‘When we are no longer able to change the situation like cancer, we are challenged to change ourselves’
In today’s context, the situation would be the lockdown phase.
My reading of the book, Man’s Search for meaning could not have happened at a more appropriate time.
Surely, Nazi concentration camp’s prisons were nothing like the bubble lockdowns, most middle and upper-middle-class people currently find themselves in. However, these two have one thing in common.
A question mark.
As did the prisoners of the dreaded camps, many of us, are living in a strange feeling that several are now labelling ‘Corona Anxiety’.
The prisoners didn’t know when they would be released, and if at all, they would survive to the next day.
And, many of us, the ones who haven’t lived till the golden years of 65 aren’t that scared about making it to the other side of the virus trap. But, there are those, who suffer from anxiety. And, this is an exceptionally difficult time for them.
Thankfully, many avenues of online help are available to people who are suffering from feelings of uneasiness, anxiety and any other feeling that makes them feel, ‘not okay’.
On a side note, it is a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional, if you are in doubt.
But, if you are looking to fill the vacuum of boredom, I have two great reading suggestions to share.
1. Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
2. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Also, if your eyes turn to your brain and complain every time you read, try audiobooks.
Both books are freely available on youtube:
Find your link to the audio here:
What’s the reason behind these suggestions?
I can tell you what they did for me. And that’s pretty much all. Maybe it works for you. If not, my apologies in advance. Please, let me know what works for you?
Okay, getting back.
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
Zen Mind would throw light on the ‘current moment’. Amidst the pandemic, it may make you think,
How do I focus on the ‘now’?
What posture should I sit in, during work hours?
Is it really okay to be multi-tasking?
(Actually, this question is answered pretty well in Ikigai, you can read that book as well).
How can I get immersed in the problem?
What problem? If you are wondering, you’d get an answer to this as you read/listen to the book.
Above all, the voice of the narrator (Peter Coyote) is very soothing.
Quite honestly, the first time I read the book, I told my friends that this author must have been on some form of a psychedelic drug.
I went through it again, and my belief became stronger.
I’m just trying to say that this book is quite trippy.
You might enjoy it, if you enjoy trippy stuff.
If however, you are looking for less abstract concepts presented in the stinky bowl of prison sweat, read Man’s Search For Meaning.
Man’s Search For Meaning,
Well, if you are from the field of social sciences, you may have most likely heard of this book.
And no time better than this situation, the lockdown is more satisfying to find out, your why.
You’d find yourself exploring Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous quote,
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how“
This book would help you uncover what you could do if someone asks, “what is the meaning of my life?”
You may also ponder upon many other great lines such as,
“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.” ― Viktor Frankl
Man’s search for meaning is literally that. Man’s search for meaning. And, it maybe a small idea, a fraction of a thought. But, while you read this book, you would be introduced to questions and states of mind that you’d thank Victor Frankl for.
When you finish reading
When you finish reading, you might remember some pages in this book, more than others.
Perhaps they’d be the tenants to your search for meaning-making in this world.
Artists may grin at the memory of the pages where Victor Frankl talks about his will to be survived by the manuscript of his book. Intellectual babies may feel more loved by their parents.
And, others, though it is very difficult to not be an artist in some form or the other.. Yet, if you don’t identify as an artist, you might catch the pillars in Frankl’s phrases, pillars of the many why’s you have.
You might find new questions.
You might find new answers.
Your why’s may no longer be asked in a state of anxiety, but, in a state of compassion.
Although, this is only a desire of mine. I dearly wish that these books serve a good intellectual bite to you.
Finally, I’d say, read/listen to one of these and let me know how it went? If you’ve already read both of them, I’d absolutely love to know what you think of these books.