Meditation – Eknath Easwaran 7

Meditation - Eknath Easwaran

‘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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Putting others first – To give up the ego, learn to love, widen the circle of love and mend estrangements.
  7. Spiritual Companionship– Spending time regularly with other spiritually inclined people for mutual inspiration and support.
  8. Spiritual Reading – Reading widely, deeply and drawing inspiration from the world’s greatest spiritual works and scriptures of all religions.

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  1. 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.
  2. The lucid, flowing style of Eknath Easwaran.
  3. The ability of the author to simplify and demystify things which are hidden within incomprehensible passages (of spiritual texts).
  4. 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.

Book Details:

Title Meditation: Commonsense Directions for an Uncommon Life
Amazon Paperback
Editor(s)/Author(s)/Illustrator(s)/Translator(s) Eknath Easwaran
Publisher Arkana

About Menaka S

Menaka is a computational linguist by education, an optimist by attitude and a dreamer by how she spends her time. Being left-brained, she runs PlusMinus'n'More to indulge her right brain interests.

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7 thoughts on “Meditation – Eknath Easwaran

  • Srividya

    Nicely written. Personally Points 4 and 5 are difficult for me. On and off I have tried meditation, but have given up. Reading this review makes me feel that I should start again. 🙂

    • Menaka S Post author

      We give up because the other so-called priorities take over. Moreover, the effect of meditation is not tangible.
      But then, over time, one tends to get a clarity of thought and purpose. I have realized this when I used to meditatte regularly.
      I had to take a temporary break because of my young son getting very curious about it. I hope to resume soon.
      But, more than the meditation, try the other points which also have meditative value. The first one that I would recommend is to slow down…
      Slow down. Read the chaptere on slowing down. How beautifully the author has expressed the need to slow down….

  • OO

    Meditation is something that I’ve tried, not very regularly, in the past. I still don’t know what meditation is and how it is done. It seems a lot of mumbo-jumbo (even leaving aside the religion part). The nearest understanding that I could get of it was – that it was some kind of auto-suggestion / self-hypnosis; I don’t know whether this is even right. The issue was that every other “guru” had his or her own definition of the term and process for doing it.

    Reading this review, I do realize some of the points I do practise, even without knowing that it is meditation. My take on the 8 common-sense directions to meditation:
    1. Hmm
    2. Makes a lot of sense and it does instill confidence.
    3. Unconsciously practising it – I’m already too slowed down for the likes of other people.
    4. I was never a multi-tasker so this makes a lot of sense.
    5. Um, uh, er …
    6. This I certainly do – ok, ok – I TRY to do.
    7 & 8 depends on what sort of company you currently keep and how you are influenced by them. I somehow find this too stifling.

    PS: Thanks for this post M – it gave me an occasion to evaluate and express myself. I hope others too share their thoughts / perspective on the above points.

    PS: I was wondering why I was kind of unsatisfied while reading this review. Now I get it – I was mixing up my own attitude (opinion) towards meditation and the way the review was written.

    • Menaka S Post author

      As to me,
      1. I have taken a temporary break from meditation.
      2. The mantram has indeed become a part of me.
      3. The toughest for me, I am trying and trying and trying…
      4. By nature, I am capable of one-pointed attention. In fact, it is very difficult to be focussed in today’s world as much as it is difficult to become focussed.
      5,6,7,8 – I think I am at this point in my journey.
      So, do I have half commonsense?

  • Anand Morab

    I read this book five years ago and started meditating right away. Then after I continued to mediate with hardly one or two days break in between. The results I got in my life are transformational in last five years. Out of eight practices I could not start Mantram and could not master one work at a time. Now I am searching for other practionars in Banglore to share our experiences and progress further in this practice. Any one interested to discuss on this topic please feel free to call me on my mobile 09886195935 or write to me on anandmorab(at) Thank you for reading my comment