3 out of 4 stars
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Who doesn’t experience stress? Though there are good forms of stress, I am talking about distress. Unfortunately, stress is a part of life—the human condition. What if I told you that there are ways to dramatically decrease your stress? As an attorney, accountant, and real estate investor, Purandar A. Amin has certainly experienced his fair share of stress. In his book Fearless Thinking, Stress-Free Living, “Guaranteed” (Almost), Amin lays out a myriad of interconnected strategies for dealing with life’s stressors in a way that will bring peace to your life. According to the author, your standards, beliefs, and opinions are the source of your stress, and by learning to control those, you can almost eliminate it. Amin leads the reader through an exploration of karma, expectations, permanence, duality and equanimity, ego, positive and negative energies, and the soul as a way to find peace in life.
I give Fearless Thinking, Stress-Free Living, Guaranteed (Almost) three out of four stars. There are two reasons why I cannot give this book four stars. This first reason is that there are a few punctuation errors and places where a word or two may have been left out. These mostly occur near the end of the book—as if the author or editor had gotten tired and lost some focus. I do not feel, however, that these distract the reader from the reading experience. The second reason is that Amin’s book does not contain a lot of information that I hadn’t heard before. He does take the topic of stress a little more in depth, though, so I still feel like it was a worthwhile read.
There are numerous things to like about the book, so it is hard to know where to begin. I love the idea of karma, the idea that you put out either positive or negative energy into the world and so attract the same energy back to you that you have put out. Amin does make the point that God (or the universe, or whichever deity you prefer) has to arrange circumstances and people just right in order to deliver karma, so the idea of giving and receiving energy—positive or negative—may occur over the span of several lifetimes. That would explain how some people seem to get away with things and never get what you think they deserve. The other thing I really love is the idea that you should keep your mind in the present. Yesterday is done, and so it does no good to worry over it. Tomorrow hasn’t happened yet, and it is something over which you have no control, so it does no good to worry about that either. It reminds me of a verse from Matthew 6:36: “Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself.” I also like the idea that if you go into situations without expectations, then whatever happens is neither good nor bad, and you will not be disappointed.
One thing I dislike about Amin’s book—and this is a real sticking point—is the idea that you have no control over the future, and everything that happens is a result of karma or destiny. That may be true to a certain extent, but I believe that you can and do influence your future. For example, you will never reach a goal if you don’t lay out the steps and plan what you need to do in order to achieve it. It may or may not be meant to be, but it will never be without some preparation. It’s like the story of the grasshopper and the ant in which the ant has plenty of food for the winter because he thought enough into the future to gather food in the summer so that he would be prepared. The grasshopper, however, did not give any thought to the future and so had nothing prepared for winter. I believe it never hurts to be a little prepared for what karma sends your way.
I want to point out that although Amin puts a spiritual spin on the book, it is not focused on God or any one entity or deity, so the reader need not be concerned that this is a religious book. It is focused a lot on energy and the flow of energy, so it will appeal to a more general audience. This is a book that would be good for anyone looking to relive stress. That is to say, it will have something beneficial for just about everyone. It is written in the format of letters to Uma, Amin’s wife, who is meant to represent the reader, so it has more of a conversational tone and reads less like a textbook. Exercises at the end of most chapters are there to help the reader practice some of the techniques put forth by the author, so this book will appeal most to a person ready to put forth an honest effort into the author’s methods as opposed to someone who has no interest in this area of personal development.
Fearless Thinking, Stress-free living, Guaranteed (Almost)
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