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Thich Nhat Hanh, the author of "Touching the Earth: Guided Meditations for Mindfulness Practice," is a Zen Buddhist monk who lives in southern France. "Touching the Earth" does not come with a lot of direction, but makes it so individuals or groups who are willing to use the 40 devotions and simply touch the Earth to better themselves through mindfulness meditation.
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Though the devotions contained in "Touching the Earth" do acknowledge the Lord Buddha, it is not necessary to be an initiated Buddhist to benefit from the book. The content is thorough yet brief...each devotion is about one, no more than about three, pages. It can be read by one person in a group as others meditate upon its principles - being sure to actually touch and honor the Earth. Thich Nhat Hanh covers in his poetic yet authoritative style everything that could be troubling someone, from food abuse problems to sexual issues to getting over past pains. Even when discussing serious subjects, there is a strong thread of hope of liberation from pain that mindfulness meditation can help facilitate.
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Using the Book for Prayer
"Touching the Earth" can also be effectively used as prayer. Reading a meditation a day in a strong voice, trying to focus on the words, is an excellent way for people on a spiritual path to get started or recommit to regular prayer and meditation. Touching the Earth at the end of the reading, such as by placing a hand upon the ground, is Thich Nhat Hanh's recommendation to truly connect the body, soul, and Earth.
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Affordability and Value
As of July 2009, "Touching the Earth" cost about $11 on Amazon. The list price is $12.95. Either price is well-worth it, because even though the book is shorter than some other Thich Nhat Hanh works at 168 pages, a lot of material is packed in. Using the book as a form of prayer or meditation is the best way to get the most personal value out of "Touching the Earth."
Publisher: Parallax Press