A Mindful Read: Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty
I read a lot of self-help books. Recently, I’ve been drawn to books that talk about the mind and our relationship with it. Jay Shetty’s Think Like A Monk breaks down how to think like a monk in three parts. I’m going to break those down here and highlight the best parts of the book, along with my aha-moments.
Each part breaks into actions we can do to help us understand our mind, our purpose, and more importantly, our healing. After every section, Shetty gives you a meditation practice. There are graphs and charts in the book that blew my mind. There are exercises, life experience, quotes, and even a quiz at the end that can help you find the personality type that pairs you with a direction to find your purpose in life (you know we’re all about that).
I’ve been following Jay Shetty on Instagram before he got his official blue checkmark. I always found his journey unique and appreciated his desire to explain big concepts with metaphors. Breaking things down is what we’re all about here and this book really shows you different perspectives until the concept finally clicks. His podcast On Purpose has the deep conversations I want at dinner.
I had been on the waitlist for the audiobook at my library and since I was one of the first to request it, I automatically got it when it was available. I love libraries. Listening to this book is great. It was like listening to Jay Shetty guide me (literally). I loved this book so much I went to the bookstore and bought it before my library loan expired. That’s how good it was. I wanted to take my time with it.
Monk Mind Part One: Let Go
To me, this is the most important section of this book. It’s not that the other two sections aren’t good (I had my mind blown there too), but because without really understanding this part, it’s hard to grow and give.
I myself struggle immensely with the idea of letting go. Through healing some of my own traumas in my self-love journey, I’ve been able to identify my identity, negativity, fear, and intention. Shetty validates that journey for me and gave me extra tools to use as I continue to grow and heal.
The biggest takeaway from this part is the breakdown of what exactly is the monk mind. Shetty describes us having two mindsets: a monkey mind or a monk mind. These two mindsets are interchangeable, we are human. The point of the book is to recognize and acknowledge when the monkey mind is in control.
Multitasking, overthinking, distracted, self-centered, and temporary, are words used to describe the monkey mind. To counteract those words, single-tasking, analyzing, disciplined, self-care, and genuine solutions are used to define the monk mind. It takes hard work to transition and it’s never a permanent state of mind. Shetty reminds us that the word monk, means student.
Monk Mind Part Two: Grow
We are all in different seasons of life right now. Maybe you’re trying to find your purpose, maybe you’re trying to discipline yourself to continue practicing and pursuing it. Whatever the stage, Shetty helps us understand the power of routine and explains the ego in this section. Two important things to acknowledge and learn from if you’re trying to grow.
Shetty offers very helpful charts and tools to find your purpose and explains the mind in a way that literally blew my mind. He shares an old Cherokee story about the two wolves inside us. The story explains that the wolf you feed is the one that wins.
A lot of times, I feed the wrong wolf and continue to activate my monkey mind instead of the monk mind we all have within us. One of the most important traits is being aware of this. If we become aware of our actions, it is easier to flip the switch and try to make a change. To stop feeding the bad wolf and nourish the other.
Ego is another big (pun intended) area Shetty focuses on. He helps you determine the difference between ego and self-esteem. Teaching to focus on the small wins, and building confidence instead. The biggest ego takeaway for me was detaching yourself from the mask and not needing to prove yourself to anyone.
The point is that if you are satisfied with who you are, you don’t need to prove your worth to anyone else.”Jay Shetty, Think Like A Monk
Monk Mind Part Three: Give
So we’ve taken the journey inward. The last part Shetty offers is on gratitude, relationships, and service. We’ve talked about gratitude here and Shetty really helped remind me that being present, in gratitude is in fact a state of mind.
The biggest aha-moment for me in this part of the book was Shetty’s explanation on the circle of love. I’ve spent a lot of my life expecting the same amount of love I give to one person, back from that one person, when in fact, I’ve probably been blind to the way love has come back to me in different ways.
Another aha-moment for me from Shetty’s relationship crash course was his explanation of the four types of trust. It’s a great tool to help identify and understand that one person cannot fulfill you in all aspects of life. While understanding the four types of trust Shetty mentions (competence, care, character, and consistency) I was able to realize that some people in my life didn’t really fit any category. It was an exercise that reminded me who I should spend my time and attention on; another wolf to stop feeding.
Shetty ends this section of the book with service. I really enjoyed the organization of the book. It was kind of like a mindful, self-love video game journey. Reaching the final level after you’ve worked on yourself—giving back to others.
In conclusion: Try Your Best To Think Like A Monk
This book was inspiring. It gives you tools and exercises to help you navigate your purpose and healing, without making you feel guilty or afraid that you’re not ready to do those things yet. Unlike most self-help books, Shetty does a brilliant job of balancing his life anecdotes with teaching tools you can choose to use or just learn. The book is both practical and deeply meaningful. I would recommend it for your self-love journey as you continue to find that lovely life you’re looking for.