|Open-Eyed Meditations, Shubha Vilas : Book review|
Open-eyed meditations is a beautiful compilation of thoughts wherein each meditation takes you on a journey to the past, bringing a secret herb to heal a problem in the present.
A true distillation of ancient wisdom tips for modern lives, this unique self-help book uses the wisdom of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to solve your everyday problems.
Beyond the storyline, something deeper is waiting to be discovered from these ancient texts. This book is an attempt to cover the hidden layer of wealth that is cleverly packaged within the common storylines.
About the Author
Shubha Vilas is a noted author, spiritual seeker, motivational speaker, lifestyle coach and, above all, a story teller par excellence. He holds an engineering degree and a law degree with a specialization in patent law.
My thoughts on the book
I have my deepest respect for the author and have known him through his previous writings which I have reviewed here and here
Needless to say that I am quite a fan of his spiritual writing and the essence in his story telling is brought out with such simplicity that you can instantly link it with your own personal experiences.
This book took me the longest time to read, just because it made me think and correct so many thought patterns. I had to take a good, hard look at myself and introspect every day that I read this book. It was definitely one of the best learning experiences because it was just me and the book, and my thoughts and memories.
The author has compiled a collection of various aspects of life, inspired by watching the world through the lenses of the vedic epics - The Mahabharata and the Ramayana. He deals with modern day problems that haunt today's generation, providing deep insights into the situation through a narrative from the ancient epics. At times, one feels one is stuck in an avalanche that seems to rapidly pull you down. In such circumstances, one looks for a helping hand to pull us up from spiraling down. This book teaches one to observe keenly and meditatively, to pause and reflect. For instance, the first chapter is based on the art of listening. Being in the profession of diagnosing, I have a formed habit of taking a person in, while they talk to me. We are taught in medical school on how to scan a person from head to toe, the minute they step into the consulting room. It took me by surprise, after reading, that this formed diagnosis without completely hearing the patient out, is quite damaging. And practising listening without coming to a conclusion leads to healthier interaction and fruitful communication. In today's day, we find that we do not get the kind of physical, emotional and mental space that we really need. I cherish how the author has written about the yoga of non intervention and how to maintain a healthy distance from those you really want to connect with.
It really is about how we allow and appreciate people for who they are and what is the requirement for creating exact replicas of everything? Each teaching experience in the book focuses on the essence of every topic and, finally, this essence is summarized in a box at the end of each chapter, pretty much like the foot-notes that were so special in his earlier publications.
Dealing with over analyzing certain things in life, he suggests that we disconnect from lower thought processes and all lower connections when trying to reach for higher goals in life. He gives us techniques to focus and move ahead in life by switching off everything below it. Decision making skills has been impressively dealt with in a chapter that brings forth several circumstances from the Mahabharata. With such lucid examples, you get to see what drives emotional decisions. Anxiety can truly make one decision-less.
There is a lovely chapter you must read called 'Spirituality at the workplace' which helps ones gauge a deeper understanding of the self and resist being moulded by peer pressure. The majority of us seek clarity
in many aspects of life. We keep searching, go through anxious days filled with pain, grieving over and procrastinating rather than taking determined action. So, what does the author suggest about motivation? Interestingly he says, 'Discover your likes and motivation will discover you.' Doesn't that sound like an exciting journey to venture on? As you keep turning pages and I really turned the pages real slow because I had to absorb all this tremendous wisdom, chew up on the pearls that were all over the pages and you can't believe how simple the logic is and yet we lose track and sight of the self.
Several topics like being in service to your surroundings, dealing with emotions like anger and jealousy, how to overcome fear, perfectionism, trained intelligence to deal with a hurt heart, how to deal with negativity and feeling hurt by ones you love the most are dealt with in such a simple way that you need to read and re-read to let it all sink in.
I adore this teaching from the book and I apply it to all my loved ones and I must quote this for them,
'The bond that relates two individuals may be that of blood, but the bond that actually connects two individuals is that of respectful love.'
I have to say this book kept picking me up from the morose of all of this month- October, you have been a hard teacher. People make our lives hard but what makes it harder is the way one's mind deals with situations and negative people. When you are under siege, you feel that you are drowning and I felt a mental check with each and every line I read from here and has given me more intense and deeper internal dialogues with my self. Let me go ahead and quote some of my favorite parts of this beautiful book and you can go ahead and read the rest in the book itself.
"Appreciate and accept people the way they are while simultaneously allowing us to remain at peace in the way we are."
"Analysis leads to clarity but overanalysis leads to garbled thinking."
"Do not expect immediate solution to all problems. Many problems do not need to be solved. They need to be tolerated. This is called Delayed Management.'
"Analysis boosts action, overanalysis causes paralysis."
"Discover your likes and stay motivated for life."
"A mind that is focused on many things is focused on nothing."
"Negative experiences cannot hurt a person unless he allows them to seep into his mind."
"True love is respect inspite of shortcomings."
"Fear is the outcome of resisting change that challenges what you guard the most. To the degree one is willing to let go, to that degree fear loses it's power. "
There are also several chapters on leadership and management. There is a lot of complexity put into the writing and brought out in a very simple format that even to the untrained mind, this looks like a gift of solutions put in such simple chapters. I clearly applaud the author for his sheer emotional brilliance and bringing it all out with his effective story telling. For me, this is by far my absolute favorite work by Shubha Vilas. The chapters are short and precise. The book piques the interest of the reader with current topics for both the youth and elderly. This is practical knowledge which doesn't require any tools to understand. All it requires is a shift in your basic mind set and your time. It will take practice and in depth ruminating to alter and adjust your set mind patterns. Kudos to the author and looking forward to many such learning experiences.
Wrote by Coral crue