The Urban Monk by Pedram Shojai
I can relate to a monk who curses. If the cursing were to come off as contrived or forced, though, it would send me running the other way. Pedram Shojai, the author of The Urban Monk, is anything but contrived. He attacks his life mission, helping others wake up to their full potential, in an earnest fashion, yet does so with a common man's manner. A manner that allows for grit, real talk, and the occasional curse word to fly. Pedram left a robust medical practice to heed a calling to pursue a more meaningful path in life. He delved deep and wide into an array of Eastern spiritual practices and repurposed his entire life around the commitment to helping others achieve more meaningful lives.
Actionable Steps For Real World Challenges
The lessons and principles within The Urban Monk are laid out in a concise and easily digestible manner. Pedram presents life cases from his work with names changed for anonymity. He follows each case with an analytical breakdown of the underlying issues and offers solutions to help catalyze breakthroughs and bring about sustainable change. I found it both unsettling and comforting in how I had personally encountered some of the problems from each of the cases he introduces in the book. It underscores just how shared our challenges in this life experiences are, but also offers hope to us all. Hope that each and every one of us can take the reigns back to our own lives and consciously forge a better way. The hope emanating from The Urban Monk thankfully does not come in the form of wishy-washy hyperbole, but instead through actionable steps and solutions. Steps which can be implemented right away into the routine of your life.
Making Your Work Day Active
There are a handful of compelling life principles that Pedram lays out in The Urban Monk. Two principles immediately resonated with me, inspiring me to integrate their concepts into my daily routine. The first is eliminating sedation from your life by injecting your work day with brief bursts of activity. It can be something as simple as getting out of your chair for five minutes and walking a flight of stairs or finding a quiet corner to knock out ten push-ups. The key is doing these bouts of activity consistently each hour throughout the work day. Any concerns over these periods of physical engagement becoming detrimental to your productivity get quickly squashed through a pronounced uptick of energy and focused mental clarity. This has truly been a game changer for me. Prior to this revelation of an actively engaged work day, I would have spent hours sitting listlessly and staring at a computer while my energy levels depleted as time wore on. Now I make a conscious effort to get up and do something, even as minimal as stretching. When I return back to my desk I am more productive thanks to the increased energy and focus.
Honor Your Connection With Nature
The second principle I was struck by is the importance of honoring our connection to nature. Being one with nature is more than just a concept that environmentalists use to plead their case for protection of our earth. Our oneness with nature is something that is encoded in our DNA. Therefore it is a dire need for humans to proactively create opportunities to further this connection in order to enrich our life experience. Pedram lays out the case for how cut-off from nature we have become in modern society. He offers a variety of means, from practical to grand, to bring back connectedness with nature no matter where you live. Finding moments in your day to be amongst nature, even if as simple as observing a bird or gazing at a tree, can bring about a spiritual fulfillment that helps keep you grounded through the stressors of daily life.
The Urban Monk: A Practical Guide For You
For anyone with a mild interest in improving a component of their life, all the way up to a person in the midst of a deep spiritual journey, The Urban Monk has something to offer to everyone. The concepts are clear and actionable. Someone who is just at the onset of exploring their pursuit of life improvement may find some of the eastern practices a bit far out, but there is nothing that should alienate you entirely from the book. Pedram himself, while clearly an enlightened figure open to all mystical possibilities, is so grounded in the realities of the day-to-day human struggle that he can make the most exotic eastern practice feel approachable for all.
Like anything new we learn, take what makes sense for you, for where you are at in your journey, and begin to incorporate elements into your life. In today's work culture, we can feel under siege from employer and customer expectations around the clock. This never ending demand is due to technology that has us wired to our jobs 24 hours a day throughout entire weekends. Proactively creating brief moments of peace and physical activity amidst the insanity of work is imperative for your long-term well-being. It will also dial your mind to a frequency of non-reactive calmness for the best possible success at work as well. The Urban Monk is your real world guide for exploring timeless eastern practices to help either jumpstart or ascend you higher in your daily pursuits of health, wealth, and happiness.
Have you read The Urban Monk? What were your biggest take aways from the book? Let us know in the comments section.