Power. When one thinks of power, one usually thinks of the ability to control others. Power. CEO's world leaders, even local officials come to mind. Power is one of the things that men crave.
Who is Thich Nhat Hanh?
When one sees Thich Nhat Hanh, they may not think of power. He is an old Vietnamese Buddhist monk living in exile in France. What would he know about power? After listening to this audio book (or reading it), you will find out quite a lot. Moreover, Thich Naht Hanh's advice is relevant for anyone, not just monks or Buddhists or CEO's. Any one of any faith or any class could benefit from the advice within Hanh's The Art of Power.
Thich Nhat Hanh has written many books. He was banned from his home country of Viet Nam for spreading vicious ideas and philosophies that went against everything the communists and the anti-communists believed in. Thich Nhat Hanh spoke of peace, and for that he was banned. He lives in exile now in Plum Village in France, and he is perhaps the second most popular Buddhist writer and speaker after the Dalai Lama. He is a Zen Buddhist. However, like the Dalai Lama, one does not need to be a Buddhist or give up any of their present faith to take real knowledge and gain real insight from Thich Nhat Hanh's writing.
Audio Book Narration
The audio book was not narrated by Thich Nhat Hanh himself (He does narrate some of his own books, but this isn't one). It was narrated by Lloyd James. He reads it with emotion in his voice and he is quite easy to listen to.
What is it all about?
Thich Nhat Hanh talks about real power, the power of mindfulness, the power of one's self. He talks about the power not to blindly follow the crowd, the trends, and what's in right now. He tells you how to have the power to be at peace with yourself, and how to bring happiness to yourself and to others.
The substance of the book is how one can use mindfulness in all situations of life. Mindfulness is the idea of truly being in any given moment, paying full attention and not wandering off thinking of the past and worrying of the future. He talks about how this can be relevant in politics, ie. really being concerned about how one votes, and how they impact the politicians constituents and country. I imagined for a brief moment how the US would be if our politicians were mindful as described by Thich Nhat Hahn rather than focused on their donors and their off shore bank accounts.
Thich talks about mindfulness in family and how much stronger family relations are when one is mindful. Again, I knew what he said to be true. On occasions when I am with my son, but not with him in the moment, he recognizes that. When I am truly with him, and not focused on the various other sundries of life, we have the best times. This is true of time with your spouse or significant other, your friends and your family. It seems such a simple concept, but Thich Hanh demonstrates through simple stories and narratives how powerful a concept it is.
Many don't have time to meditate or quietly reflect to destress their anxiety prone minds. Thich Nhat Hanh describes how mindfully doing the mundane tasks of ones life can serve the same purpose. When was the last time you mindfully did the dishes? If you actually just focus on things like this, you can calm your mind which allows you to think more clearly when you need to. Thinking about the bills, or what someone said to you last week or everything that can go wrong next week won't help. Just being in the moment, being mindful even when you do what you may consider mindless tasks can help you balance your mind and alleviate stress and anxiety.
Why do we ultimately want power? So we can be happy and bring happiness to others is the conclusion that Thich Nhat Hanh has reached. With the Art of Power, he shows you how you too can achieve that.
I find myself listening to this book over again and the words just resonate. This was my first book by Thich Nhat Hanh, and I liked it so much that I have already ordered and read more by him.
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