience, embracing it with an open heart and an attentive mind. 

    When we are mindful, we feel awake. Our senses are sharp. The world is vivid. We let go, temporarily at least, of the past and future. And we accept and embrace the full range of our experiences – the pleasant and the unpleasant, the joys and challenges – without judgment or resistance. 

    Mindfulness is a constant practice where we repeatedly bring ourselves back to the present, enabling us to fully experience life and its beauty. We needn’t strain or strive to be mindful. But we do need to be diligent – diligent in remembering to be mindful. 

    As we develop our mindfulness, we change our relationship with the present moment. We learn to direct our energy and attention towards the present and, in doing so, transform it. 

    Let’s look at some practices we can use to help us cultivate mindfulness. 

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    What is Peace Is Every Step about?

    Peace Is Every Step (1990) offers profound and practical teachings on mindfulness in everyday life. It emphasizes the importance of being present in each moment, transforming negative emotions, cultivating awareness, and fostering compassion and understanding.

    Who should read Peace Is Every Step?

    • Those interested in mindfulness 
    • Meditators who wish to deepen their practice
    • Anyone looking for greater happiness and fulfillment

    About the Author

    Thích Nhất Hạnh was a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, influential teacher, and author. He emphasized compassion, nonviolence, and the interconnectedness of all beings, and was nominated by Martin Luther King Jr for the Nobel Peace Prize. Dubbed “the father of mindfulness,” Nhất Hạnh played a significant role in introducing Buddhist concepts to the Western world.

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