“My first visit to Gandhi had been prompted by one simple question: how had he done this? How had he managed to remake himself from a timid law student with no purpose in life to a man so sure of himself that he could lead a nation without pressure, hurry, or fatigue? I found the answer the first evening. Gandhi had learned to live completely in the moment: whatever he did, he was one hundred percent present. And when I saw him absorbed in his evening meditation, I realized that complete absorption was the key.
I was still young then; it would be years before I was ready to learn how to apply the insights I gained that night. But gradually I understood that living in the present is the secret of an unhurried mind. When the mind is not rushing about in a hurry, it is calm, alert, and ready for anything. And a calm mind sees deeply, which opens the door to tremendous discoveries: rich relationships, excellence in work, a quiet sense of joy. It was a revelation. There was a door to the discovery of peace and meaning in every moment! All I needed to open it was a quiet mind.”
~ Eknath Easwaran from Take Your Time
As I mentioned in our Notes on Conquest of Mind + The Dhammapada + The Bhagavad Gita, Eknath Easwaran is one of my absolute favorite teachers.
I have always had Joseph Campbell as the granddaddy in my spiritual family tree and I think Easwaran is my other spiritual grandfather.
And, it really strikes me how similar they are—energetically, spiritually and intellectually; while Campbell studied mythology, Eknath was an English literature Professor in India before moving to the US and committing his life to teaching spirituality.
In any case, this book is fantastic. (Get a copy here.)
It was written in 1994—WAY before we blew up our brains with the Internet. Yet, the need to slow down and cultivate a calm, unhurried mind has been discussed by all the great teachers for 2,500+ years. We need the wisdom now more than ever.
The book, of course, is packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share a few of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!
(Special thanks to the wonderful people at Nilgiri Press for generously sending this book and others I look forward to featuring!)
(P.S. I learned in this book that Easwaran is his given name; Eknath is the name of his family, which is matrilineal.)
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