Thich Nhat Hahn has created many gathas, also called mindfulness poems, for people at his retreats and Plum Village community. Robert Aitken, another Buddhist teacher, has a collection of these mini-meditations to help us give all we've got to whatever we are doing. Barbara Ann Kipfer, author of 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, has created her own nifty gathas (201 of them) to be used while engaged in everyday activities.

The paperback is divided into sections on relationships, work, everyday, occasions, housework, talking, health, nature, feelings, and the spiritual path. These little Buddhist reminders are wonderful aids to seeing the web of connections that sustain our lives. They also provide good practice in being grateful for the pleasures and delights which are often hidden in ordinary events and activities. Here are a few examples:

Turning on the Water

"As I turn on the water, my body's essence pours before me. Clouds, oceans, rivers, and deep wells all support my life."

Going To Sleep

"Falling asleep at last I vow with all beings to enjoy the dark and the silence and rest in the vast unknown."


"Waiting is the practice of patience. I develop my ability to wait and to listen, going deep into stillness. It is seeking without seeking. Deep slow breaths help me practice waiting in the present moment."

Getting Sick

"I shall not be angry with getting sick. Illness is inescapable and I can choose to be at ease with and even gain strength from illness. I free myself from fear and am grateful for the blessing that the illness will eventually go away. Everything is impermanent, even sickness."

A Rainstorm

"The rain replenishes and sustains, but it can feel inconvenient and even uncomfortable. Without deciding rain is good or bad, I relax with the rain and feel whatever I am feeling. I choose to rain kindness on all."