Search Inside Yourself (2012) is a book about mindfulness and how to practice it. The book talks a lot about how mindfulness can improve your general state of being and help in your career, but I found that my learnings from the book have also been helpful for my yoga journey.
Mindfulness and attention-training
- Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention “in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, (and) non-judgmentally”.
- Through the practice of meditation, over time, you are training your mind to be able to get into a state of peace and calm with ease and on demand.
- The practice of meditation can start with something as simple as two minutes of attention on your breath and meta-attention (awareness of where your attention lies) every day.
- Over time, you will develop better awareness of your attention and better ability to pay attention.
Using attention to develop self-knowledge and self-mastery
- By paying attention to the way you perceive emotions, you will know yourself a lot better, and give yourself power to make positive changes in your life.
- Mindfulness can help you notice your emotions, when they rise, and how you experience your emotions.
- Through this, you will become aware that emotions are physiological instead of existential, ie you should be able to think “I am feeling happy/sad/angry” rather than “I am happy/sad/angry”
- With the awareness that your emotions are a sensation, you will realize that you have the power to do something about it!
These provide a slightly different perspective about what meditation is, and how to practice meditation. In the book, Meng (the author) talks about other ways to practice mindfulness, such as walking meditation and mindful listening, which I found quite applicable to daily life, and that following these practices could help further my yoga practice, especially in relation to Dharana and Pratyahara.
The other parts of the book goes on to talk about how to create useful mental habits to cultivate social skills which can help yourself excel at work. These are less relevant to yoga and meditation, so I shan’t delve into it here. Meng has also given several talks at Google, so a good starting point is this talk where he gives a good summary of the concepts introduced in his book!