Title: The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness
Author: Barb Schmidt
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: HCI Books


The mind has a way of interfering with personal happiness, often causing stress and doubt. Getting in touch with one’s inner source of peace and following its guidance over the mind’s often-unfounded concerns requires training and discipline. Knowing this truth intimately, Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life Founder Barb Schmidt developed a three-part spiritual discipline called The Practice. The Practice is a toolkit to be used throughout the day to guide people who are looking for confidence, less stress, and deeper meaning along life’s path. These tools are a compilation of the great Truths taught by authentic teachers and masters throughout the centuries from various religious and spiritual traditions.


The author

Barb Schmidt is a businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. She has studied with Thich Nhat Hanh, Deepak Chopra, Scott Peck, and Marianne Williamson, among many other notable teachers. As founder of Spirit of Giving Network and cofounder and past president of Ronald McDonald Children Charities of South Florida, Barb raised millions of dollars for children and families in need.

In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Barb founded Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life through which she teaches The Practice—a three-part guide to practical spirituality in today’s modern world. A well-respected not-for-profit, Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life has quickly expanded to include an online community via Facebook and through the weekly blog at www.peacefulmindpeacefullife.org.


Excerpt from the Introduction:

When I heard the Dalai Lama speak at Florida Atlantic University as part of the Peace Studies Program in 2010, he repeated a sentiment that he often shares: ‘Life is meant to be happy.’ We are meant to be happy. Our minds con us into wondering what that means. Are we happy? Why aren’t we happy? We think it is a feeling we sometimes have: ‘How do you feel?’ someone asks, and the other person replies, ‘Well, I was happy yesterday, but today I’m not so happy because this happened to me. It was so stressful!’ That sort of happiness is like riding a roller coaster—fleeting at best.

When the great masters and teachers talk about happiness, they are talking about that underlying sense of joy, peace, and security that we will find inward when we seek it through stillness and by being present to the moments of our lives. This place of stillness is within each one of us, and we can tap into it by having a spiritual practice that quiets the mind—not to get rid of it, but to enrich and nourish it and teach it to listen inwardly. ‘The word that comes out of listening changes hearts,’ says my friend James Finley, a Thomas Merton scholar. This is a profound Truth: change happens within.

The idea is to cultivate our minds the way we would a garden, by planting the plants we want, tending to them regularly, and keeping the ground fertile. When we do this daily, we start to align our mind, body, and heart so that each part of us works together in unity with a beautiful rhythm. This is what The Practice helps us do.

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In the first three chapters of The Practice, readers are guided through the daily routine:

Waking Up: This is really practical steps on having a meditation practice. The author has even included how one can avoid distractions during meditation. It makes meditation such a ‘doable’ practice.

“For five minutes, collect yourself, get to know yourself. Let the energy of your body and your heart connect. Start with peace and strength to ground yourself, and you’ll carry that connectedness – a deep sense of knowing that you can handle anything – all day.”

Living Present: This is how go through the day mindfully. When we are mindful, there is more peace in our daily routine.

“When you’re talking with someone, be there with them. When you’re watching TV, pay attention to the program. Train your mind to be present. When you recognize them, ordinary moments can become extraordinary.”

Letting Go: I found this part of the practice to be a lot like the Ignatian ‘Examen of Conscience’ and again, entirely ‘doable’.

“We can look back on the day and take a different action tomorrow, but we can’t change anything that’s happened. Take note of what happened – good or bad – and learn from it, then go to sleep without conflict.”

In the concluding chapter, readers are provided with an opportunity to deepen their experience of The Practice with engaging exercises and wonderful list of inspirational books to read.

I really appreciated the practical way the author outlines how one can inculcate a spiritual practice into their life.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.