Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana

“We are simply not paying enough attention to notice that we are not paying attention.”

I have a meticulous system for taking notes when I read, but it didn’t work with Mindfulness in Plain English. Underlining 90% of the book doesn’t help highlight the most important lessons. This is the best book on mindfulness and meditation that I’ve read to date.

I read this book as a meditation refresher several years after I started meditating. I expected to take away a few tips on how to breathe better, how to deal with feeling sleepy and how to cope with pain and numb legs. I didn’t expect all the profound insight on the true meaning of mindfulness.

This book tells you what meditation is and what it isn’t. If you have an allergy to the word meditation, this is probably the book to start with because as the title indicates, it’s in plain English. There’s very little of the type of lingo that tends to turn a lot of people away from meditation. The book discusses things like loving kindness in a way that is approachable and understandable. It gives concrete tips on how to deal with some of the challenges you face not only during meditation, but in life. I had so many ah-ha moments that I actually started saying “ah-ha” while reading it.

Even though this book is centered on a Buddhist meditation practice called Vipassana, or insight, meditation, the book felt secular to me. You can get a lot out of it regardless of your religious or non-religious affiliation.

Even if you never plan to meditate, this book is still worth reading. If you’ve ever had anxiety or depression, if you ever get nervous or antsy, if you have difficulties concentrating, if you get distracted easily, read this book. If you’ve ever felt jealous, resentful, or just a little out of control, read this book. If you have regrets about the past or feel uncertain about the future, read this book. If you think you’re too busy to read, read this book.

Both a great orientation for those who are new to meditation and mindfulness and a refresher for seasoned meditators. It’s a book I’ll read again and again. Highly recommended. 10/10.

“We view impermanent things as permanent, though everything is changing all around us. The process of change is constant and eternal.”

Originally posted on Goodreads.

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