The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down | Haemin Sunim

Summary of: The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: Guidance on the Path to Mindfulness from a Spiritual Leader
By: Haemin Sunim


In ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’, Haemin Sunim provides insightful guidance on the path to mindfulness and enlightenment. This book summary delves into the ways our perception and mental state determine our reality, as well as the importance of staying present and allowing our emotions to flow freely. It also covers practical advice for managing stress, meaningful relationships, and tips on living life with confidence and conviction. Ultimately, the summary highlights the key messages and tools for maintaining happiness, letting go of the past and future, and focusing on the present moment.

Our Mind Controls the World

Our mind controls our reality, and our perspective on things drives our emotions. Focusing on the present and practicing awareness is the key to managing stress and finding clarity. We can’t control the past or the future, so focusing on the present frees us from anxiety. Writing down our worries and tackling them one by one can help us manage stress. Self-awareness is the first step to enlightenment.

Emotions: Friends or Foes?

When negative emotions arise, instead of controlling or suppressing it, you should embrace it, be aware of it, and let it pass naturally. You are not your feelings; you are the conscious being who observes them, and you have the power to change the energy behind those feelings. Change is inevitable, and you don’t have to resist it. Accept it and be a part of it.


Do you often feel overwhelmed by negative emotions? Do you try to suppress them, control them, or assign a value to them? According to this book, embracing your emotions is the key to transforming them. You are not your feelings; you are the conscious being who observes them and has the power to change the energy behind those feelings.

Imagine your mind as a fish tank with a layer of mud at the bottom. When you agitate the water, the mud churns up and clouds the water. Similarly, negative emotions are the mud in your mind, but instead of trying to push them down, you should let them settle naturally. Rather than focusing on the labels of those emotions, focus on the energy behind them and try to figure out where it’s coming from. By simply being aware of the energy without any judgment, you allow it to change over time.

When you’re feeling low, take just three minutes to sit quietly with your feelings. Observe them without trying to control or assign value to them. Soon, you’ll feel the energy behind those feelings changing, and the worst storm will eventually pass.

Remember, you are not defined by your emotions any more than the sky is defined by a thunderstorm. You are the conscious being who observes them and inevitably lets them go. Change is inevitable, and it’s neither good nor bad; it just is. Rather than resisting change and trying to fit into the world, accept it, relax, and be a part of it.

So, the next time negative emotions arise, don’t fight them. Befriend them, let them flow naturally through you, and realize that change is the only constant in life.

Choosing Happiness Over Success

In a world where success is often equated with material gain and status, we must consider what success truly means. The key message is that we should prioritize happiness over traditional societal markers of success. While pursuing success can lead to burnout and a lack of effectiveness, choosing to be happy in our work and defining our own goals can lead to greater fulfillment. Passion alone is not enough; we must work effectively with others and take their needs into account. Ultimately, we should not rely on external benchmarks for success, but rather define what happiness means for ourselves and pursue it.

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