Elixir of the Ages is “The New Science of Understanding”, an e-book published, copyright and written by Chinmayee N.
The Introduction to this short (31 pages) book recounts how human nature dictates our need for “things to ensure our happiness and prosperity” and how we expend constant effort, even struggle to obtain them. This is not bad per se. However the accompanying worry about not losing what already has been gained while attempting to acquire the next ‘necessity’ is, and can produce both physical and mental problems that can reach frightening levels. True, life expectancy has advanced but, according to corroborating studies, “we’re unhappier than we’ve ever been.” Help is abundantly offered but unfortunately “the business of happiness has become hopelessly commercialized.” Thus, the author states “The purpose of this book is not to convey a never-before revealed secret, or to provide instructions which, if followed, guarantee well-being, or to tell you what you’re doing wrong…” Instead: “What I do hope to accomplish is to demonstrate through science and traditional wisdom, that the process of studying the nature of the self is both the beginning and the end to any spiritual quest.” Understanding the reader’s hesitancy because of the overburdening mass of self-help material already available, she asks simply that you “keep an open mind and keep reading.” Five chapters follow each title beginning with “The Elixir of…”. The first, Identity, offers “a simple theory of the universal misunderstanding of the meaning of identity; the second, Immediacy discusses connection and acquisition, the dual source “at the root of virtually any struggle one can imagine” and examines the differences in need for immediacy of decision-making between early man and the more cognitive approach that is more appropriate as man’s evolution continued. Additionally “Letting go of at least some of our attachments to conditions and to our own visible identity, does not mean we are less likely to achieve happiness and well-being. Instead, it just alleviates a lot of the suffering we needlessly put ourselves through along the way…” concluding “As the great teacher Paramahansa Yogananda (prominent exponent of Kriya Yoga) said, “Forget the past, for it is gone from your domain! Forget the future for it is beyond your reach! Control the present! Live supremely now! This is the way of the wise.””; the third chapter, Benevolence concentrates on “The blueprint for all the relationships in our lives can be found in a single core relationship – that which each of us has with our Self. If one wishes to be surrounded by loving family and friends, and to be respected and recognized in our community, one must cultivate those attributes by being loving to one’s Self, and being a respected friend to one’s self”; four discusses Possibility with an opening descriptive quote by philosopher Sam Keen: “We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly; Chapter Five is that of Eternity and begins “How is a person different if they are convinced of their own goodness and the goodness of the world? Why does a belief in one’s own attributes become an attribute in and of itself? The easiest explanation is in the result – a person with a lot of self-confidence moves through life with less pain and stress than a person with no self-confidence. Clearly, it is better to have self-confidence than to lack it just as it is better to have an optimistic rather than pessimistic view of life.” Further discussion follows on cultivation of such a positive outlook.
Discussion: This is the author’s first book and is interestingly different. It has been written with a decidedly fresh approach by one who “knows what it’s like to border two worlds: she is an entrepreneur and a finance professional, but also a practitioner of Kriya yoga” – a long existent form brought to international attention by Paramahansa Yogananda and described as a Buddhist tradition based, ritualistic use of heart-warming words/phrases not necessarily related to any religion, family member(s), social class or other, but whose use purportedly evinces social as well as individual change. The author also includes an interesting and Zen (Japanese version) Buddhism statement about an individual’s activity before and after attaining one’s most coveted life’s goal “Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.” i.e. remember you still have to continue your life.
Conclusion: Fascinating, fresh approach to ‘self-help’. Recommended.
5* Fascinating, fresh approach to ‘self-help’.