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How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh

October 29, 2018


This is a really simple, straightforward book about how to meditate. It is partly practical—where, when, what posture. But more importantly, it articulates the goal of meditation, the desire to be present. Some key takeaways:

Meditation does not need to be pre-meditated. It doesn’t require a special mat, a special time or a special tea. Just sit down and do it.

The physical is a gateway to the mental/spiritual. It is usually hard to get out of our own head, to step out of the river of thought for even a brief moment. That’s why meditation places so much emphasis on breathing. It centers our focus on the moment. Nothing past, nothing future.

Our presence is one of the greatest things we can give. In everyday moments and conversations, we are often only partly present. Our minds wander, our fingers find our phones in our pockets, we’re answering emails in a meeting. Being present with others is simple but profound.

Taking care of ourselves takes care of others. By finding our center, by taking the time to meditate or do whatever is needed to let go of our blockers—worry, despair, anger, fear—we cease to act in ways that spread that negativity to others. Our inner peace radiates outward and can help bring peace to others.

The present moment is everything. The past is gone, the future is not here yet. There is no use in regretting the past or worrying about the future. Life is just a string of present moments, so to live in either the past or the future is to neglect the only moment that matters. By focusing on the present moment always, you focus on all of life.

This last concept is central to Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, only Tolle takes several hundred pages to explain it. This slim book reads more like a book of poetry. Fewer words, more meaning. I like that. This is a good book to have around.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 29, 2018 7:10 pm

    sweet review!
    wishing you relaxed
    moments of peaceful sitting 🙂

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