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If there is one book which I referred to everyone I spoke to since I read it, it is Untethered soul. The book has a soul which moves your soul to do what is the need of the hour. I read so many books on spirituality and awareness but no other book could convince me the need for meditation as much as this book did. It is one of the best reads of 2020. You may find the concept repetitive but it is just to drive home the point. The analogies Singer uses makes the concepts imprinted in your mind for future retrieval.
Ch1 The voice inside your head
When energy builds up inside, you want to do something about it. When you talk, that energy gets released.
Ch 2 Your inner roommate
The inner roommate keeps chattering all the time. No solution is possible if you are lost in the energy of the problem. “Who sees this? Who notices the inner disturbance” Asking these questions is the solution to your every problem.
Ch3 Who are you?
Exploring the question “Who am I?” helps you go deeper inside.
Ch4 The Lucid self
Our awareness is constantly lost in the objects around us. Whenever you want to recenter, say hello to the inside world and listen to the voice
Ch5 Infinite energy
There is infinite energy available. Food doesn’t help much when you are mentally and emotionally drained. But when you are in love, you have unlimited energy and you are never tired. To unlock this unlimited energy all the time, you need to be open and receptive. You block your heart to situations based on your previous experiences but that is just cutting you from your source of energy but not really protecting you.
Ch6 The secrets of spiritual heart
When you keep closing your heart, you start storing energy patterns called samskaras. Once they fill up, it will lead to a state of depression.
Ch7 Transcending the tendency to close
The more you protect yourself, there is little spontaneous joy and excitement. When you start watching your thoughts and stop blocking your heart, the real spiritual growth happens and you feel the change in energy levels
Ch8 Let go now or fall
Life gives you problems to grow. If you start protecting yourself from problems, they will get tougher. If you let go in the beginning, a growth happens and it doesn’t reoccur.
Ch9 Removing your inner thorn
When you have an insecurity inside you and you avoid situations which will activate them will not help in your growth. When it gets activated, notice it like a third person.
Ch10 Stealing freedom from your soul
Mind always tells you that you need to change the outside world to fix your inner problems. Relieve the mind from its job of fixing the outside world for you. When it tells you to do something, don’t participate in the conversation.
Ch11 Pain, the price of freedom
Change involves challenging what is familiar to us and daring to question our traditional needs for safety, comfort and control.
Ch12 Taking down the walls
The more you sit in the seat of witness, the more you feel independent.
Ch 13 Far, far beyond
To go beyond, you must keep going past the limits that you put on things. Your mental model bothers you, because it doesn’t incorporate reality. When you stop doing things which make you comfortable, you see why you are doing them. There are two ways you can live: you can devote your life to staying in your comfort zone, or you can work on your freedom
Ch 14 – Letting go of false solidity
Clinging creates the bricks and mortar with which we build a conceptual self. If you stop clinging, you will see why the tendency to cling was there.
Ch 15 – The path of unconditional happiness
In life, there is only one choice to make – Do you want to be happy? But we often confuse this with external conditions. The question really means is “Do you want to be happy irrespective of whatever happens?” Any condition you create will limit your happiness.
Ch 16 – The spiritual path of nonresistance
Stress only happens when you resist life’s events. You are generally using will to resist – that which has already happened or which hasn’t happened yet
Ch17 – Contemplating death
You don’t need more time before death. Live every moment of you life and let it fill you completely
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Thich Nhat Hanh books give me a sense of peace just by reading. That was the only selling point of this book for me. I picked this book for understanding how to adopt mindful walking into my life. But the book did not have any real tips.
The book has a similar structure of ‘how to sit’. It is an easy read but reading it in one go defeats the purpose of the book. The best way to read this book is to read only one chapter a day to remind or motivate yourself to walk mindful daily. The book has a few anecdotes which get stuck in your head and push you to adopt mindful walking.
- The first thing to do is lift your foot. Breathe in. Put your foot down, first your heel then your toes. Then breathe out.
- When we return to our breathing, we return to the present which is our home.
- Every time we take a step, we appreciate the solid earth underneath us
- When we walk with others, the collective energy of mindfulness we generate is very powerful
- Make a contract with staircase and walk mindfully whenever you walk on those stairs
- Most of us walk without any chains, yet we aren’t free
July had been more about my professional life than about my personal life. I found it hard to strike a balance between the both. I was spending my free time also studying the concepts related to work. The initial struggle of doing things which are beyond your current capacity is sort of more intimidating than exciting. But this struggle goes on till I bring the level to challenging and only a bit outside my comfort zone.
Review of July
The major plan for July included doing Anulom Vilom daily after Kapalbhati. But in reality, I was running short of time after kapalbhati and was not really able to do anulom vilom right after that. So I moved this routine to night time just before sleeping. I did around 60 minutes of anulom vilom over the entire month which was much lower than what I had in mind. But since that set a baseline, this month, I am going to target 120 minutes of anulom vilom.
I instead attended gita classes for a few days but they turned out more about chanting hare rama hare krishna than learning the essence of gita. I had to pause it and get back to the book where I just went through the introduction and first chapter. I am afraid if the book is really helpful because it emphasises more on bhakti yoga for which I am not really ready yet.
In July, my reading list was E-squared, Headspace guide to meditation, Prana and pranayama, The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Miracle of mindfulness, What your clutter is trying to tell you, Tiny Habits, Biology of belief.
Completed a few and a few are still in progress. I will start publishing the book reviews soon.
- I started writing in my gratitude diary that today is a new day with new opportunities. That sort of helped me deal with a crisis in work and helped me set the day on a positive tone.
- I extended my gratitude diary to the night to write about the things I am grateful for in the day
- I also started writing my goals (mostly the big ones) as I read that writing down your goals helps you look for opportunities to achieve them
- I started meditating twice a day and extended mindfulness into daily routines. Looking forward to experiencing visible changes with this extended mindfulness practice.
- I started keeping my phone inside the locker during working hours which has reduced the number of times I unlock the phone to half. This has not only reduced the mindless browsing and scrolling but also helped in spending the time in focusing on my breath
- I started learning badminton. For now, I have learnt only wrist movements.
Plans for August
As a part of my mindfulness practices, I want to focus on mindful walking next. I am always on the run. My friends often say that it is very difficult to walk at my speed. Now, if I reduce the speed of my footsteps, I can slow down the speed of my thoughts.
To make this a habit, I will start with 10 mindful steps every morning. From the time I wake up from bed till I reach the bathroom, I will take mindful steps, breathing in and breathing out. In a day, when I stay at home, I walk around 4000 steps. In the beginning, converting everything to mindful steps might overwhelm me. So I will increase it by 20 steps every week. If I am able to do more, that is great. But the aim is to have the smallest number of steps to start with.
2.Thank you Notebook
For every person I have known so far, I will write a note in my personal notebook on why I am grateful for whatever they did for me. At the same time, I write a note why I should forgive the differences if there are any. This exercise is similar to what I planned last time but this time, I won’t be sending out any messages.That way, I will not hesitate to write down.
I will do this exercise before my night gratitude exercise.
How was your July? What are your plans for August?