Dec 23, 2022

Book Review: When all is not well by Om Swami


A couple of months back, I went on a shopping spree at Blossoms bookstore. Most of the titles I picked up were from the Yoga/philosophy/spirituality genre. Having read a few of Om Swami's books earlier, I picked up "When all is not well" with the intent to hear his thoughts on depression. Mental well-being is a topic that I'm interested to go deeper into, both for personal and professional reasons.

Depression is not a word imported from the West. Ayurveda and Yogic scriptures call depression "Vishada", a toxic state of the mind. Through this book, the author shares a Yogic perspective on the different states of depression and healing across various levels - physical, mental, and emotional.

He helps the reader in understanding what depression is and how it is different from momentary feelings of sadness.

"Depression is disconnection. You have lost all strength to react, fight or resist.....It is not absence of happiness. It is absence of life and of will."

He narrates many real-life experiences of people who faced depression and came out of it.

Many of us have faced mild depression symptoms during multiple phases - seasonal affective disorder, PMS, PPD etc. 

This point struck a chord - "When you don't allow time for yourself, you can't receive the light in your life".

The author recommends regular practice of Surya Namaskar, Trataka, Pranayama, bumblebee breathing (Bhramari) and witness meditation as solutions to address the root causes of depression.

The most impactful chapters for me were the ones on erasing psychic imprints and emotional healing.

Key takeaways

"If you can just be open and willing to see what purpose life might have the way it's unfolding for you, rather than resist and oppose it vehemently, you may find there's no struggle. Floating with the current is effortless; it's when you swim against it that you have to gather all your might."

"Peace doesn't mean a life devoid of adversities, troubles and challenges. Instead, it means to be surrounded by all of these and yet maintain faith and calm."

"Gratitude is the antidote to intense sadness".

Loved this book for its simple writing on a topic that's gaining importance these days.

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