Author: Thich Nhat Hanh
Publisher: Rider Books
Price: £10.99 (Purchase HERE)
Other parts of the world $25.99 (Purchase HERE)
"One of the best known and most respected Zen masters in the world today, poet, and peace and human rights activist, Thich Nhat Hanh has led an extraordinary life." Thich Nhat Hanh Facebook page
A little while ago I was introduced to Thich Nhat Hanh by my meditation teacher. As I watched him on YouTube I saw this serene-looking man, well spoken, and with a beautiful energy. With countless videos on YouTube to watch, I was keen to also read more of his innate wisdom.
'The Art Of Communicating' is Thich Nhat Hanh's most recent book and I was not disappointed. Simply written, in perfect Thich Nhat Hanh style, it transports you back into the present moment, engaging you in ordinary living but in a more mindful way.
Communicating is one of those things I wanted to be better at, and I discovered from reading this book that there is more to communicating than simple body language or verbal expression. Thich goes into how we eat with more than our mouths and how everything we take in through our eyes, senses and ears is food. Beginning the book with a chapter called 'Essential Food' he states:
"We often ingest toxic communication from those around us and from what we watch and read. Are we ingesting things that grow our understanding and compassion? If so, that's good food. Often, we ingest communication that makes us feel bad or insecure about ourselves or judgemental and superior to others. We can think about our communication in terms of nourishment and consumption. The Internet is an item of consumption, full of nutrients that are both healing and toxic. It's so easy to ingest a lot in just a few minutes on-line This doesn't mean you shouldn't use the internet, but you should be conscious about what you are reading and watching."'The Art of Communicating' has helped me understand how important it is to be careful what I take in. I was already quite sensitive to energies around me anyway, and to atmosphere or people misleading me with words when the energy behind the words was totally different. He gently encourages us to move away from relying on technology for communication and use it as a helpful tool but to connect once again at a more human-to-human level.
Like his other books, he focuses on simple practices anyone can choose to do, walking, breathing, sitting, drinking tea, but puts a stronger emphasis on communication. He lays out steps you can use in the form of mantras to bring a kinder, more loving presence to personal relationships, and how to change the communication with those people we may find difficult in life.
He brings to the forefront a new way to communicate through being a deeper listener. To listen without advising, talking or thinking, so that someone who may be suffering is able to shift how they feel without intrusion from we the listener. I learnt a lot about how to communicate with myself through compassionate listening, and how to communicate with others as a response to this deeper self connection.
Delving into the topic of communication in the workplace he writes:
"You may be under the impression that the purpose of your work is to offer a service to others, or to produce an object or commodity. But while at work, you're also producing thoughts, speech, and actions. Communication is as much a part of your job as is the end product. If you communicate well in your work environment, not only do you enjoy yourself more, but you create a harmonious atmosphere that will carry over into your work. Everything you do will have a stronger element of compassion and be of greater benefit to more people."I left this book feeling a sense of relief and understanding. Knowing there are better ways to communicate bodes well for the future of humankind. I look forward to reading more from this delightful author and wise public speaker.
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