Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down (Book Review with Quotes)

Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down (Book Review with Quotes)

Things You can see only when you slow down book review,Things You can see only when you slow down quotes

This book is by a Zen Buddhist monk, who is also a professor at a liberal arts college in Massachusetts. He started tweeting aphorisms and ended up getting such a large following on Twitter and Facebook that a publisher approached him about compiling some of his pithy wisdom in a book. That book went on to sell 3 million copies in Korea, and recently, it has become available in America.

This is not religious content, as much as common sense, distilled down to its essence. It would be a great gift book for the young adults on your gift list. It would be particularly good for anyone you know who is anxious, depressed, or uncertain. There is nothing new here, but to see this good advice easily accessible in one place is powerful, and because the bits are so short, it is easy to dip in and out of it in a pleasurable and encouraging way.

Here are some bits I highlighted to give you a feel:

  • “Our reality is not the infinitely stretching cosmos but the small part we choose to focus on. Reality exists because our minds exist. Without the mind, there would be no universe.”
  • “It isn’t the outside world that’s in a whirlwind; it is only my mind. The world has never complained about how busy it is. When your mind rests, the world also rests.”
  • “Without joy in our heart, our progress is slow and uninteresting.”
  • “The reason you regard me as pure and compassionate is that you are pure and compassionate yourself.”
  • “If I had to summarize the entirety of most people’s lives in a few words, it would be endless resistance to what is. If I had to summarize the entirety of an enlightened person’s life in a few words, it would be acceptance of what is.”
  • “If you are aware in the moment that your stomach is getting full, then you are spiritually advanced.”
  • “The most dangerous people are those who have passion but lack wisdom.”
  • “Being right isn’t nearly as important as being happy together.”
  • “If I want to convince someone, I first listen attentively and try to understand them. Even if I’m right, they won’t be convinced until they feel heard and respected.”
  • “Criticism without a solution is merely an inflation of the critic’s ego.”
  • “When conversation turn’s to someone’s flaws, try not to participate and gently redirect the conversation.”
  • “Don’t just wait for what you want to happen. Act first.”
  • “I want you to know that I love your ordinariness, because I too, am ordinary. The truth is, we are all ordinary.”
  • “If you envy someone’s life, remember the pizza ad. It always looks better than it is.”
  • “When you concentrate, even a phone book can be interesting. If you are bored, you are not concentrating.”
  • “The determination to convince someone might stem from being not completely convinced yourself. I do not go around trying to convince people that I am a man.”
  • “Wear confidence. It is the height of fashion.”
  • “Rather than setting a goal of becoming rich and powerful, aim higher: becoming admired in your field.”
  • “Three things I had to do to be happy: 1) realize that people are not as interested in me as I had believed. 2) realize that not everyone has to like me. 3) realize that most of things we do for others are in fact for ourselves.”
  • “Stop worrying about what others think and just do what you wish. Uncomplicate your life and own up to your desires. Only when you are happy can you help make the world a happier place.”
  • “Your mind cannot hold two thoughts at once. This means that a single thought can occupy your entire mind. Whether good or bad, everything stems from a single thought. If we are careful with that first thought, even tragedies can be prevented.”
  • “One word of encouragement, said with kindness and hope, can change a person’s future.”
  • “Your freedom is more important than money. It is better to live the kind of life you want than to earn more and be constrained. Don’t sell your freedom.”
  • “If you are desperately looking to meet someone special, send your prayer out to the universe. The universe is an amazing matchmaker.”
  • “It is a sign of great spiritual strength to keep someone else’s secret.”

I loved this little volume, and you or yours may as well. I give Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down five stars.



I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.

1 Comment

  1. Dilys 1 year ago

    Wonderfully wise words! Thanks for sharing those highlights, Polly. It sounds a very interesting book.

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