May 3, 2024

Book Review: Creative Use of Emotion by Swami Rama and Swami Ajaya

 An impulse purchase sometimes turns out to be the book with the right insights you need to hear. During my recent trip to Mussoorie, I stopped by the famous Cambridge bookstore to check out Ruskin Bond's books. Amidst the shelves with limited walking space, I spotted Swami Rama as the author of this book. The title sounded interesting and of course, the print quality and font size were perfect! As you age, font size becomes an important criterion for buying a book🙂 

This book written by Swami Rama and Swami Ajaya brings out the interesting contrast between Western and Eastern psychology. Though the title emphasizes "Emotions", it is NOT the core theme of this book, I must admit.

The authors start with explaining the need for expanding our consciousness, the misconceptions surrounding this idea and the changes one starts to experience when one moves from individuality to universality. This perspective shift is fundamental, as we progress in our spiritual journey. 

One of the hurdles that come our way is the attachment to our identities and self-concept. The authors clarify how the evolution of consciousness doesn't mean annihilation but an expansion of identity. The difference in the importance given to thought - The Western idea "I think, therefore I amvs Eastern perspective "You are not your thoughts" is explained very well. Similarly, the concept of Self in both these streams of thought is brought out beautifully.

There is an exclusive chapter dedicated to the role of suggestions coming in from external environments and their conflicting nature. Though this book was written way before the social media era, the insights are quite relatable.

My favorite chapter is the one on Freedom and Responsibility. This line "Freedom exists only in proportion to the amount of responsibility that we assume" requires deep introspection in today's times. There are some relevant takeaways for young parents in this chapter. 

The chapter on Emotions breaks down each emotion into its source and explains how one could understand them better - be it desire, fear, greed, depression, pride, etc. 

The book ends with fantastic insights into the role of forgiveness and the pitfalls of pursuing social justice in the name of inequality, much needed for the present global situation. 

Though the language is simple and the book is only 160 pages, the material is dense because of the sheer volume of insights. Not to rush through, but to read slowly and contemplate many of these perspectives. 

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