Book review: The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down

Back in January I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing a book, ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’. At the time I was gearing up to move house and thought, uhhhh, yeah… I am definitely going to need that.

So the lovely people at Penguin sent me a copy and I packed it away, ready to dive in once we moved. As regular readers will know (mainly because I won’t shut up about it) we didn’t get Internet until about a month after we moved in.

And while this did annoy us (paying £££ for data to feed my Instagram obsession was a particularly low point) it also freed us a little and forced us to slow down a little.

I took a break from blogging and made a start on my ‘to read’ book pile. The first of which was of course, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down.


Haemin Sunim is a Zen monk and a former professor, so when it comes to calming your mind and finding peace – this is most certainly your guy. Haemin started answering peoples questions about life, mindfulness, everything on social media and he was promptly contacted by a publisher to turn his writings into a book.

What I loved so much about Haemin’s writing is the way he speaks to the reader so clearly. He explains the purpose of the beautiful illustrations dotted throughout (these are placed to encourage a moment of pause) and offers his thoughts on how best to consume the book (slowly and mindfully, allowing yourself to take in the teachings).

Each chapter begins with Haemin’s thoughts and reflections on the subject, usually involving a story or anecdote. Then there are digestible and soothing words of wisdom.

Rather than forcefully telling you what to do, these words encourage you to question, reflect and ponder, something I personally really appreciated.

Here are some of my favourite quotes…

“Don’t struggle to heal your wounds. Just pour time into your heart and wait. When your wounds are ready, they will heal on their own.”

“When you attack someone, it is often because you are afraid.”

“If someone looks perfect, then that is because you don’t know the person very well.”

“The more you know, the more you think you don’t. The more you don’t know, the more you think you do.”

“Your freedom is more important than money. It is better to live the kind of life you want than to earn more and be constrained. Don’t sell your freedom.”


Sitting on the sofa in our new place and taking the time to slow down and read these thoughtful words honestly did make a difference. 

Now I’ve read it cover to cover, I’ll leave it in our bedroom ready to dip back into whenever the need strikes. And in fact, today is one of those days. I’ve had a busy week at work and was in need of a slow day.

I slept in until 10, stayed in bed with coffee and toast then got up to do some yoga and meditation. I gave the flat a quick tidy, lit a candle, put some music on and am now pretty happily typing away.

When I’ve finished I’ll sink into a bath, put on a face mask and write in my journal. Then later this evening me and Dan will put a film on, get a take-away and revel in some more slowness.

If you can’t remember the last time you had a slow day, I strongly urge you to get one planned and if you like the sound of the book, I guarantee it’ll make a lovely slow day companion.

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Book review: The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down

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