Mindfulness is the latest fad – strictly in my personal opinion. When everyone on your social media starts talking about Keto Diet, mindfulness workshops or intermittent fasting, you know it is the latest fad that will last till the next one is invented and marketed well. However, when Vinay Dabholkar writes a book on the subject, I want to read it. He is not someone frivolous who follows the trends. I loved his earlier book on innovation – 8 Steps to Innovation, that was well researched and full of interesting anecdotes.
It is a small book that promised not to take too much of the reader’s time. I started reading and after a couple of chapters my first thoughts were – Vinay is watching too many films, TV shows, and YouTube videos. I had watched some of the films or shows he mentioned and tried watching a few shows as I read the book. But gave up too soon. I was worried if this is how the book is, I may not be able to read it till the end. Something that I have rarely done.
I left it to read other books. And picked up the book after a month or so. What I read after the break made sense, although it still said everything through the lens of a film story. Vinay makes his points about mindfulness through the characters and their reactions. Now, I think it is easy to pick up fictional characters for your reference rather than real ones as they can put you on a backfoot anytime.
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The 5th Chapter of the book – Watching the Dance of Necessities gripped me into the book. Everything before this was something I had heard from many spiritual gurus and had never seen it work for most people. People accept what they say out of respect and reverence but do not really gain anything out of it. In this chapter Vinay makes you think about your own biases that you carry in the form of how things ‘should be’. Just because we think this is how the world should be, how people should behave, we get angry or depressed or disturbed when things do not happen the way we expect.
It has not much to do with how the world is but more to do with how we expect it to be. His example of getting angry at the people breaking the queue really left a deep impression on me. It makes you realize the futility of many of your actions.
Here onwards I enjoyed the book. It would make me question what is bothering me? The world as it is or my expectation of how I expect it to be. Eventually, this is what Bhagwad Gita also tries to tell you. But not with contemporary examples.
The language of the book is soaked in the world of screens – be it a cinema screen, TV screen, computer or mobile screen. If by any chance you do not watch films, you may not understand many of the concepts. Although Vinay has done a good job of stating the context for those who have not watched the referred story. After I finished reading the book, I realized that since most of us these days watch screens more than we watch people and situations around us. It is the most relevant to pick examples when you want people to get in touch with themselves. Otherwise, it is an easy smooth read.
Read More – The Power of Slow by Christine Louise Hohlbaum
The cover is simple and very appropriate for the book on the subject of mindfulness. Though it never gives you a hint of colorful stories referred by the author. The author has referred to many great philosophers including J Krishnamurthy, Ramana Maharishi and many western philosophers. His narrative introduced me to many of them. And the fact that they have a series on YouTube or a podcast. I must say I am impressed by the amount of reading the author has done on the subject. I assume he has practiced all that he has spoken about. But I say that because I know the author and not because he has shared much of his own experiences.
Like any self-help or personality development book, it would be more relevant if you practice what is taught with discipline. Only reading can leave you ‘feeling good’. Or ‘thoughtful’ for a while. A feeling that would leave you as soon as you pick up the next book.
Take your call.