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Pause, Breathe, Smile: Awakening Mindfulness When Meditation Is Not Enough
Gary Gach
Sounds True / Softcover / Sep 2018
9781683641759 (ISBN-10: 1683641752)
Mindfulness Meditation
price: $23.99 (may be subject to change)
216 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-6 business days

Pause . . . breathe . . . smile. Three small words, yet each contains a universe of wisdom. With Pause, Breathe, Smile, Gary Gach invites us to bring the practice of mindfulness into every moment of our lives.

Writing for students of all levels, Gach draws on 50-plus years of study and practice in this elegant and accessible presentation of three central aspects of mindful living. The Pause is about setting our intention before we think, speak, or act—the ethical dimension of mindfulness. When we Breathe we unite mind, body, and spirit, making every moment an opportunity for meditation. With a Smile, we open to a wisdom beyond words. This simple process will “water your innate seeds of awakening, to help you pave your own path to total fulfillment and peace.”

For all who may wish to explore mindfulness in their lives as a healing and transformative practice, remember three little words: Pause, Breathe, Smile.


"Both simple and profound, practical and inspiring, humorous and heart-opening, immediately useful and thoroughly comprehensive. Reading it feels like being with a wise old Zen master twinkling with the eyes of a young child. Such a sweet, wonderful book.” —Rick Hanson, PhD, author of the New York Times bestselling Buddha’s Brain, Hardwiring Happiness, and Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness

“A readable version of plain, sane goodness.” —Al Young, California Poet Laureate, author of Drowning in the Sea of Love

“Such a delightful approach to everyday mindfulness!” —Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness

“This book goes beyond anything I expected. It opened doors to simple, actionable practices that left me smiling for days while exposing deeper truths of the energy beneath. Gary’s unique prose pierces through the common layers of anxious spin, bringing me to a verdant vista of perspective and peace. I dare anyone not to widen their eyes with wonder.”?—Sean Fargo, founder of

“Pause Breathe Smile is the heart of Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness practice!” —Jerry Braza, PhD, author of Seeds of Love and Moment by Moment

“A lovely offering of wisdom, practices, and kindness to help foster a mindful life and a compassionate heart.” —Jack Kornfield, author of No Time Like the Present

“Clear and inviting, [this book is] perfect for beginners but also wonderful for more experienced practitioners looking for a refreshing review. A deeply enjoyable and inspiring read.” —Yael Shy, author of What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond

“Gary Gach offers us a sweet, often humorous, and always engaging presentation of an ancient spiritual discipline. Pause, Breathe, Smile gives us mindfulness as a universalist spiritual discipline. I recommend it.” —James Ishmael Ford, author of If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break and Zen Master Who?

“A delightful book! Gary Gach’s writing is wise, practical, playful, and encouraging. My mindfulness practice was reinvigorated and deepened in surprising ways as a result of Gary’s insights. Highly recommended!” —Daniel P. Coleman, author of Presence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community

“Stress at work? A technical meltdown? Having a bad day? Having a good day? Don’t know what to do today? Start with poet Gary Gach’s simple formula for returning to sanity and grace. What a fine and much-needed book, especially now. A lifetime of practice is folded into this elegant book. It is guaranteed to make you smile.” —Patricia Ryan Madson, author of Improv Wisdom

“Gary Gach’s life is his art. Reading this book will make you feel younger, wiser, and more fully yourself.” —Tim Desmond, author of Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy and Staying Human in a F*cked Up World

“So simple! So skillful! So necessary! Bravo to Gary Gach for penning this brilliant approach to mindfulness for all of us. I will be using it in my yoga and meditation classes, and taking its wisdom to heart in my own life and practice.” —Leza Lowitz, author of Yoga Poems, Up from the Sea, and Sacred Sanskrit Words

“Gach’s words are wise and go down easy, and his voice is as sweet and clear as the mindfulness bell itself. DELIGHTFUL.” —Wes Nisker, author of You Are Not Your Fault; Buddha’s Nature; and The Big Bang, The Buddha, and the Baby Boom

“Pause, Breathe, Smile is an invitation to witness, enjoy, and engage the wonders of life. Gach reveals how we can get in touch with our True Nature. Mindfulness does not need to be an intermittent part of our life. It is available to us every moment!” —Rich Lewis, author of Centering Prayer Journey

“A mindfulness manual, a twenty-first century theology, and especially a cure for most kinds of anxiety. Gach takes us literally beyond religion to gratitude, joy, and sanctity. Gach’s world is one filled with an all-pervading holiness and taking responsibility for one’s life. It is neither meditation nor religion but ‘present-ness,’ which we suspect is the goal of both.” —Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author of Eyes Remade for Wonder, The Book of Letters, The Book of Words, and Kaballah: A Love Story

“Pause, Breathe, Smile cuts through the pious distractions masquerading as needlessly complicated spiritual truth to invite you into the simple reality of All in all. Read this book slowly. Take time to pause and breathe. And when you do, you will smile as well.” —Rami Shapiro, author of Holy Rascals: Advice for Spiritual Revolutionaries

“Read this, and breathe
read this, and practice
read this, and love
read this, and awaken
—we will certainly be more awake, clear, and loving than before we started reading this book.” —Larry Yang, author of Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community

“A delight!” —Ted Meissner, host of The Secular Buddhist podcast

“What a wonderful offering.” —Peter Kuhn, jazz musician

About the Author:

Gary Gach is a writer, mystic, and lifelong meditator who has engaged in many roles: actor, bookshop clerk, dishwasher, hospital admin, office temp, stevedore, teacher, and typographer. Lay-ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2008, he has authored eight previous books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism (Alpha, 2001). Gary lives in San Francisco. For more, visit

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