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Book Review

Quiet  Mind:  One-Minute Retreats from a Busy World
by David Kundtz (2000). 370 pp. – Notes compiled by Alice Fedorenko.
David Kundtz's web address is http://www.stopping.com/.

The book Quiet Mind provides a wealth of one-minute-retreats from our busy lives, showing how to create quiet space in our lives and guiding us towards wisdom, serenity and peace. The following are some of the gems in this book:

To-day, pick a few moments to sit down, be still, and pay attention.

Use the consistently occurring daily "rest" moments (waiting in line, brushing teeth, etc.) to stand still, close your eyes, breathe deeply, be mindful and serene, and feel your body and emotions.
When you are upset or need to calm down or refocus – at any time, in any place – breathe – in and out – slowly, deeply, consciously – to bring peace and tranquility and consciousness to your body and spirit.
Gaze out the window and just be and observe.
Be still, breathe, relax.
Breathe again – and again.
Let a little time pass doing nothing, and
Repeat.
Revisit this a few times each day.

Practice being in the moment.
Don't hurry – don't worry. You're here for only a short time – so stop and smell the flowers.
Diffuse a period of stress with some relaxation (about 30 min for a bath, a walk, a chat with a friend). This will dissipate the effects of stress and help maintain your health.
Do  not  return  to  normal  life  without  first  taking  this  special  break.

To-day, sit still in a room for 10 minutes.
In the middle of a stressful event (happy or not), take a brief time-out – alone – to breathe – to be still – to let go.

Create opportunities for serenity by writing, reading, etc.
Tonight, look for the moon, and find a moment of stillness and reflection.
Read something that makes you still and quiet.

Got a problem to solve?.. a decision to make?.. a crisis to face?
Leave the problem behind and go for a walk.
Blend into the woods and be still for at least 20 minutes – pay attention to the nature around you – trees, breezes, birds, insects – don't have any expectations.
Let nature –  wind, rain, sun, clouds –  be your soothing therapist.
To calm and center yourself, observe any expression of nature – a leaf, a tree, a rock.
Go among trees and sit still.

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Create spaces of quiet contemplation each day.
Enjoy a good rest-break each week – no shopping, no chores.
Find a work of art that leads you to stillness….to contemplation.
Hold back harsh and unfair judgements of others by taking a quiet walk – mentally – in their moccasins.
The fewer distractions you allow, the more you will notice your chosen spiritual values.

A simple life leads to peace and slowing down.
Spending time quietly –  with no purpose, will clarify your goal and motivate you towards it.
Life is not lost by dying – it is lost in all the small uncaring ways.
Play more and more often.
Take a deep breath –  close your eyes –  and just be still for a moment.

Get a daily dose of delights – laugh a lot and lighten up.
Don't take life so seriously! – in most case we have no control at all.
We capture the purpose of life when we make time for the simple pleasures of life.
When you're busy or stressed, you take yourself too seriously. So, lighten up and fly !

The moment you pay close attention to anything – even a blade of grass – it becomes an indescribably magnificent world of its own.
When you pay close attention to another, they feel your respect and will do their best.
Don't ever save for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion !
Living in the present moment helps illuminate what is important and avoid what is trivial.
Each day, glory in all the "sensual" pleasures and beauty around you – in shapes, colours, textures, smells, tastes and sounds.
Take a few moments to-day –  to be quiet, to reflect, to sit on a park bench………
Before making a major decision, take a "Grinding Halt" (hours, weeks, months) to reflect.

The author concludes with an enticing idea of a "National Stopping Day"

One day of the year during which no one would work. Everyone would say only what's necessary and do nothing in general but be silent and relax.
And for performers of essential services there'd be an alternative Stopping Day; the rest of us would spell them.
Everyone would be quiet and listen. The preachers. The politicians. The judges. The lawyers. The journalists. There'd be nothing on television and radio. No newspapers. No mail delivered. Only necessary phone calls. The World Wide Web would be still.

All over the country we could look at the sky, take a walk, watch the rain, listen to nature, sit quietly, look into one another's eyes, say a few good words, walk the dog, eat quietly, observe the passage of time.
Just imagine how we would all feel the day after! I've no doubt we'd all demand that it become a monthly event.

For David Kundtz's web site, click here.

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