Everyday Enlightenment, by His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa

Films to Read Before You Die | Out October 2021

Enlightenment is the easiest thing in the world if you put others first – and yet that’s a deceptively tough ask.

To give the book its full title, Everyday Enlightenment is about “walking the path to happiness in the modern world”. In other words, these are everyday things anyone can do to feel more at peace with themselves and the world.

This doesn’t have to involve sitting in a cave and never checking TikTok. Instead, the book offers ways in which to be ‘present’ in everyday life.

Meditation is the obvious option – though the book covers this fairly briefly.

There’s also watching nature, caring for the environment, giving up attachments, facing up to burning emotions and even contemplating death. It’s about being gentle with yourself and others and practicing gratitude, because nothing is permanent and everything is therefore a gift.

this is a gentle read hiding a deceptively tough proposition

More than anything, however, it comes down to putting others first: this is in many ways the opposite of how the West has structured its notions of success and survival. For that reason this is a gentle read hiding a deceptively tough proposition.

This book doesn’t claim to make you a better business leader – and it may not even make you a better Buddhist – but it does serve to underline how much we accept about modern life without questioning whether it truly makes us happy.

“If you have patience and tolerance, your life will be rich, but they are not instantly easy concepts. That is why so often life is wobbly, like an old antique table. I used to have a very old British dining table, and whenever you went near it, it wobbled and creaked – you couldn’t rest anything on it for fear it would break. This is like life without patience and tolerance.”


Everyday Enlightenment: Walking the Path to Happiness in the Modern World, by His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa

Quoted edition published by Michael Joseph, 2012

Other books like Everyday Enlightenment
  • Happy, by Derren Brown (self help)
  • The Art of Happiness, by the Dalai Lama (spirituality)
  • The Chimp Paradox (self help)

Picture credit: Saffu