According to Haemin Sunim, Buddhist monk and author of the spiritual bestseller ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’, the key to a happier life is slowing down our busy lives.
The 43-year old Haemin Sunim from South-Korea studied religion at the prestigious American university of Harvard, and received a PhD. degree at Princeton University. Initially, Sunim studied film but the heavy party culture among students made him go to a meditation centre. There, he discovers the joy of daily meditating and getting up early, what makes him alter his original plan and study religion instead.
After finishing his PhD, Sunim returns to his homeland to have a Buddhist monastic education, after which he sets up group therapy sessions for young people. Since a lot of teenagers and adults ask advice for the everyday challenges they face, Sunim decides to share his guidelines on Facebook and Twitter. Soon, the monk gains over one million followers on Twitter.
Even publishers took notice of his large following. And so, Penguin Books persuade Sunim to write things down in a spiritual book called ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’. The book already sold more than three million copies and is currently being translated into 16 languages. But what exactly is the key to a happy life?
Above all, we need to slow down our busy lives, taking life as a whole more slowly. And we should understand that negative emotions are not permanent. ‘Negative emotions will naturally release their grip, if you give them the space to do so. Regard them as a passing cloud, instead of identifying with them as a defining part of yourself.’
Being happy is the ability to take time, being selective in your choices and savouring your thoughts. Self-awareness is most important. And how do you do that? ‘Observe the world around you and your thoughts, whether they’re positive or negative. And take note as such. Do you have an important decision to take? Put faith in your subconscious, give yourself a few days time and the answer will come.’
Has your trust been shattered? Have you lost hope? Take a pause and rest. And let go of your worries by talking about it. Make time for a good face-to-face conversation instead of a quick phone call or a text message. ‘I heard that sometimes it’s easier for parents to attract their children’s attention by texting them. We are really connected but at the same time desperately lonely.‘ so says Sunim.
‘And remember that when you are so busy that you begin to feel overwhelmed, you are not powerless. When your mind rests, the world also rests.’ ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’ is available on Amazon.com, and gives advice about life, handling setbacks, love and relationships.