Mind Full to Mindful: Zen Wisdom from A Monk’s Bowl by Om Swami
During my virtual wanderings, I stumbled upon a Video by Om Swami. He looked too young to be a Swami. He spoke softly but with a heavy accent in English and his Hindi clearly told me his mother tongue is Punjabi. I listened to a few of his discourses on Lalita Sahasranam – a text that I love to chant. His videos took me to his website – which is quite aesthetically designed. I discovered that he is a fellow blogger. While browsing through his books page I realized I had one of his books Mind Full to Mindful in my library. Probably his publishers had sent it for review. This is how I picked up this book to read.
Mind Full to Mindful book is a simple collection of stories that we usually associate with Buddha and Zen Meditation. If you have been on the Internet long enough, you would have read most of them in form or the other. However, what I like about Om Swami is his simplicity. He does not complicate things for you. He basically tells you to keep your life simple and not make spirituality a goal that you have to chase.
Zen Wisdom from a Monk’s Bowl
To me, Zen is all about effortlessness – to live life as effortlessly as possible. Anything that we do with effort takes away the joy of doing it. For example, when I am writing my travel blog or when I am reading a book, hours pass by and I do not even realize it. That is effortlessness and that is what we need to get in everything we do. On Swami gives you a step by step simple zen techniques that you can use in your everyday life.
Every chapter has a story, a technique and some simple reminders like what to eat, to sleep well, to exercise and to stay happy and positive. The book is probably written based on some of the lectures that Om Swami has given. A lot of what he says comes from his own experience that lends an authenticity to what he says. Since he has spent time in the corporate world, he can relate to the challenges of urban India very well unlike many saints who have never really worked
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As a fellow blogger, I was amused to see that he faces the same challenges as I do. The pressure to write as per schedule, to meet the self-imposed deadline, your commitment to your readers and the will to deliver quality – I could relate to all this. I was literally laughing when he said the day I finish writing my blog early in the morning, I am light and happy throughout the day and the day I am pushing it to last minute I am grumpy. I have sometimes written in a zen-like state when words just flow and before you realize a perfect story is ready to meet your readers.
Then, there are times that you sit in front of the computer and all kinds of distractions keep gulping away my time and energy. I figured that working in the morning when the distractions are still sleeping works the best for me.
It is a simple book, written in a very simple step by step manner, with anecdotes and zen stories to illustrate the point being made. There are cartoons and illustrations, that adds a layer of ease to the narrative. The book Mind Full to Mindful and the author Om Swami never sound preachy.
Read it one chapter at a time. If possible practice what it says before reading the next one. Or, just read one chapter a day like I did. Like any self-help book, it reminds you of a lot of things that you know, but forget to practice. This book has a certain calm to it, it will definitely make you feel calmer.
I like the cover design of the book – a Naad Bindu, one of my favorite cosmic designs.
Other Self Help Books to Explore:
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – Discover Creative Self
- The Secret Letters of the Monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma
- The Power of Slow by Christine Louise Hohlbaum
- No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight by Rujuta Diwekar