“Think Like A Monk,” was one of those books that I pre-ordered. It was because I had heard the author discuss it on a podcast. Have I confessed yet that I am a podcast junkie almost as much as I am a book junkie? The author, Jay Shetty seems like someone you would like as a friend.
The book is about life from the perspective of someone who has been a Monk and lived to tell about it. Yes, he survived all that meditation and silence. The other thing that makes this book so interesting is that he was an Indian Monk. Not a Catholic Franciscan or a Buddhist Monk. There are lots of books from them.
Early in the book, Shetty spends some time discussing values. He draws some pictures for those that are visual to help make his point.
He says to look at your past values and gives you a little exercise. He says, “Reflect on the three worst choices you’ve ever made. Why did you make them? What have you learned? How would you have done it differently?” I found that exercise to be enlightening and I go back often to look at my notes at the bottom of the page.
He also suggests that you watch where you spend your money because that will tell you a lot about what you value.
Negativity, Fear, and Intention
These are three whole chapters in the book. There is a lot in there so of course, you should read it. One of the best things he discusses is what he calls, “Spot, Stop and Swap.” You spot a negative thought. Stop to understand what it is and then Swap in a new way of processing.
He says he learned to let go of his fear of fear when he was a monk. He goes on to say we fear the wrong things and it causes us to miss opportunities. Shetty tells the story of “Biosphere 2” in Arizona. It was a sealed environment so no wind. The planted trees and the trees eventually just fell over, because normally the rots would go deep and get stronger in response to the wind, but there was no wind. His point is that adversity helps us grow stronger and that we need to get out of our “self-made Biospheres.”
“Intention,” is all about goals. “Fear desire, duty, and love are the roots of all intentions.” When you have a want ask yourself why seven times. I had read this before. Once you get to number seven you have probably found your real why.
Purpose or Dharma
“Dharma is using this natural inclination, the things you’re good at, your thrive mode, to serve others.” Shetty says “Passion + Expertise + Usefulness = Dharma. One of the things he says I really liked was that “My limitations make space for the gifts of other people.”
One approach to this that he suggests is that many should focus on looking “for opportunities to do what you love in the life you already have.”
Failure and Success
Shetty says, “ Humility comes from accepting where you are without seeing it as a reflection of who you are. Then you can use your imagination to find success.” “…soliciting, evaluating, and responding to feedback will increase your confidence and self-awareness.”
“You shouldn’t feel small compared to others, but you should feel small compared to your goals.” I don’t know about you but that inspires me!
The author has a unique way that he explains the importance of service. I don’t think I have ever seen or heard it said with such an impact.
He says that “The highest purpose is to live in service.” He goes on to say, “service connects us, service amplifies our gratitude, service increases compassion and service builds self-esteem.” Well said. He urges us to “serve the pain that you know best.” Finally, “Service is the direct path to a meaning full life.” So there you have it! Think Like A Monk!