When Awareness Becomes Natural by Sayadaw U Tejaniya highlights the fact that wisdom can be earned at any stage of your life. It also passively highlights the importance of having an mentor in your life. The book is written in an autobiographical manner where Sayadaw talks about his journey from childhood all the way to present and how he over time adapted mindfulness into his daily life. It dives deep into his early life and the experiences he had to live through that compelled him to become a Buddhist monk. The common theme more or less remains having a difficult life with a singular reliable figure in his life that acts as his moral compass.
What the book does exceptionally well in my opinion is relating principles from Buddhism to real life experiences. Which allows the flow to be more natural and “live” as opposed to an instructional book or something “preachy”. I personally prefer “this is my experience and this is how I handled life” over “here’s 10 ways to fix your life”. Everyone has their own set of problems, perspective, and issues! Learning and understanding different perspectives allows us to not only view our own problems with different lenses but also develop a sense of empathy for others.
Sayadaw is extremely candid about his life and his bad habits in the book that helps readers relate/connect to him more. He really does show that rock bottom is not the end and you can always come back from it 💗 No one’s born with infinite wisdom on this Earth and regardless of what path you may have been led on, you can always make different decisions to choose a path that brings you closer to your true self.
The book helped me develop a healthier perspective for my life and encouraged me to be more grateful about everyone in my life. There is some Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit used in the book, so as long as you can remember the meaning from the beginning pages of the book, you’ll be easily able to follow along. I will summarize the lessons that spoke the most to me but if you’d like to get the in-depth experience, I very much recommend getting a copy for youself by clicking on the link below.When Awareness Becomes Natural by S U Tejaniya
Awareness is the key to Wisdom.
Ofcourse since the title is centered around the word “Awareness”, it has to be a key element of the book. The book largely revolves around mastering mindfulness which you can loosely use as a synonym for awareness. The author constanly compells us to observe our surroundings and be aware of all that is happening around you. Not to act on it or judge it, but to simply pay attention and know that it’s there. He explains that “Wisdom is an antidote to delusion and the byproduct of wisdom is happiness” and what are we all searching for at the end of the day if not happiness.
Object vs the Observing mind.
When we are doing anything we tend to focus all our attention towards the object. Instead, what we should be focusing on is how we feel and what our mind is doing during the activity, pertaining to the object. “The object of attention is not really important,” he teaches, “the observing mind that is working in the background to be aware is of real importance.” Which really emphasizes on the importance of focusing on ourselves.
The Paradox of Patience
Sayadaw shares that one time during his practise he achieved such a blissful state of being during one of his meditations that he couldn’t replicate it for the longest time. The funny part was, when he let go of the expectation to recreate it, and just “be”, he was able to achieve it again.
Life does seem to follow many parallels such as this one! The juxtaposition of wanting to chase something only to realize you get it when you stop looking is one of the most unreal and rewarding experiences of our lives. The beautiful lesson that I earned from this story was not to chase something just for the sake of chasing it! Follow the principles and do your best and everything else will follow.
Interest brings Effort
There is something about us humans that we love to “go all in”. “All or nothing”, “no pain no gain”, “go big or go home”, etc. We all hear these phrases all the time and for some occassions in your life, they can help you get over huge obstacles. However for awareness, you have to incrementally build it up slowly. You start off with just taking more interest in everything that you do! For e.g. Paying attention to what arm you put in first while putting on a t-shirt. Just smaller things like that incrementally will help build up the mindfulness muscle. Taking interest in anything will automatically elevate your mood and increase your energy while performing said activity!
Importance of a mentor
Sayadaw met a monk at a monastery where his father sent him occassionally. He played a major role in Sayadaw’s life both as a mentor and a friend from when he was a little boy till his later teenage years. I really love the humility Sayadaw exhibits in the book by attributing his success in life to this monk. Reading about that relationship made me re-evaluate all the existing relationships in my life and how I can learn a little something from them all. I wish to earn myself an in-person spiritual mentor at some point in my life as well, but for now books and internet will do :)
These are just few of the gems that the book has to offer. It would be a VERY long post if I were to summarize an entire book on here but I wanted to do this write up maninly to get the word out! Also a hidden agenda to have people to talk to about this stuff 😅
Final words 🙏
First of all, thank you so so much for reading it so far! I am full of gratitude and I thank you for your time and interest 🙏.
The book also helps lay the groundwork in starting your own practise! It builds up the process step by step while providing context on what those practises bring and what they can help you with. Let me know what you think and if you’re interested in buying the book, here’s the link https://amzn.to/32sP2Kr . If you’d like to read more about mindfulness and meditation, checkout the article we did earlier this week https://do-better.club/beginners-guide-to-meditation .
I hope this post has helped you and If you have any feedback or would love to get in touch, please reach out! Is there a book you’d like to share or think it’ll be valuable for me to read? Hit me up at Instagram or Facebook.
Share this with your reading group, friends, and family so you can all begin your journey to wisdom.