Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Lifeby Thich Nhat Hanh
Stressful situations are unavoidable in life, but Peace Is Every Step can teach you how to approach these situations with mindfulness and positivity to ensure that the stress doesn’t affect your physical and mental well-being. This book will help you access the peace and happiness within you by showing you how to stay in, and appreciate, the present moment.
Chapter: Breathing and Scything/Aimlessness
When you cut grass with a scythe, you have to pay careful attention to the way you hold the instrument, the angle of the blade on the grass, and the way you stand. You have to coordinate the movement of your arms with the rhythm of your breathing and be aware of the activity you are performing.
These are all acts of mindfulness; they will help you complete your task without getting tired or losing your breath. Apply these acts of mindfulness to all your tasks to achieve similar results.
When you begin to practice mindfulness at all times, you will also discover happiness. Think about it this way: When you do not have a toothache, you are not aware of the happiness of a non-toothache. When you practice mindfulness, you will be aware of your non-toothache and thus be happy. Remember, when you practice mindfulness in the present moment, you are working toward peace in the future.
Skills to acquire
Chapter: Our Life Is a Work of Art
It is a habit to look at things with the intention of getting something, which is known as pragmatism. However, with mindfulness, we can stop this habit and instead look deeply into something to understand it.
For example, an artist may look at a flower and begin thinking about how they can paint it in the most beautiful way. This is pragmatism. If the artist practices mindfulness, they will not need to think about how to paint the flower—they will be able to stop, look at the flower deeply, and naturally paint it, and it will be a beautiful painting.
Your life is a work of art. When you practice mindfulness and act with awareness and integrity, your art will flower beautifully and serve the world in a positive way.
Chapter: Hope as an Obstacle
Hope can help you make the present moment less difficult to bear. However, this is all hope can do for you. Clinging to hope for the future will keep you from living mindfully in the present; when you refrain from hope, you allow yourself to discover the joy in the present. Remember, hope is simply not enough to help you reach happiness, as your happiness is already here in the present moment—you just have to allow yourself to discover it.
Skills to acquire
The word “interbeing” is not in the dictionary yet, but it is a combination of the prefix “inter-” and the verb “to be.” It refers to how everything in this world is connected: For a piece of paper to exist, we need a tree, and for the tree to grow, we need rain, and for rain to happen, we need clouds, and so on.
Similarly, we cannot just be by ourselves alone. We have to inter-be with every other thing in the world. We have to accept the good and the bad in the world, for it is all interconnected, and one cannot exist without the other.