Book Review: The Art of Living: Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now by Thich Nhat Hanh

I find this to be one of those books you can’t review. Not in a traditional sense. Or at least, I can’t. Most of the time, books like this come along when you need them, as was the case with me. There is nothing mystical about it. It’s just how our minds work. I have struggled with being too immersed in everything and not finding peace and stillness. I didn’t find it in the book either. It was a reminder of things I already knew about time, the imperativeness of things, and how we play tricks on ourselves. But it didn’t instantly change me. That said, books are meant to be reminders. They will never do the heavy lifting. It is we who will have to do the work. Or, as in my case, it was my body telling me to stop. Yesterday, my ankle just gave in. Now I have nothing but time to sit in stillness. So it goes.

Don’t get me wrong. The book is wonderful. It is full of words of wisdom, telling us not to rush while pursuing worthless things, which brings us misery rather than happiness. That is not my issue, though. I’m passionately pursuing too many things at once, spreading myself too thin. I’m rushing and consuming, and even when it is for a good cause, I’m going against the book’s teachings, losing the moment in now. Living mindfully and letting meditation and breathing guide us are imperative for finding yourself and living fully. Not an easy thing to do. Not when our minds are restless and chattering all the time. At least with a book like this, there is an opportunity to change the tune for a while.

I’m not sure how to conclude my ramblings. This book is beautiful, yet it is not some big revelation that will change one’s life. A lot of the subjects in the book Thich Nhat Hanh has handled elsewhere. A lot of it is basic logic, or something science insists on about how we and our minds work. But I don’t mind. What I minded was the preaching at the end about non-graving. Some of it felt like it was there to force a strict moral code on how to exist in this world. Lately, I have come to think that we could be less judgemental and more open to the way other people live their lives. How can we tell if someone is making a mistake or hurting themselves? Anyway, a good short book that makes you think about how to be in this world and what being altogether means.

Thank you for reading! Have a beautiful day ❤

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