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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Strength in The Storm
Creating Calm in Difficult Times
Eknath Easwaran
Nilgiri Press 10/05 Paperback $14.00
ISBN: 1586380176


Eknath Easwaran (1910-1990) has published 27 books and remains to this day one of the most respected authorities on mysticism in the world. This enlightening paperback contains six essays (Strength in the Storm, Be At Peace in the Moment, Take the Worry Away, Nourish Your Mind, Choose Kindness, and Light the Darkness) that are designed to assist us in the challenges we face as we try to calm our minds and act compassionately in our tense and troubled world. Each chapter also contains a thought-provoking summary of the ideas presented along with comments by individuals who have tried to put these ideas and ideals into practice in their daily lives.

Easwaran's everyday spirituality has a practical dimension that is most refreshing. He presents a thorough discussion of using the mantram as a key tool for steadying the mind, and gives readers a crosscut of words and phrases that can be used from different religious traditions. Easwaran shows how what he calls a steady mind can weather all storms. Another practice is training our mind to stay in the present: "Whenever we daydream, worry, or nurse a grudge, we are training the mind to escape from the present moment. We get trapped in the past or future."

He suggests that we do only one thing at a time and give it our complete concentration. Another way of training the mind is to choose carefully what goes into our consciousness. Watching violent movies, for example, can be toxic. Easwaran suggests that we take care in the kind of people we surround ourselves with day by day.

A final suggestion Easwaran makes that really connected with us is the need to keep the mind at peace so we can better serve others: "When the mind is still, we can become an instrument of peace." As always, Easwaran includes quotations from a variety of spiritual teachers. Here is a Gaelic prayer that we found inspiring and gentle on the mind:

I weave a silence onto my lips.
I weave a silence into my mind.
I weave a silence within my heart.
I close my ears to distractions.
I close my eyes to attractions.
I close my heart to temptations.
Calm me, O Lord, as you stilled the storm.
Still me O Lord; keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease.
Enfold me, Lord, in your peace.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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