Mindfulness, Anger & A Book Review

As part of my own personal 2016 book/creativity challenge I’ve decided to capture photos of the books I read along with something creative I’ve worked on.

The first book read this year was Thich Nhat Hanh’s Anger. Having had the opportunity to read previous books by this author I was looking forward to reading Thicih Nhat Hanh’s thoughts on anger and how to incorporate mindfulness when it comes to really strong emotions. Not only did the book cover the specifics of dealing with anger but spent a lot of time looking at how anger, like any strong emotion, should be dealt with using mindfulness and first working on ourselves.

Working on ourselves through self-love, becoming aware of how we respond to certain situations and what triggers anger inside of us. For me a big trigger is simply driving.  The commute in and out of the city can be stressful especially during the winter and it’s easy to get angry and fired up at other drivers who don’t appear to be paying attention or are overly aggressive in winter conditions. Even before reading this book I’d been working on my response to this through simply sitting with the emotions as they arose and not specifically taking them out on anyone in particular. Thich Nhat Hanh reiterates the importance of this mindfulness practice which is encouraging to my daily practice.

Although the book is titled Anger in truth these suggestions for daily practice apply to all types of strong emotions. The core being that we work on ourselves first through daily practice, mindful breathing and even mindful walking. Incorporating these pieces into our daily lives. That resonated with me.

If you don’t live in concentration, in mindfulness, if you don’t live every moment of your daily life deeply, then you cannot write. You can’t produce anything valuable to offer to others. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Another gem in this book that surprised me was a small conversation near the end of the book on the topic of writing. A man came to Thich Nhat Hanh wanting to write a book about him and his response back was that the man should focus first on himself. Work on his own story first and spend time being mindful with himself, his friends and family, and the community. It was a message that coincided with something I once read about photography. Try to capture the essence of what is going on around you with a photo in a way that the photo itself tells the story. Thich Nhat Hanh’s words quoted above sound remarkably similar when it comes to writing. Live in mindfulness and allow the story to flow from deep within otherwise you aren’t truly providing anything valuable.  As I’ve slowly dipped my foot into becoming more active with writing this is something I hope to achieve. To capture photos mindfully and perhaps write from a place of mindfulness.

If you enjoy photography or writing consider where your mind is at as you are capturing life through images and telling your story on the page. It feels like these places are where we can be most vulnerable and perhaps as a result most creative.


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