Book Review: Silence your mind – Ramesh Manocha M.D.
I found this book to be a fantastic read – informative, practical, thought provoking.
The cover is a tad misleading about the contents of the book – “The new, scientifically proven approach to meditation that will enhance your wellbeing & performance – in just 10 minutes a day” to me this makes it seem like the entire book focuses on how you can meditate, and on a “revolutionary NEW approach” when in reality the meditation approach the book describes covers only a few pages in the entire book and is based on a very old ancient form of meditation – Sahaja Yoga.
The bulk of the book covers meditation research – it clears up the mystery of what ‘real meditation is’, it explores meditation from its earliest descriptions in Ancient Eastern texts and other early writings, it looks at the western view compared to the eastern view, it explores the many ways that meditation can help people of all ages and all walks of life with examples of how it helps reduce and cure illnesses and conditions such as epilepsy, depression and ADHD and includes many case studies, research experiments and testimonials.
Particularly interesting was the discussion of the common Western View towards meditation – this is (according to our dictionaries for example) usually considered as “thinking really deeply about one thing” or “concentrating really hard.” Or, on the other hand it is considered simply ‘relaxing.’ This is a far cry from the Eastern view of meditation which is about finding a silence space between thoughts and staying in that state – not thinking about anything. The book features a number of scientific comparisons between meditation and meditation this is really just ‘relaxation’ in terms of results such as stress reduction etc. clearly showing they are not one and the same. There is also the western view that has sprung up from Descartes famous words “Cogito ergo sum” I think therefore I am. This has influenced the notion that if we stop thinking we are less human and we can see the impact and value that ‘thinking’ has through our education system. There is a fear in some people of not thinking, that this will make us less intelligent, lose ourselves etc. Nothing could be further from the truth – letting the mind control us will keep us from realising our true selves.
Another particular aspect of interest was the chapter about “Flow” or the state of being “In the Zone” which is common talk in the West mainly in regards to elite athletes and sports people. This is that space where we become completely immersed in a task so much so that we are not distracted by external factors or internal factors such as thoughts or emotions. This is sort of something we are obsessed with obtaining in peak performances and is the direct counterpart to the Eastern “silence of the mind” meditation and shows that all humans seem to be striving for this optimal state of being. We are all pursuing happiness but more importantly, the author writes, rather than being overly concerned with achieving happiness we should be primarily concerned with achieving flow. “From flow and peak experiences positive moods and feelings naturally follow within the context of a fruitful and productive life.”
It is refreshing to have a science based cover of such a spiritual topic. All this research is important in helping us balance the left and right sides of our brains, in helping our society understand what it is to be human to reach optimal state of being and to harness an important tool to help us navigate our earthly existence and go beyond.
If you don’t feel like reading the book you can also find a wealth of information for free from http://www.beyondthemind.com/
“It is useful to understand that it is not that you do meditation; rather, there is an energy of meditation within you, a mechanism or ability that needs to be awakened in order for you to experience it. ….”
“You are not your problems.
You are not the things you own.
You are not your body any more than you are the clothes that hang on it.
You are not your career, your achievements, nor your failures.
You are not even your thoughts, memories or emotions.
You are something beyond all of these things, beyond the mind.
You are the infinite silence that is hidden in the space between each thought.
When you silence your mind, you will find yourself,
In the eternal present moment, the pure awareness, reality and joy,
The self itself.
This is true meditation.”
– Ramesh Manocha