Tag: Books (Page 5 of 8)

What is Zen?

I have read the book What is Zen? by Alan Watts. The book contains a selection of Alan’s talks and the four parts are about:
• A simple way, A difficult way
• Zen reconsidered
• Space
• Zen mind

I like the book, it is easy to read yet it makes you think and feel. My purpose with buying the book was to learn more about Zen, to be able to put the pieces together in my own view of Zen and mindfulness.

In the first part Alan writes that “Zen is a method of rediscovering the experience of being alive”. He brings up the concept of “ten thousand formations, one suchness”, there is simply one energy.

From the second part I select some quotes about the present:

If you understand fully that it is from the present that everything happens, then the only place for you to be, the only place for you to live, is here, right now.

If your plans are flexible and adaptable, and if you are here when things happen, you will always stay balanced.

Alan also writes “Anything that you can do without a great deal of thought becomes a perfect form of meditation”. That is the same as is said in The 5-minute Meditator.

The third part about the book is about space, how empty space is considered more important in the East than in the West. Alan mentions that Zen represents a simplified way of life and that the personality of Zen people is the uncluttered mind. He also says that “The beginning of Zen is overcoming the fear of death”. That is what made the samurai interested in Zen, as a way to become fearless.

The fourth and last part is about Zen Mind. Alan says that “The understanding of Zen is intuitive”. A final quote from the book:

The whole point of Zen is to suspend the rules we have superimposed on things and to see the world as it is – as all of a piece.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Do Less, Achieve More

I have finished Do Less, Achieve More by Chin-Ning Chu. The subtitle is Discover the hidden power of giving in. The book is divided into three parts, each one dealing with one of the three secrets which are:

  1. Fine-tune your actions
  2. Put your mind at ease
  3. Discover the divine power

Under finetuning your actions is a list of 18 tips. There is also this gem about time management, it is worth repeating that:

Time management is about managing ourselves, not about managing time.

A part in this section is called ‘Life is full’, looking back we have always filled our 24 hours. But did we do what we really wanted to do?

Success is not about having more. It is about fine-tuning your understanding of what you are willing to give up in order to get what you really want.

The conclusion for fine-tuning: Trade what does not work for what you really want.

The second section, put your mind at ease, is about accepting divine guidance. Life is a school, unless you complete your lessons at each phase you do not get to move forward.

In the third section, discover the divine power, it states that as long as we are reacting we have lost sight of our own agenda. The author wants us to find our point of restfulness which makes it possible to stay in control. She mentions mediatation and intuition as tools for this, the books describes six techniques.

I have mixed feelings about the book since to me it revealed no secrets but I guess that depends on where we are in our own progress.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

The Manifestation Wheel

I have finished a really interesting book titled The Manifestation Wheel: A Practical Process for Creating Miracles written by Alan Seale. The Manifestation Wheel is an interesting concept created by Alan Seale and partly based on the Lakota medicine wheel.

The Manifestation Wheel is made up of eight “houses” or steps: intention, peace, energy, guidance, empowerment, action, surrender, and legacy. Through these eight houses, the Manifestation Wheel offers a process that helps readers create the conditions necessary for their vision to manifest. It calls forth the reader’s intuition and develops deeper and higher levels of awareness.

Alan explains that in beginning a project, we usually begin by clarifying what we want. However the immediate next question, one that is rarely asked, must be, “What is the greatest potential wanting to unfold?” This is the true catalyzing question. The Wheel takes you beyond personal wants and desires to tap into a bigger picture—a picture of “what wants to happen,” a picture of your greatest potential and the greatest potential of a moment, situation, project, or vision.

The book guides the reader through the eight houses of the wheel. Exercises and questions for each house help you keep your project on the move and aligned to the structure of the wheel. The eight houses form a logical path from vision to legacy, placing action plans in the sixth house and using the first five houses to build a solid foundation. The final step in each house is to go back through the previous ones and see if anything has to be changed.

In the eight house of legacy you shall consider sustainability and long term implications of your project. What is the impact on coming generations? That is something we rarely ask ourselves.

