Literally speaking, ‘Don’t Take Your Life Personally’


-By Nidhi Kundra

The epic, as I would like to call it, Don’t Take Your Life Personally—is a narration of mindfulness or awareness. It is the knowledge of here and now. It is being fully present, being attentive to this present moment as it is—now. In the words of the author—Ajahn Sumedho—defining mindfulness tends to make it into something—and then as he explains, it is no longer mindfulness. Mindfulness is not a thing; it is rather a recognition, an intuitive awareness.

Ajahn Sumedho urges us to trust in awareness and find out for ourselves what it is to experience genuine liberation from mental anguish and suffering, just as the Buddha himself did two-and-a-half thousand years ago.

The description of Buddhism through this fine read, sums out as not becoming a model of humanity or a route to escaping the natural consequences of our past deeds, but of putting aside all pretence and all ideas in order to simply be where we are.

With this recognition, we have perspective on the conditions that we experience in the present—our thoughts, identities, and the conditioning we have. Concentration, on the other hand, is usually on a form. We choose an object and then put our full attention onto it in contrast to mindfulness which is formless and immeasurable, and does not seek a form. Terms like wake up, awakening or pay attention are not definitions; they are suggestions to trust in this moment, to be present, to be here and now.

The author beautifully encourages us not to take our lives personally, instead to look at the reality of this moment free from beliefs, views and opinions. He refers frequently to his own experiences, his own journey along the path, and he does this humorously, guilelessly and sometimes with brutal honesty.

Ajahn Sumedho is an American Buddhist monk, who practised for ten years in Thailand with the well-known monk, Ajahn Chah. He has since spent over thirty years in England, and is the founder of the Cittaviveka Forest Monastery in West Sussex and the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire. His many books include—The Mind and the Way, Teachings of a Buddhist Monk, and The Sound of Silence.

Author: Ajahn Sumedho
Publisher: Buddhist Pub Group
ISBN: 0-94-667231-8
Price: Rs. 1801 (Paperback)

About the author: An avid reader, Nidhi Kundra dons many hats–editor, writer, spiritual seeker, and a mother. She believes in ‘Buddhism as a way of life’, that encourages her to live life with courage and passion. Follow her on Twitter @NidhiKundra.