Lifelong peace and happiness are available now, and they’re closer than you think. By taking just a few minutes out of your day and making the simple but dramatic shift into the present moment, you will find more focus, effectiveness and clarity than you ever thought possible. There is no jargon, religion or new age vision quest, just simple steps to be happier and more confident straight away.
Mindfulness has always been something I gravitated towards. To learn how to live in the present moment without worrying about the past or the future has been a struggle of mine for the past while. Not because I want to worry about all of these things, but my anxiety has pushed my mind to ridiculous thoughts.
To start my journey to deeper self-growth of the thought process itself, I picked up “Mindfulness – Plain & Simple”. Because I was slacking on reading physical books, I figured this would be the perfect choice as it was relatively short and seemed to be easy to read from day one.
The book itself is a quick and brief guide to deepen your knowledge about certain topics some of which I have mentioned below:
- What is wrong with us?: The real cause of suffering
- The world of thoughts: I think, therefore I am (unhappy)
- Unconditional Happiness
- Life without stories
- The essence of mindfulness
- Smoothing the path: overcoming obstacles in your practice
Some of these subheadings might sound very depressing and daunting, but in order to grow and evolve into people we really want to be, it is important to realize that it takes time. It takes books. It takes struggles, but what we do when we find ourselves struggling determines our happiness.
Oli Doyle, the author of the book wrote it with an intention of helping us realize that happiness or unhappiness is all a manifestation of our thought processes and how we tend to view situations. Life is the present moment, and not what did or will happen. However, with the constant pressure of the idea of a perfect life where everything turns out smooth, it is hard not to worry.
Through reading this book I’ve realized where my rainy clouds came from – my own thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, it is impossible to decide to think happy thoughts – and actually erase negativity out of your mind. Instead, Doyle advises to allow the thoughts to come, let you observe them and come back to the present moment.
When thoughts enter our mind and we allow them to make an impact, we may act on instinct and therefore end up hurting people, taking unnecessary risks etc. – which might seem a great idea in the moment, but are certainly not beneficial in the long term. This book helped me to realize we often act on the fear, memories from the painful past (due to grudges etc) and the obsession of control of the future.
Our stress is never caused by the situation, but by believing the stories the mind tells about the situation. Without these stories, there is only this moment, and it is always fine as it is.
Apart from stories and conclusions deriving from them, Oli Doyle also focuses on exercising your mind through breathing exercises which are included at the end of each chapter. These sound relatively easy at the beginning but turned out to be difficult for such a noisy mind like mine!
I truly believe this short and simple book is a huge eye-opener. I never knew how powerful books are until I started reading self-help literature instead of the standard novels. There is so much we can improve on every day, step by step, in pursuit of our own well-being and happiness.
Believe me when I say it is not ‘a sign of weakness’ to work on your mind. Your mind will be stronger than ever, but it is your responsibility to take steps towards lifelong learning. I am grateful for my special friends and role models who guide me and encourage me to invest in myself this way ♥
To conclude, I would like to share a few of my favourite quotes I derived:
We cannot control thoughts, but we can learn not to believe them or be bothered by them…
Acceptance means learning to see things as they really are instead of viewing them through our preconceived ideas and thoughts.
…conditional happiness means believing that we need something other than what we have in order to be happy – putting conditions on our happiness.