‘Meditation: Commonsense Directions for an Uncommon Life’ by Eknath Easwaran, is one of the top books in my handy reference list.
The effect of this book on me started about seven to eight years back. On one of those days when I was in my most vulnerable state, I happened to read it and it made an impression. Since then, this book has become my turn-to book at times of distress. In this book, Eknath Easwaran, in his inimitable style, has given an eight-point program for a better life.
I had been meditating even before reading this book. So, I cannot say that this book helped me discover meditation. Along with meditation, listed as the first point or first commonsense direction, the points 2, 3 and 4 (listed below) have helped me immensely.
- Meditation on a passage – Passage meditation is a new method of meditation found by the author, wherein one meditates on inspirational passages from all religions of the world.
- Repetition of the Mantram – A beautiful concept that the author talks about – a personal mantram. It has worked wonders not only for me, but also for my daughter. There are several instances when I was able to calm her anxious mind, by asking her to chant her mantram.
- Slowing down – In my opinion, the best, the toughest and the most important point of the eight points is slowing down. As a person who thinks “now is better than next minute”, slowing down has been difficult for me. Everytime I read this book, this is a point which impresses me and I consciously try to slow down for a few days. It has definitely helped me reduce stress.
- One-pointed Attention – In today’s world, multiple things are vying for our attention all the time. Distractions are aplenty. One-pointed attention is focussing. Focus is a beautiful word, a necessary ability to develop. Giving full concentration to the matter in hand is one-pointed attention.
- Training the senses – Can we train our senses to overcome conditioned habits, the power of thoughts and how important it is to select our entertainment? This point aligns with our goal to choose entertainment that will enhance our lives.
- Putting others first – To give up the ego, learn to love, widen the circle of love and mend estrangements.
- Spiritual Companionship– Spending time regularly with other spiritually inclined people for mutual inspiration and support.
- Spiritual Reading – Reading widely, deeply and drawing inspiration from the world’s greatest spiritual works and scriptures of all religions.
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- I am not very religiously inclined. Nor was I spiritually inclined, because up to a certain point in my life I thought that spirituality was only about religion. Any book splattered with Sanskrit passages puts me off. So, it was an eureka moment to find a book on spirituality with minimal religion.
- The lucid, flowing style of Eknath Easwaran.
- The ability of the author to simplify and demystify things which are
hidden within incomprehensible passages (of spiritual texts).
- His use of apt analogies to illustrate a point. I particularly liked his analogy of the elephant trunk to the human mind:
The human mind is rather like the trunk of an elephant. It never rests… – it goes here, there, ceaselessly moving through sensations, images, thoughts, hopes, regrets, impulses. Occasionally it does solve a problem or make necessary plans, but most of the time it wanders at large, simply because we do not know how to keep it quiet or profitably engaged.
I shall not list any takeaways because the entire book is a takeaway.
The book is available online in the author’s website. I recommend this as a lifestyle manual for all. You can read it online to get convinced of it.
A simple, commonsense guide to a better life.
|Title||Meditation: Commonsense Directions for an Uncommon Life