Thoughts on: Inner Engineering by Sadhguru

Sadhguru book is unsatisfying for the rational mind. Even the part that is suppose to be pragmatic are often fussy and vague. In exercises he asks the reader to do all kinds of experiments; watching a dripping crane for an hour, observe nature, bow to objects and “just see what happens”.

Of couse the rational mind doesn’t have the leading role here. Sadhguru points out the unbalanced focus on the mind in society. What about the body, energies? Aligning all these components is the highest aim of yoga.


📝 “Don’t simply believe what you are reading. The only way to find out whether something is true or untrue is to experiment with it.”

📝 “It’s only people who think too much who cannot eat and sleep properly!”

📝 “Resentment, anger, jealousy, pain, hurt, and depression are poison that YOU drink but expect someone else to die.”

📝 “To reduce a sophisticated science, like yoga, to a mere doctrine is just as tragic as turning it into a cardiovascular workout.” BUT “Even if you get into yoga for the wrong reasons, it still works!”. Haha, This is how it was for me. I started going to the lunch yoga at work for gaining flexibility, now the practice itself is the goal.

📝 “If you still believe that everything will be okay the moment you find a new girlfriend or boyfriend, get a raise, buy a new house or car, then it’s not time for yoga. Once you’ve tried all those things and more, and clearly know that none of it will be enough—then you are ready. So now, yoga.”


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

This book really hammered home the energy and body connection and got me looking into fixing my body. After years and running and lifting (and tons of injuries) I’ve realized the monumental importance of a solid foundation. I’m so stiff I can’t even reach my toes or sit in a squat. “You can’t inject blood in a frozen steak.” to quote @davidgoggins . I’m fixing that now with a daily stretching routine (32 consecutive days so far!)


⚖️ VERDICT:

The book didn’t grab the way I expected, and often exceeded my limits for open mindedness, but there is still more gems in there than can fit an Insta post. My favorite book in the genre is still A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle 👌🏻👌🏻

3/5

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Lab Report: 60-Days of Non-Resistance

Current situation: children, crying, shit everywhere (literally and figuratively speaking), irregular sleep, a constant stream of contingencies and emergencies. It’s a lovely mess! BUT it can be frustrating at times. Condition are perfect for a new experiment.


The Lab Report – 009 – “60 days of Non Resistance”

Non-resistance is about letting things unfold as they do. Life is a mess. Instead getting frustrated by trying to control people and situations we can accept things to be as they inevitably are.

To offer no resistance to life makes you feel light and at ease— at least that’s the theory! Let’s look at the results!


Short term effects: ⭐️

– I was going to do this experiment for a month, but it took me a month just to get in the habit of catching myself in my resistance. Usually I realized what had happened only in hindsight.


Long term effects: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– My close relationships have improved.

– It feel pretty good to be able to stay in control when the storm comes.

– It’s still unknown to me how I’m able to handle bigger setbacks since only minor one occurred during the test period.

– Stress levels has gone down.


Sustainability: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– How long it takes to build a habit of non resistance might differ depending on you life situation. You might or might not have a life situation where you have a lot of opportunity to practice.


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– A few days ago my wife complemented me on how patient and helpful I’ve been recently and how it had really made a difference during these first chaotic months with a newborn (she doesn’t know about the experiment (I think!).

– I actually kept productivity up during this experiment. I thought not forcing and resisting life would lead to less productivity.

– I’ll continue this going forward.


Related reading:

📖 A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle 📖

📖 The Bhagadvad Gita 📖


How do you handle the twists and turns of life? 🤔

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Thoughts on: “The Wisdom of Insecurity” by Alan Watts

I’m focusing on notes this time around!

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Watts does a really great job at explaining ideas that seem to be at the core of most religious and spiritual teachings.

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📝 The Law of Reversed Effort. ”When you try to stay on the surface of water, you sink; but when you try to sink you float. When you hold your breath, you lose it— which immediately calls to mind an ancient and much neglected saying, “Whosoever would save his soul shall lose it.”

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📝 There is a contradiction between the desire of being secure and fact of change. We want to be separate from the life of flux and change to feel secure and that, paradoxically, create the sense of loneliness and fear. “The desire for security and the fear of insecurity are the same thing”.

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📝 “You want to escape the pain, but the more you struggle to escape, the more you inflame the agony”.

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📝 “Look!”

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📝 Money is as a token for wealth. “In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are “coins” for real things”. They represent them but are not those things. Words are fixed while what they represent change.

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📝 “When each moment becomes an expectation life is deprived of fulfillment, and death is dreaded for it seems that here expectations must come to an end”.

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📝 “So long as there is the motive to become something, so long as the mind believes in the possibility of escape from what is at this moment, there can be no freedom”.

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🤯 Is the brain really good for us? Or is it taking on a destructive evolutionary specialization by our focus on trying to predict the future?

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⚖️ This book is a given in the library of the spiritually minded reader, alongside modern classics like the works of Eckhart Tolles, and timeless classic like Bhagavad Gita and Tao Te Ching.

