Think Like a Monk - Jay Shetty

Checked out this book on NLB Libby as my friend Chanel was reading it! It was just what I needed to ground myself in this hectic year.

Think Like a Monk - Jay Shetty

Here are some of my notes. For more detailed explanations, do check out the book on your own!

Life can be a constant bombardment of pressure.  (I enjoyed the illustrations!)

  • Parents and caregivers are often our loudest fans and critics. p45
  • What we do with our spare time shows what we value.   p51 Time to do a self-check and see if you're being hypocritical. 

Many people will list 'loved ones' as their priority, but in actuality spend more time on work and other things. 

Negativity - we are bombarded with it, can you blame us if we channel some of it? We'll need to be conscious of what we let it and what we pass on too.

Unfortunately, upon reflection I find that I am all the types!  I can be a complainer, a canceller, a casualty, a commander, a competitor AND a controller. Oops, looks like I have loads to work on. 

Identify your fear!
  1. Loss of peace: a fear that bad things are going to happen
  2. Loss of love: a fear of not being loved
  3. Loss of understanding: a fear of being disrespected.
p149  Same time, different meaning

A woman works late at a job.  She hates it.
The same woman stays up late to plan a birthday party for her child. She finds it worth it. 
Same hours, but with different intention and purpose.
"When we live intentionally, with a clear sense of why what we do matters, life has meaning and brings fulfilment. Intention fills the car with gas.

  • Living in your dharma is a certain route to fulfilment. 
  • Passion + Expertise + Usefulness = Dharma
  • You can't be anything you want. But you can be everything you are. 
  • Instead of focusing on our weaknesses, we lean into our strengths and look for ways to make them central in our lives. 
  • In order to unveil our dharma, we have to identify our passions. the activities we both love and are naturally inclined to do well. 
  • Instead of making a huge career change, you can try to look for opportunities to do what you love in the life you already have. 

There's also a quiz for you to find out your dharma profile. Here's just a snapshot of the four profiles.

The Leader : military, justice, politics. Directed by courage, strength, determination. May give up on change due to corruption and hypocrisy. May lose moral compass in drive for power. 
The Maker: social workers, therapists, artists, HR, musicians, coders, cooks. Depressed by failure. Driven by stability and security. 
The Creator : Great as sales, negotiation, persuasion. Highly driven by money, pleasure and success.
The Guide: Teachers, mentors, coaches. Value knowledge, wisdom, more than fame, power, money, security. Likes to work alone. Likes having space and time to reflect and learn. May not practice what they preach. 

The book offers more details! Can you guess which is my dharma profile?

You can also enlist your friends and family to help find out what your dharma is. 

E.g. "I love taking pictures."
  • because I like helping families put together a Christmas card that makes them proud (Guide)
  • because I like to document human struggles and promote change (Leader - wow, thinking of Brandon from HONY now.)
  • because I love the technical aspects of lighting, focus, film (Maker)
Keep an activity journal and ask yourself:
  • What did you like about an activity?
  • Are you good at it?
  • Do you want to read about it, learn about it, and spend a lot of your time doing it? 
  • Do you feel driven to improve?
There are no right or wrong answers. This is an observation exercise to amplify your awareness. Pg 223.

  • We will never live in an idyllic world where everyone constantly lives their dharma. p227
  • Dharma is passion in the service of others. Your passion is for you. Your purpose is for others. Your passion serves a purpose when you use it to serve others. Your dharma has to fill a need in the world. 

In one of the chapters Jay Shetty recommends a minute in bed after you wake up. Instead of reaching your phone, centre yourself and list things that you are grateful for. I tried it today - instead of scrolling through Instagram to wake my brain up, I thanked my bed, my blanket, good weather, good sleep and my home. Then I kind of snoozed again. 

Other chapters explore things like trust and types of people around you. Jay Shetty drives home the point that no one person can fulfil your every need of trust. 

  • When something doesn't go your way, say to yourself. There's more for me out there. 
  • Take care of yourself - yes. But don't wait until you have enough time and money to serve. You will never have enough.
  • "You don't need to do everything. Do what calls your heart; effective action comes from love. It is unstoppable, and it is enough." Joanna Macy

Reflection on your deathbed

Most common regrets of the dying:

  • I wish I told the people I care about that I love them.
  • I wish I hadn't worked so much.
  • I wish I'd taken more pleasure in life.
  • I wish I'd done more for other people.
Imagine how you'd like to be remembered at your own funeral. Don't focus on what people thought of you, who loved you, and how sad they will be to lose you. Instead, think about the impact you've had. Then imagine how you would be remembered if you died today. What's the gap between these two images? How can you bridge the gap?

With that, I'll end this post. This book was thought provoking for sure! I hope that if I keep the lessons in mind, I can be a better person. I also hope to find out more about my dharma and align it with my current lifestyle and job.

Feel free to drop me a line if you'll like to discuss this topic with me!