The Miracle of Mindfulness: Summary Review

This is a summary review of The Miracle of Mindfulness containing key details about the book.

What is The Miracle of Mindfulness About?

"The Miracle of Mindfulness" by Thich Nhat Hanh is a classic book on mindfulness meditation and its benefits for leading a more fulfilling and peaceful life.

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In The Miracle of Mindfulness, the author offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness--being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.

Summary Points & Takeaways from The Miracle of Mindfulness

Some key summary points and takeaways from the book include:

* Mindfulness and awareness: The author emphasizes the importance of being mindful and aware of the present moment, as it helps to reduce stress and increase happiness.

* Breathing as a tool for mindfulness: The book stresses the significance of breathing as a tool to cultivate mindfulness and increase our connection with the present moment.

* The power of attention: The author highlights the power of attention, and how focusing our attention on the present moment can help us develop greater self-awareness and reduce negative emotions such as anger, frustration, and anxiety.

* Mindful eating: The book encourages mindful eating as a way to increase our connection with the present moment and improve our relationship with food.

* Mindful walking: The author suggests mindful walking as a way to cultivate mindfulness and connect with nature, as well as reduce stress and improve physical health.

* Mindfulness and compassion: The book emphasizes the importance of mindfulness and compassion in our daily lives, as it helps us to connect with others and improve our relationships.

* The book is an insightful guide for anyone interested in developing a mindfulness practice and improving their well-being.

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Who is the author of The Miracle of Mindfulness?

Thich Nhat Hanh was born in central Vietnam on October 11, 1926. He entered Tu Hieu Temple as a novice monk at the age of sixteen. During the Vietnam War, he was part of a movement called "engaged Buddhism", which combines traditional practices with nonviolent civil disobedience.

The Miracle of Mindfulness Summary Notes

Summary Note: Live each moment of your life by keeping your mind on the task at hand.

In our fast-paced world, we tend to rush through our daily tasks without being mindful of the present moment. Thích Nhất Hạnh, a renowned Vietnamese Zen master, suggests that mindfulness can be applied to even the simplest of tasks, such as washing dishes, to help us appreciate the present moment and fully experience life. In fact, he argues that doing something purely for the sake of doing it is the right way to approach any task, rather than simply doing it to complete it quickly and move on to the next task.

When we rush through our tasks with our minds already focused on the next activity or reward, we miss out on fully experiencing the present moment. We're unable to appreciate the present moment, and our minds are never truly at peace. The Sutra of Mindfulness, an ancient Buddhist text, teaches us that we should be fully conscious and mindful of whatever task we find ourselves doing at any given moment.

Practicing mindfulness can help us slow down and appreciate the simple moments in life. We can train our minds to focus on the task at hand and fully engage in it. By doing this, we can experience a sense of calm and peace in our daily lives.

Summary Note: Mindful Breathing: The Key to Living in the Moment

Living in the present moment is a challenge for many of us, as we are often preoccupied with thoughts of the future or dwelling on past events. However, mindfulness offers an effective solution to this challenge, and breathing is a natural tool to help us stay focused on the present moment. By breathing in a mindful way, we can connect our consciousness to the present and unite our scattered thoughts with our body.

To begin practicing mindfulness through breathing, take a long, deep breath, and stay conscious of how you are breathing and feeling. Your stomach will also rise and fall as you inhale and exhale, and this movement only happens when we start breathing in a conscious, mindful manner. For beginners, it is helpful to lie down when practicing conscious breathing and to avoid overexertion. Initially, it is sufficient to take 10 to 20 breaths at a time, and gradually build up to longer sessions.

By practicing mindful breathing, we can develop a greater sense of self-awareness and become more present in the moment. We can learn to appreciate life's simple pleasures, such as washing dishes, without our minds wandering off to the future. Breathing mindfully can also help us manage stress and anxiety, as it provides a calming effect on our bodies and minds.

So, the next time you find yourself struggling to stay present in the moment, take a few deep breaths and focus on your breathing. By doing so, you can train your mind to stay present and live your life with more mindfulness and awareness.

Summary Note: The Power of Mindful Days

One of the main ideas is about setting aside one day a week to dedicate entirely to mindfulness. In today’s fast-paced world, it can be difficult to remain mindful and present every moment of every day. Setting aside a day each week to devote to mindfulness can help you avoid becoming overwhelmed and losing yourself to stress.

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When deciding on a day for mindfulness, it’s essential to stick to the same day each week. This consistency helps to establish the habit and create a routine that triggers your mindfulness practice. Start your day slowly, with a few deliberate breaths before getting out of bed, and mindfully complete your morning tasks. Take a slow, relaxing bath, and pay attention to the sensations of the water and the soap.

Engage in household tasks with mindfulness and avoid rushing through them. Consider spending time outdoors, gardening, or simply enjoying nature. Take time to read or engage in an enjoyable activity that you don’t usually have time for. In the evening, avoid eating too much, as it can be challenging to sit for late-evening meditations with a full stomach.

