Last Updated: November 4th, 2019

Front cover of Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh - Silence

SILENCE: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise

Thich Nhat Hanh

[HarperOne, 213 pages]

The practice of mindfulness is very simple. You stop, you breathe, and you still your mind. You come home to yourself so that you can enjoy the here and now in every moment.Thich Nhat Hanh

Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thich Nhat Hanh is about quieting our minds by avoiding nonstop thinking and allowing deep listening, in order to cultivate peace, healing and freedom within our noisy and stressful everyday lives.

Hanh asserts that “Real solitude comes from a stable heart that does not get carried away by the pull of the crowd, nor by sorrows of the past, worries about the future, or excitement or stress about the present.”

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist, Zen master and peace activist who’s the author of many best-selling books, including Peace is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives, The Art of Power and Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm. He currently lives in Vietnam, after several years living in France, so he can spend his remaining days at his “root temple.”

Happiness in the present moment

To be happy in the present moment is one of the cornerstones of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings. He suggests that “If you can be here, if you can be free, then you can be happy right here and right now. You don’t have to run anymore.”

Hanh understands the importance of coming home to our own existence. He says, “When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”

In a world in which everyone is in pursuit of happiness—where goals are to be achieved and milestones are to be attained—we’re always seeking something new, something better. However, Hanh suggests, “It is okay to make a wish or to have an aim, but we shouldn’t allow this to become something that prevents us from living happily in the here and now.”

Think about a particular moment (or series of moments) that you want to cherish; for instance, receiving a sweet embrace from someone you love, hearing the laughter of your children or taking part in your favorite hobby. All of these things are experiences that you want to enjoy in the present moment; you don’t want to think about anything else. As they go on, your heart is full of pure gratitude, and your mind is calm.

This is how I apply Hanh’s teachings about being happy in the here and now. Unfortunately, each of us must deal with the daily struggles of life, and this is the point at which most of us get caught up in the hustle. We’ve been molded by our unpleasant experiences to be strong, to strive hard and to earn the happiness we seek. Along the way, we forget about the things that really makes us happy.

A thought-provoking title

Woman sitting on pillar on quiet beach - Silence

Silence, for me, isn’t a book that can enable us to fully grasp the idea of finding peace and happiness in our lives, but it’ll definitely make readers think about it.

It encourages us to calm our minds and find relief from stress and worry, which is something that I find important. Hanh says, “To meditate is to nourish ourselves, to heal ourselves, in order to live peacefully with each other; and this deepens our understanding of life.”

Combining relatable stories, Zen wisdom and simple mindfulness techniques, Silence is a genuinely helpful book that encourages us to look into ourselves and discover what we truly desire.

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image 1: Pixabay