As 2020 came in, I wanted to read 48 books. Huh, whats that number? Discount 4 weeks for my laziness out of 52 weeks the year brings, we end up with 48 🙂 So, this is the first book I’ve finished in 2020 – on Jan 29th. This book was recommended to me by my boss at last company. While we struggled and worked hard, he & me had weirdly philosophical conversations at midnights at work, in cabs when he dropped me back home and in the cafetarias early in the mornings, in the midst of all the chaos. When we caught up after almost two years, I embarrassingly told him I did nothing that was planned when I quit the job. Instead, I was barely managing as a housewife. I knew he was always upto something, and philosophy and psychology was on the top of his list also. He said he was reading and doing a course, and plans to do counselling later this year. As someone who almost enrolled into a course, and then stopped due to dissuading friends and family – I was immediately intrigued by what he was reading. I got the list, and this is the book coming from his recommendation. So, it was quite a heavy read for me, and I am glad I finished it. So, what is it all about?
As the book says, it outlines principles of practical psychology. To be fair, the book has done an excellent job of detailing western and eastern philosophy. It starts off describing the Philosophy of West, and then covering all the major 20th century people like Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and Abraham Maslow. Coming to Eastern Philosophy, the yogic or vedic way of philosophy didnt get much space but Buddhism and his philosophy of balance and problem solving has been detailed in leisure. Coming from East, buddhist way of life was new to me too, and I really enjoyed understanding it.
And then the book now progresses to the science behind psychology – Brain and Brain waves. All the internal organs of brain, and how they engage with each other to provide feedback on the action all that’s going on. I’ve read quite few books on psychology and this was nothing new.
The best section of the book was next, where the author Erik takes us through the concept of Spirit and how various scientists, psychologists have tried to answer that. One particular concept stuck with me as I am done reading is the Triangular concept of That, We and I. Spirit is said to be indestructible, and it manifests itself into everything, individually complete and yet part of a bigger whole. The human body is the biggest sense-making formation for a Spirit, and how people recognize it is in three distinct phases – 1. That. Here, Spirit is distinct from the person and he kinda worships the Spirit. 2. We Phase, where the Spirit is able to detect itself through the sentinent consciousness of a human being, who has the capability to perceive Spirit’s manifestation in any object, interior or exterior. 3. I phase. When the individual becomes so immersed in God that through the realization of theosis, his personal identity is subsumed into that of God , resulting in first person experience of God. A lot of other interesting theories such as Geometry and Mandala based consciousness, prenatal to post formal thinking evolution are described – pretty raw theory to digest but gives a lot to ponder upon.
The last section is the most practical of all, and covers a whole range of topics. As the author explains flight, freeze or flight modes of operation and then he moves on to explain States – High-Value State ( Strength), Center-Value State, and Low-Value State(Fight, Flight or Freeze). One of the best theories proposed here is the pyramid of human needs. Although it’s not written in stone, it pretty much answers why people behave or do not pursue things the same way.
The another simple-yet-overlooked theory that the book asserts is that, there are two ways to mend a situation. One, change the reality. Second, change the belief about the reality. By changing either one of them, the person experiencing the pain will get the solution. The book details strategies for State, thought and focus. Pretty practical and doable. And then it ends with a summary of Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People to explain the Strategies for Relationships. Easy to read, hard to implement.
What’s my biggest takeaway from this book? I have long nurtured this question on why everyone does not worry or think the same things. Why are some people more resilient then others? Why are people more worried about the dirty vessels in the sink than the purpose of life? This book helped me to understand why. Simply because until your needs at a lower state have to be completely met before we move to a higher state. For someone in a bad relationship, their progress ends there – and a lot of energy is spent in sustaining that relationship. Second, is that changing subjective belief about something is as powerful as changing objective reality around you. Definitely doable. Thirdly, I’ve always struggled with people who absolutely are rigid and are not open to alternate view points at all. After multiple failed attempts, I now nurture the thought to avoid any kind of conversation or confrontation with them. The book also affirms that, the best way to win an argument is to avoid one. I’d tweak a little and say, the best way to win an argument is to only argue with the ones who have the ability to. Rest, just let it be.
The last section is useful for every person who lives in a society and has to deal with humans day in and day out. Starts off well, runs really dry in between and ends with some practical dadi ma ke nuske on how to deal with life.
Rating – 8/10
Have a good day and keep rocking!