Friday, September 02, 2016

Booknote: Silence

Thich Nhat Hanh, Silence: the Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise. New York: Harper One, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-06-222469-9.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: spirituality, buddhism, meditation
Format: hardback
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

This is Thich Nhat Hanh's treatise on the power of silence and mindfulness. The main message is for us to learn to turn off the world around us and to appreciate the simple peace that silence offers. Silence then allows us to be more mindful and calm. In addition to the author's advice, the book also features some short poems to aid in reflection and meditation. Plus the book also includes simple and practical exercises that readers can do to aid them in being silent to meditate and be calm.

The book features an introduction and then six chapters. The author takes us from considering the noisy world around us to learning how to deeply listen to silence and mindful attention. The book is an easy and calming read. This is not a book to rush through but rather one to read a little bit at a time. The exercises featured are easy and practical, simple things you can do almost anywhere to help you cultivate calm and some inner peace in a world that is always rushing.

This is one I really liked.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Some additional reading notes. The emphasis on quotes comes from the book:

"The practice of mindfulness is very simple.

You stop, you breathe, and you still your mind" (16).

Why silence is essential:

"Silence is essential. We need silence, just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowed with words and thoughts, there is no space for us" (22). 

What silence is:

"Silence is ultimately something that comes from the heart, not from any set of conditions outside us. Living from a place of silence doesn't mean never talking, never engaging, or doing things; it simply means that we are not disturbed inside; there isn't constant internal chatter. If we're truly silent, then no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can enjoy the sweet spaciousness of silence" (77).

Why some solitude is important. As an introvert, this spoke to me personally:

"It is good to spend some time physically alone each day as well. You might think that you can be joyful only when you are with other people, talking and laughing and playing around. But joy and happiness can be very great in solitude as well-- so deep that you are more able to share. If you have deep joy and happiness, developed in solitude, then you have a lot to give. Without the capacity for being alone, you become more and more depleted. And when you don't have enough nourishment for yourself, you don't have much to offer others. That's why learning to live in solitude is important" (152).

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This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges:


Mark said...

Going to have to put this on my list. Cheers, brother.

Angel Rivera said...

Thanks for stopping by. If you do read it, let us know what you think.

Best, and keep on blogging.