For many years, Alan used the Lakota Medicine Wheel and its concepts to powerful effect in the building of his life, career, and relationships. Recognizing that the language of the Medicine Wheel was a bit arcane for today’s world, he adapted the Medicine Wheel to create the Manifestation Wheel, a tool that is accessible, practical, and immediately productive for individuals, businesses, and organizations in the 21st century. Now Alan has written the guidebook to the Manifestation Wheel, making this simple yet profound process available to everyone.

I love the book, it is well written and the Manifestation Wheel is a very useful tool. But available to everyone is a stretch, you must have an open mind and trust the combination of spiritual wisdom and scientific knowledge.

The image is borrowed from Allan Seale’s site.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

The Starfish and the Spider

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations is written by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckström. It is a very interesting book that compare two different kind of organizations but also mentions a hybrid or combo version, best of both.

Spiders are centralized, command and control, organizations. Historical examples are the Spanish army, the Aztecs and the Incas. Today most companies and organizations still work like this.

Starfish are decentralized with no hierarchy and no headquarters, an open system with no designated leader. An historical example listed in the book are the Apache indians. Modern examples are Craigslist, Wikipedia, Burning Man, AA, Skype, Kazaa and open source software like the Apache server.

An interesting part of the book is when they give examples of the spiders problems when they have to compete or combat against starfish. The Apache indians (starfish) managed to stand up against the Spanish army (spider) but the Incas and Azteks were spiders too and could be beaten. Todays music industry (spiders) fight against filesharing (starfish) and will most likely not win.

A hybrid approach means companies gain from both world, spider as well as starfish. There are examples of companies like eBay and Amazon that decentralize customer experience. And there are centralized companies like GE that decentralizes internal parts of the business.

If you want a quick look at some of what’s inside the book, see Lessons from a Starfish World.

There is a booksite at The Starfish and the Spider. Wikipedia also has a page about The Starfish And the Spider.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Three books by Robin Sharma

I have read and reviewed three books by Robin Sharma. Here is a short summary and links to my reviews.

The monk who sold his Ferrari is a great book that covers much of Eastern and Western wisdom around life and success. The book is well written and the concepts are nicely fitted into a frame, a fable around the seven virtues. This book is the first one with the monk and where you get to know his history plus why and how he changed.

Discover Your Destiny With The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is labeled “A potent pathway to self-awakening that will help you to live your greatest life and claim the happiness, prosperity and inner peace that you deserve”. Still, this is not one of those “just wish and it will be yours”-books, instead it is a guide book on how to discover your authentic self and achieve lasting inner peace.

The Saint The Surfer And The CEO is about a person’s three final questions: Did I live wisely? Did I love well? Did I serve greatly? I like this book too, it gave me valuable input to help change my life and views.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

The 5-minute Meditator

I have finished a book written by Eric Harrison and titled The 5-minute Meditator, I like it a lot. It is the perfect book for people who ‘have no time to meditate’. The book has about a dozen ‘spot meditations’ lasting from half a minute to five minutes. Short meditations are just as effective as long ones, that suits me perfect since it is easier for me to do several short meditations than a long one.

Meditation is about choosing where you direct your attention. If you focus on something that is simple and sensual, you relax.

The basic instructions are: focus on the sensations of the present – sight, sound, taste or touch – and let your thoughts pass by in the background.

Eric writes that just a few minutes of deep breathing each day can make a difference to our well-being. I do a simple practice of three deep breaths that works very well for me.

You do not have to make yourself relax. You just stand back and let it happen. Meditation is the art of doing nothing. Your body and mind will naturally settle if you give them half a chance. The less you try to do, the better it works!

That sounds easy but it takes practice before it works. Eric says this about staying present:

To stay in the present, focus on one thing in the present. We call this the meditation object. It is your anchor, it is what you persuade your mind to return to when it wanders away.

One thing to focus on is our breath, easy and always available. Eric mentions that a visual object can be much easier to focus on than the breath so your mind is less inclined to wander. The choice is yours, pick an object that is available and do a short meditation.

I work as a coach and I use a short meditation before sessions to unwind, relax and become focused on the session to come. It helps me become more present.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

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