The idea behind a mindful day is to focus on the present moment and engage in activities that cultivate mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness once a week can help establish a habit that you can carry over to other days of the week. It’s important to avoid distractions and negative thoughts and focus entirely on the present moment. This practice can be challenging, especially for beginners, but it can ultimately lead to a more mindful and fulfilling life.

Summary Note: Understanding the Interdependence of Objects through Mindfulness in Buddhism

In Buddhism, one of the essential concepts is understanding the interdependence of objects. This means recognizing that particular objects are interconnected and cannot exist independently from each other. By practicing mindfulness through meditation, one can experience this interdependence for themselves.

Mindfulness involves taking full control of one's mind and body, allowing one to concentrate on the interdependence between subject and object. By being mindful of our breaths, for example, we can see how breath and mind are interconnected, and how the mind is breath. Similarly, by being mindful of our bodies, we can understand the interconnectedness of body and mind, seeing that mind is body.

We can also extend our mindfulness beyond our breathing and bodies to external objects, realizing that our knowledge of these objects is inseparable from our minds. The mind's objects, known as dharmas, are divided into five categories or aggregates: feelings, perceptions, physical and bodily forms, mental processes, and consciousness. By contemplating each dharma and understanding its true nature, we can see them as part of a greater whole that is reality, ultimately realizing that this whole is indivisible.

To start this contemplation, we need to become conscious of the presence of each of these five dharmas within us, recognizing that we cannot exist without the rest of the world. By understanding the interdependence of objects, we break down the barriers that narrow our perceptions of the world, realizing that we are a part of the greater universe.

In essence, mindfulness and meditation can lead to a deeper understanding of the world and our place in it, allowing us to embody Buddhism's fundamental principles. By practicing mindfulness and recognizing the interdependence of objects, we can gain greater insight into the nature of reality and our connection to it.

Summary Note: Being Vigilant and Awake: The Essence of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is not just about relaxation and being at peace; it's also about being fully awake and vigilant. When we rest or nap, we enter a state of semi-consciousness that's very different from the alertness we should cultivate during mindfulness practice. Practicing mindfulness requires us to be as alert as a circus performer walking a tightrope or a tiger moving with gentle yet deliberate steps.

We should be aware that we cannot experience complete awakening without acquiring this sort of vigilance. Therefore, it's essential to recognize any thoughts or feelings that we experience and treat them with welcoming acceptance. It means treating all objects, including our challenging emotions, with gentleness and respect. We should meditate on their interdependence with other objects in our lives and avoid resisting them.

By doing so, we learn to encounter reality in a serene way rather than evade it. And as we develop our mindfulness practice, we become more alert, fully awake, and more present in our lives. Through vigilance, we can break down the barriers that narrow our perceptions of the world and attain a state of complete awakening.

Summary Note: The Importance of Simple Meditation Techniques for Mindfulness

In "The Miracle of Mindfulness," the author emphasizes the significance of basic meditation exercises to achieve mindfulness. Two exercises, in particular, are recommended to help beginners master the art of meditation. The first exercise involves imagining oneself as a pebble sinking through the clear waters of a stream, falling toward a spot of complete rest on the riverbed. By meditating on this image, one can reach a state of total calm and happiness. The second exercise involves contemplating the moment of one's own birth and realizing that life and death are two different elements of the same reality. By understanding this concept, we can gain the courage to overcome our fear of death.

Through meditation, we can learn to relax our bodies and take hold of our thoughts, perceptions, and feelings. The author suggests that it is essential to master these simple meditation techniques before moving on to more advanced approaches. Meditation provides a foundation for achieving mindfulness, which enables us to direct ourselves toward tranquility of the mind. By being present in the moment, we can experience the entire universe without distractions from thoughts about the future or past.

Book details

  • Print length: 140 pages
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Spirituality, Buddhism

What are the chapters in The Miracle of Mindfulness?

Chapter 1. The essential discipline
Chapter 2. The miracle is to walk on earth
Chapter 3. A day of mindfulness
Chapter 4. The pebble
Chapter 5. One is all, all is one: the five aggregates
Chapter 6. The almond tree in your front yard
Chapter 7. Three wondrous answers
Chapter 8. Exercises in mindfulness
Chapter 9. Nhat Hanh: seeing with the eyes of compassion
Chapter 10. Selection of Buddhist sutras

What is a good quote from The Miracle of Mindfulness?

Top Quote: "The real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” (Meaning) - The Miracle of Mindfulness Quotes, Thích Nhất Hạnh

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: "Thich Nhat Hanh's ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity." — Martin Luther King, Jr.

* The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways. If you're interested in furthering your personal development, I invite you to check out my list of favorite personal development books page. On this page, you'll find a curated list of books that have personally impacted my life, each with a summary and key lessons.

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Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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