I read The Miracle of Mindfulness for the first time about fourteen years ago. I was born and raised in Thailand, a so-called Buddhist country. But when I was young I couldn’t understand Buddhism at all, and I saw no point in being a Buddhist. I went to the US in 1999, and a friend of mine introduced a book called Being Peace written by a Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh to me. At first I was skeptical. But as I was reading it I thought everything he wrote made sense. He explained Buddhism in simple language, and for the first time in my life I thought I understood what Buddhism was all about. I started reading more books by Thich Nhat Hanh, including The Miracle of Mindfulness. I also started practicing mindfulness in my daily life. But maybe because I was young or because of other reasons, I couldn’t go through with it and I stopped the mindfulness practice.
The Miracle of Being Awake or later known as The Miracle of Mindfulness.
Recently, I’d noticed that I wasn’t happy with my life. And I thought I had every reason to be happy. I mean I had problems in life like everybody else, but I didn’t think I should be this unhappy. So I went on a search to find happiness. I tried to find things to do that made me happy. I kept a journal in which I wrote down what made me happy. But I still wasn’t happy. All I could find was a distraction. I was happy when I was doing all those things. But when I came back to myself I was still unhappy like before. And I was so tired of this feeling.
A few days ago I was reading an article written by a psychologist who also practices Buddhism. He said that if you searched for happiness you would never find it. And from what I’d experienced I agreed with him. All of a sudden I thought about Thich Nhat Hanh and the books I read many years ago. The Miracle of Mindfulness came to mind. The next day I went to a bookstore and bought the Thai translation of the book. I’m half way through it now.
I think this time the book has more impact on me than the first time I read it. Maybe it’s because I’m older now. I think I can grasp it better. I started my mindfulness practice right away, beginning from doing simple things in my daily life mindfully, like doing the dishing, eating, cleaning, etc. I have also been doing sitting meditation, following the technique in the book. I think this is what I really need in life right now. And I think it’s time for me to stop chasing after happiness. What I need instead is to be present in the here and now.
“If you cannot find joy and peace in these very moments of sitting, then the future itself will only flow by as a river flows by, you will not be able to hold it back, you will be incapable of living the future when it has become the present. Joy and peace are the joy and peace possible in this very hour of sitting. If you cannot find it here, you won’t find it anywhere. Don’t chase after your thoughts as a shadow follows its object. Don’t run after your thoughts. Find joy and peace in this very moment.”
I also got myself a little notebook to write about my mindfulness practice. It’s a little book that I can keep with me at all time and doesn’t take up too much space.
My little mindfulness journal.
I’m still a beginner on this path, but I’m working on it.