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5/5

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Thoughts on: “Tao te Ching” by Lao Tsu

I can see a possible scenario in the future, where I’m a greying old man, and I praise this book as profound and monumental. But let’s face it, It did not do much for me right now.

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I enjoyed it quite a bit and something tells me this book is special, but I don’t feel I have access to all its layers yet. It feel pointless to put a number on a book like this and therefore I won’t.

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The book is lightweight with it’s 81 aphorisms of Chinese wisdom – most of which doesn’t even cover half a page in the book. But it demands reflection. ——

📝 The oldest version excavated was dated back to 400 years BC.

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📝 “The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”

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📝”A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”

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📝 ”To understand the limitation of things, desire them.”

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⭐️ Takeaway:

Non-Attachment, non-Judgment and non-Resistance. We have heard it all before. These principles are easy to understand intellectually but so hard to master.

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My current plan is to get more editions (with different annotations) of Tao te Ching and keep going back to it every other year or so.

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What’s your relationship to this book?

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?/5

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Thoughts on: “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Maté

Dr. Gabors is specialized in the study and treatment of addiction. His book offers portraits of his patient lives, stories about his own addictive behaviors, it examines the causes behind addiction and it breaks down the path to recovery.

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He opposes the weight that’s been put on the genetic component of addiction and points at stresses in early childhood (even pre-natal stresses) as the main risk factor. He is a big proponent of more compassion in society’s view of addicts and explains the futility of the “war on drugs”.

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An excellent introduction to the complex problem of addiction!

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📝 “As a rule, whatever we don’t deal with in our lives we pass on to our children” -Our unfinished emotional business becomes theirs.

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📝 Addiction = Fear of emptiness.

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📝 Proximal separation: Physically there but mentally absent when parenting. Children experiencing this look to use external couping mechanisms like thumb sucking or tuning out. These kids have great chances of seeking refuge in drugs later on in life.

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📝 Gabors recommends the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and the book Rosenberg’s book “Non-violent Communication” (I just got it!)

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📝 Circumstances for brain development differs. Some have had positive experiences that others have been deprived of. Think about this before you judge.

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📝 Parents, and mothers in particular, are getting less and less of the suppport they need during their children’s early years. This is a cultural breakdown of cataclysmical scale. Therefore the raise in adhd.

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📝 “All problems are psychological, but all solutions are spiritual”

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📝 “Only healthy nurturing relationships with adults will prevent kids from getting lost in the peer world. A loss of orientation that leads rapidly to drug use.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Regardless of your degree of addiction or whether your drug of choice is heroin, TV, food or shopping – reading the stories and research presented in this book will help to shine a light on your own addictive tendencies.

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My struggles have been with nicotine and refined carbohydrates. What’s your addictions? 🤔😀

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PS: The audiobook version of this book is excellent!

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5/5

Photo credit: @darcy_renea_lalimo (Instagram)

 

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Thoughts on: “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn

What does the expression “Wherever you go, there you are” point towards?

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Wherever you travel you always bring yourself with you. It’s easy to think that with a new job at a new company will finally make you happy. A few months later, after scoring that new job, you start to think: “if only I could escape this small town and move to a big city, then I will be happy.

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Believing that external circumstances will bring inner peace is a trap. You will re-live the same pattern over and over again til you die. OR you start to appreciate where you are right now, come to terms with yourself, and surrender to the present moment. When we are fully present, the world in which we live becomes extraordinary.

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I’m have definitely not mastered this myself, but I think I have caught glimpses of it, and I believe these yogi people might be on to something!

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📝 “So at the beginning, you might want to stay with your breath, or use it as an anchor to bring you back when you are carried away. Try it for a few years and see what happens”

Quite a different timeline from the “10-min abs” and “get rich quick”-schemes you see everywhere! 😎

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📝 In ancient times, when it got dark people gathered by the fires. There was not enough light to continue doing stuff and we got a natural break for stillness. Today we don’t have to be limited by daylight and we can be kept busy 24-7.

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📝 “The joy of non-doing is that nothing else needs to happen for this moment to be complete”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

“Going to 10 day meditation retreats might not be a big deal for some, but when you decide to start a family it gets harder.”

See the children as your practice and teachers! They will test your mindfulness and selflessness and push all your limits. It’s like a 18 year retreat!

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This is a great book for inspiring the already initiated, but there are better alternatives for people not yet familiar with the topic of mindfulness and meditation . Eckhart Tolles “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” will teach you the same concepts, but in a more powerful way in my opinion.

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3/5

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I don’t know if this makes (Z)ense?


When I read books on very esoteric/unusual topics it feels like its pretty hard to review them after just one read. These books are usually pretty condensed and each sentence by itself needs some reflection. 

In an attempt to remedy this I’m reading (in this case listening) the book several times before I review it. Now I’m on my third round of “Zen mind, Beginners mind” which filled with complex ideas and zen paradoxes. Let’s see how that works! 

My first finding from doing this is that it feels like peeling an onion. With every rereading I find another layer of understanding. I wonder how many layers there are!