Book Review : Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana

Saying that daily anxieties and stresses are overwhelming would be an immense understatement. We are plagued as a society with overthinking and consuming ourselves with issues both big and small. Allowing these anxieties and stresses to run rampant in our minds can be lethal to having a healthy and serene mindset. There are countless ways in which we can train our minds to be less judgmental, more optimistic, and simply more at peace with ourselves. There are two practices in particular that can help us do this and they are meditation and mindfulness. Sometimes these practices can seem complicated and too difficult to comprehend. Yet, Bhante Gunaratana blessed the world with his words on both meditation and mindfulness, in a clear, concise, and easy to understand book. Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante Gunaratana, is not only an easy read, but he uses everyday language to explain what seem to be very abstract concepts. Gunaratana opens his book up with saying, “In my experience, I have found that the most effective way to express something new in a way people can understand is to use the simplest language possible”. He does just that. 

In a simple language, Gunaratana brings his audience on a journey through meditation and mindfulness. He explains what meditation is and what it is not, highlighting all the misconceptions people have had about meditation. He gives examples of how to incorporate meditation in our everyday lives, emphasizing the importance of the practice, and bringing it down to its very foundation. He speaks on everything from how to sit, and how to breathe, to different verses we can use while meditating. Gunaratana also gives an in-depth explanation of what mindfulness is and how using it can be imperative in our daily lives. He provides examples of mindfulness exercises which are simple and easy to do. 

Gunaratana teaches his readers how meditation and mindfulness can help people deal with problems. He provides structure and planning ideas for the exercises and even describes what is in it for us. The final chapter of the book is called, “Power of Loving and Friendliness”. It seemed appropriate considering meditation and mindfulness is all about learning to love ourselves, others, and the world around us. We are constantly pulled in so many directions everyday, allowing our stress and anxieties to bring us down, yet with these practices we can learn where to find relief. Anyone can practice meditation and mindfulness, and anyone can find peace in doing so. While many of us have specific reasons to make our mental health a priority, remember that we do not need to have a reason, everyone should be healthy emotionally and mentally. Meditation and mindfulness play key roles in working to get our mind to a place of peace. Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana does not just guide us through how to train our thoughts and minds, it reminds us that our minds don’t have to be a prison, they can be a safe haven. 

Written By Grace Zukus

Posted in
Meditation Monday, The Basics