52 in 52 Book Summaries

Book Summary: You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh

forces of habit book summary

forces of habit journal summary for you are here

You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh


The Essence

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, distills the core Buddhist teachings and practices all in under 200 pages. Observing the presence of everything in this world is only ever truly recognized when we first become present of ourselves. Thich Nhat Hanh stresses the importance of mindfulness as the main instrument at our disposal in the art of living and provides us with techniques for cultivating mindfulness in our own lives. All the while he is able to share lessons in Metta, non-self, impermanence, and emptiness—all of which are imperative to Buddhist teachings. Simply written, this short piece is an elegant yet practical reminder of the power and relevance of Buddhist thought in each of our seemingly independent subjective realities.

You Are Here Summary Journal Entry:

This is my book summary of You Are Here Thich Nhat Hanh. My notes are a reflection of the journal write up above. Written informally, the notes contain a mesh of quotes and my own thoughts on the book. The Journal write up also includes important messages and crucial passages from the book.

  • You can become a torch shining out enlightenment and compassion, not just on those who are near to you, but on the whole society in which you live. This reminds me of the power of intentional living. If i exemplify everything I stand for, I am more then just a change for those around me, I represent a force in the shift towards a societal adjustment towards equanimity.
  • The Essence of the Buddha’s Teaching
    1. Impermanence
    2. Non-self
    3. Nirvana
  • ‘This body is not me, I am not caught in this body. I am life without boundaries. I have never been born, and I shall never die.’
  • The true nature of a thing is not being born, and not dying. Birth and death are nothing more than concepts.
  • Do not fear death. Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey.
  • The idea of being and nonbeing have to be rejected. These notions do not apply to reality. We are always in a state of existence. The idea of a dualism just does not appropriately relate as a model for understanding reality as we live it.
  • Learning to die is a very profound practice. Far too often people are attached to the idea that deaths seal is something to fear. But Why? Is it the uncertainty? Uncertainty revolves all around us. We have no evidence that the fading of the individual identity we have created is somehow the eradication of consciousness. Embrace the mortality, once you learn to die life has no limits.
  • There is only manifestation and non-manifestation; existence and non-existence are just concepts. I am still learning to understand this. Yet perhaps the lesson isn’t to conceptually understand, but embrace the lesson for its paradoxical nature and accept it for what it is.
    1. Of the suffering caused by the destruction of life.
    2. Of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression.
    3. Of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct.
    4. Of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others.
    5. Of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption.
  • Live in the present moment with full awareness; this is the only way to deal with insecurity, fear, and suffering without any regrets.
  • Conflict and suffering tend to be caused by a person not wanting to surrender his concepts and ideas of things. We become trapped in our mental representations of the world. It is through these static models that the world begins to not make any sense. But it is, and never was, that the world didn’t make any sense—it’s always your representation. We must begin to allow our view of the world to become fluid. For it is only through this fluidity that we can embrace the changing landscape for what it is and not want we want it to be.
  • “Beginning a new means being determined not to repeat the negative thing we have done in the past. When we vow to ourselves, I am determined not to behave as I did in the past, transformation occurs immediately.”

Reading Recommendations

If you liked what you saw. Here are 3 titles that I recommend based on what discussed in You Are Here.

1. A Gradual Awakening by Stephen Levine

2. The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

3. Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh

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