Recipe for healthy mental pudding

Updated: May 10, 2020, 08:49 IST | Jane Borges | Mumbai

Bestselling writer and mystic Om Swami's new self-help book provides insights into situations that we have zero control over, and we think it's perfect to browse now

The lockdown, if anything, tends to make you more introspective—about life, people, and all the experiences that you've had, could have had or couldn't. So much so, that this writer, in the last few weeks, has often felt bogged down by these thoughts. Blame it on having too much time, or too little human contact, but everyone has suddenly become a thinker.

A new book by mystic Om Swami, The Big Questions of Life (HarperCollins India), might then, just be the guide you need to ease through this period of isolation. We must admit it's only recently that we've warmed to self-help books. Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life and The Book of Ichigo Ichie were game-changers, for us. Om Swami's book is not very different.

Om Swami has previously authored bestsellers like Mind Full to Mindful: Zen Wisdom from a Monk's Bowl  and The Book of Kindness: How to Make Others Happy and Be Happy Yourself
Om Swami has previously authored bestsellers like Mind Full to Mindful: Zen Wisdom from a Monk's Bowl and The Book of Kindness: How to Make Others Happy and Be Happy Yourself

This easy-to-read 200-pager offers deep insights into situations and experiences that one has zero control over, and how to overcome them. It's timely because this extended quarantine period, which none of us saw coming, has left several of us feeling vulnerable, precisely because we no longer feel in control of our lives.

Yes, there might not be any direct answers to what we are experiencing now, but Om Swami touches on issues of pain, solitude, tearing thoughts, suffering and most importantly, the need to be present in the moment, and make the most of it.

The book is split into four parts—samsara (the cycle of death and birth), loneliness, self and awakening. In each section, there are significant questions thrown at us, and Om Swami employs lessons from Buddhas teachings, Hindu mythology as well as history, to make these answers known. The loneliness section felt most apt, in light of the current situation. "It's [loneliness] a blessing, if you can harness it and be inspired while revelling in it. If not, it is the root cause of persistent restlessness and emptiness. It makes you feel everything is out of place and that you are not complete as an individual," shares Om Swami. He suggests that in times of loneliness, one should focus on "intense awareness" of every tiny little thought that they are feeling, rather than try and fill the vacuum. Doing this, he says, will lead us to the path of nirvana. We can also, all do with his recipe of a pudding for mental and spiritual health: one cup compassion, half a cup meditation, three cups gratitude, four cups of purpose and kind words each, and charity, as per taste. If your cooking time, lasts a lifetime, it will be enough to serve the whole world.

To buy: (Rs 183/Kindle price)

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