Peace Is Every Step

Author: Delia Owens

Published: 1991

Milly Read: February 2022

🚀 The Book in 4 Sentences

💡 My main takeaways from the book

  1. If you’re not enjoying something, it is because you’re not mindful and present. Instead you’re focussing on what else you’d rather be doing so stop and be present. Happiness comes from being present in every step.
  2. Use walking, washing up dishes, driving, hugging and church bells as opportunities to be more mindful and focus on your breath.
  3. If someone bothers you, try to understand them as you can’t be annoyed at someone you don’t understand. Instead of automatically reacting, take a few breaths and think ‘this person is giving me the chance to be mindful, they are giving me a gift’. If you do this every time an event occurs then you’re nourishing healthy and natural reactions to the event.
  4. When dealing with unpleasant emotions, you need to (1) recognise them (2) be one with them (3) be calm – focus on your breath (4) let go and (5) look deeply at the emotion.

🎨 Impressions

After reading this book, it made me want to make a positive impact on the world more than already before. I felt enlightened and cleansed as it was written in such a beautiful, kind and considerate way with the most valuable advice. It really does help guide you to live a better, mindful and cleansed life. It was such an easy read and I would definitely read it all again.

🔎 Who Should Read This?

If you are wanting to learn more about the following then definitely give it a read…

  1. Mindfulness
  2. New ways of dealing with negative emotions
  3. Meditation – many practical daily meditation tips are given e.g. when walking, washing your dishes or even when you’re driving
  4. How to live better with others and approach life’s problems in a peaceful and gentle way.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

  • The book made me realise I’m not present enough. I like to think that I am but I’m not as I often look forward focus on my goals.
  • Whenever I hear church bells, I now always think of this book and make sure I focus on my breathing and mediate – see below summary for the reasoning.
  • I use to hate washing up and it was because I was always thinking of what I’d rather be doing instead. Since I’ve read this book, I am much more present and I enjoy the process a lot more. The warm water on my hands and the fact I’ve just eaten some lovely food. Cleaning up my space and my environment makes me feel good.

✍️ My Top 4 Quotes

  • “Every breath we take, every step we make can be filled with peace, joy and serenity. We need to only be awake and alive in the present moment”
  • ‘We are very good at preparing to live but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice 10 years for a diploma and we are very willing to work hard to get a car, a job, a house and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive”
  • “If we know how to live every moment in an awakened way, we will be aware of what is going on in our feelings and perceptions in the present moment, and we will not let knots form or become tight in our consciousness. And if we know how to observe our feelings, we can find the roots of long-standing internal formations and transform them, even those that have become quite strong”
  • ‘Anger is an energy in us and we can accept that energy in order to transform into another kind of enegry’

📒 Summary + Notes

1. Mindfulness

The key to happiness is ‘only possible in the present moment’. If you try to find your happiness in objects or goals, it brings temporary happiness and then you will need to find new objects and goals to get your happiness back.

Always looking to the future is dangerous. We’re always looking to the future and 20 years will pass and we will look back and realise we haven’t enjoyed any of it.

Hope is an obstacle. Hope emphasis the future and neglects present moment.

To be more mindful, you need to meditate. Focus completely on your breath – focus on inhale and exhale. If your mind drifts, bring yourself back to your breathing. This can be done seated, walking or when washing the dishes.

TIP: You need to do it throughout your daily life, not just in the thirty minutes time that you dedicated towards it in the morning. Use other reminders in your daily life to centre yourself and meditate e.g. church bells or stopping at a red light whilst driving.

TIP: The purpose of each event is the event itself so if you look at the purpose of eating as just to eat, you’d be completely focused on the event. If you looked at eating as purpose to fill yourself up, you’ll just keep thInking ‘am I full yet’? This will prevent you from being mindful and present. Stop watching TV and being on your phone whilst eating too.

2. Transformation

Most people hate washing up the dishes. However if you were truly present when doing an event, you’ll bring the same peace and mindfulness when doing it, you would enjoy it.

You’re training the habit of always looking into the future so whilst you’re doing this, you’re thinking about what you need to do instead. You’re continually thinking about the next thing in your life and you’ll never be present right now.

When dealing with unpleasant emotions, you should:

  1. Recognise each feeling as it arises – e.g. fear
  2. Become one with the feelings – do not say ‘go away fear, I don’t like you’. It is better to look at it truly and be one with it.
  3. Calm the feeling – as you breathe in, think ‘I calm the activities of your mind’
  4. Release the feeling and let it go – as you breathe out, think ‘I release the worries from my mind’
  5. Look deeply into the emotion – look into it and understand what caused the feeling of fear, it’ll help it stop arising in the future

When emotions have been caused by someone else:

  1. Understand the other person and why they acted that way – you can’t be angry with someone if you understand why they behaved in that way.

3. Nourishing Healthy Seeds

Seeds are what remain after you’ve had an emotion. These seeds can be seen as memory or habits e.g. you could get mean back or you could be sad thinking ‘why did they say that to me?’.

TIP: Instead you need to make positive associations with the event which can only be done through using mindfulness and focussing on the event. For example instead of automatically reacting, you should take a few breathes and think ‘this person is giving me the chance to be mindful, is giving me a gift’. If you do this every time an event occurs then you’re nourishing healthy seeds and it’ll become a natural reaction to the event.

This can be applied to ‘what’s not wrong’ instead of asking ‘what’s wrong?’. Focus on what went right instead of the one negative thing that went wrong. It’ll help nourish and train your habits to be positive instead of negative.

4. The Love Action Plan

The author created a guide to help the reader live through love instead of fear. These are as follows:

  1. Do not be bound to any one religious school of thought as all schools have insight and guidance
  2. Do not think you know everything, always be ready to learn
  3. Do not force others including children to have your views (religious or any other)
  4. Do not avoid suffering or lose awareness of it
  5. Do not accumulate wealth while others are starving and suffering
  6. Do not hold onto anger or hatred, transform them
  7. Do not say harmful things to others
  8. Do not lie to gain benefit or to hurt another
  9. Do not use the religious community for personal gain / politics
  10. Do not choose a vocation that harms others or invest in companies that harm / exploit others
  11. Do not kill or let others kill
  12. Do not seal or covet others posessions
  13. Do not mistreat your body or use sex for any other purpose than to express your love for one another