- Sunday Sanctuary
The Practice of Not Thinking by Ryunosuke Koike - April '22 Review
How often do you go about your day without paying attention to your senses? Our minds are often occupied with thoughts of past or future events, with little thought to what you can hear, smell, see, and touch in the present. Bestselling author Ryunosuke Koike, a Zen buddhist priest, has provided a guide for the modern worker on how to reattach yourself to the present moment.
What if we could learn to look instead of see, listen instead of hear, feel instead of touch? Former monk Ryunosuke Koike shows how, by incorporating simple Zen practices into our daily lives, we can reconnect with our five senses and live in a more peaceful, positive way.
When we focus on our senses and learn to re-train our brains and our bodies, we start to eliminate the distracting noise of our minds and the negative thoughts that create anxiety. By following Ryunosuke Koike's practical steps on how to breathe, listen, speak, laugh, love and even sleep in a new way, we can improve our interactions with others, feel less stressed at work and make every day calmer. Only by thinking less, can we appreciate more.
Our Favourite Quote:
"Open your ears to the sounds of the world, and your world will change."
We're giving this book a 3.5/5. With an excellent insight into flawed human behaviour - habits that often prevent us from being happy and encourage a busy mind - this book falls short of a higher score due to the stoicism needed to apply Koike's advice in the day-to-day.
There's a line to toe when it comes to mindfulness, and the principle of nothing in excess can and should be applied to wellbeing philosophy. It's worth bearing in mind when reading this book that it was written by a Zen buddhist priest, and whilst Koike gives real-world examples of antidotes to negative behaviours, there is a sense of absolute dedication needed to achieve the levels of contentment he describes. That being said, there is much wisdom to be found in his writing, and a better approach would be to see The Practice of Not Thinking as a guidebook rather than a set of rules. Becoming aware of negative behaviours can help you undo them slowly, rather than going cold turkey on the habits you've reinforced for years.
All in all, this book is worth a read. It's under 200 pages long and has a calming effect on the reader. Save the golden nuggets of advice - like stopping to listen to birdsong - and discard the tips that don't serve you; an approach we encourage with everything published on this site and in our newsletters, and think no text should be considered any differently.