Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty | Book Analysis and Summary | Free Audiobook
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Think Like a Monk includes a combination of ancient wisdom and Jay Shetty’s personal experiences. The aim of Think Like a Monk is to help individuals apply a monk mindset to their lives. Think Like a Monk shows you how to clear the roadblocks to your potential by overcoming negative thoughts, accessing stillness, and creating true purpose. It can be challenging to apply the lessons of monks to busy lives. However, Jay provides advice and exercises to reduce stress, improve self-discipline and focus, and maintain relationships in the modern world.
About Jay Shetty
Jay Shetty is an award-winning host, viral content creator, motivational speaker, and author. Jay launched his YouTube channel in 2016 to provide wisdom videos. Four years later, he has obtained over four billion views on YouTube and has over 20 million followers globally. On top of this, Jay was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30.
Jay’s life was changed when he met a monk at the age of 18. Jay started redefining success for himself and wanted to serve others. At age 22, he spent three years traveling across India and Europe as a monk. His daily routine was waking up at 4 a.m., taking cold showers, meditating, and eating. He would meditate approximately 4-8 hours daily. Half of Jay’s day would be spent on personal growth, and the other half serving others. Today, he has moved back into society. However, he aims to help people apply the monk mindset to busy city life.
Jay Starts to Think Like a Monk
Jay had a friend in college who asked him to attend a session with a monk. At the time, Jay was reluctant. He did not believe the monk would know anything he did not already understand about the world. Nonetheless, he agreed to attend this lecture with his friend. To his surprise, Jay was immediately inspired by the monk. He was taken aback by the passion with which the monk spoke about the importance of service. Jay was so impressed he asked to meet the monk personally and eventually made the decision to become a monk. He is not expecting readers to become monks. However, he would like them to think like a monk.
Jay outlines how you can start to think like a monk by separating the book into three parts. Later, he breaks this information down into steps.
Part I: Let Go
Our identity is like a mirror covered in dust. We have no idea who we are, what we want to be, who we seek, and what we want to value. This is due to the dust that obscures our vision. Jay explains that cleaning your mirror will not be a pleasant experience. However, only once you have removed the dust obscuring your mirror can you see your true reflection. Removing the dust allows you to see who you truly are.
Jay distinguishes between detachment and attachment. Jay defines attachment as wanting something to happen in a particular way. In contrast, detachment occurs when you want something to happen in the best way. The problem with attachment is that you think you know the best way.
We need to be more deliberate about the values we follow because our values guide us in life. Jay provides the example of method actors. Specifically, individuals like Heath Ledger and Daniel Day-Lewis. These actors would utilize method acting to better adopt the role they were playing in a movie. However, Jay explains these actors would often feel lost after leaving this role. They had started to adopt the identity of their character. Jay explains the same concept is experienced by individuals who do not have deliberate values. If you are continually following your life based on projects rather than your purpose, you will be lost when these projects fail.
You are not at the end of your last journey when you choose purpose over projects. Instead, you are at the beginning of who you’re going to become.
Higher and Lower Values
Jay Shetty describes two types of values with differing outcomes. He encourages readers to pursue higher values, including gratitude, service, truthfulness, and compassion. Ultimately, these higher values are what will give you happiness, fulfillment, and meaning. In comparison, Jay Shetty suggests readers avoid lower values. Examples of common lower values include greed, lust, anger, and envy. The outcome of these lower values is a combination of anxiety, depression, and suffering.
You need to learn to encourage a culture of compassion. Primarily, you need to encourage self-compassion and self-forgiveness. Choosing this approach rather than dwelling on negative actions can have a significant impact on your life. Instead of beating yourself up about your mistakes, you should be trying to build the muscles to help you be resilient. If you feed your resilience effectively, then you will be happy irrespective of what life brings you.
Jay explains you need to put on your protective shield. You should not walk onto the battlefield of life without doing your training and shielding. There are three steps to prepare yourself for the negative battlefield of life:
Step 1 – Sights
Think about the first thing you see in the morning. Studies suggest 80% of people see their phone before their partner in both the morning and evening. Instead, make the first thing you see in the morning a quote you love, a work of art that inspires you, or a picture of your family that means a lot to you. Making these things the first thing you see in the morning will help you pause and think. In contrast, looking at your phones first means you start your day by reacting to other people’s agendas.
Step 2 – Scents
Jay talks about the power of smell. There is a reason that spas use smells like lavender and eucalyptus. These scents help create positivity and relaxation that helps protect you from negativity.
Step 3 – Sounds
Jay talks about how irrelevant sounds can increase your cognitive load. While living in New York, Jay was starting to feel exhausted for no true reason. After reading academic articles, he learned how having irrelevant sounds in your environment could increase cognitive load. You are wasting 80% of your cognitive load if you have news on in the background or loud drilling nearby. Seek to create an environment where you are intentionally creating sound—for example, choosing music that uplifts you and gives you energy.