With the hustle and bustle of modern life, we often forget the importance of living in the moment.
And that’s a problem as forever chasing tomorrow, or reflecting on yesterday, does nothing for our personal growth.
This is something that has been understood for centuries in the East, but we in the UK are only just catching on to the importance of taking spiritual time-outs.
Dog, Yogi, Banyan Tree by Dr Rajan Sankaran, an internationally-famed homeopath, spiritual thinker and practitioner of holistic healing, is the ideal read for those who would like to develop their inner self.
His latest book, the first outside of the specialised field of homeopathy, takes readers on his personal life journey thus far.
It is, by its nature, autobiographical, recounting Dr Sankaran’s upbringing and dedication to the practice of homeopathy, but it is much more than this, providing powerful guidance to readers about how they can follow in his footsteps to gain emotional and spiritual enlightenment.
The main idea shared by the author is that anyone, or indeed anything, can teach us important life lessons — if we are truly living in the present and taking the time to appreciate every experience and interaction that comes our way.
Dr Sankaran tells his story through a series of warm, witty and entertaining vignettes, drawing upon the ancient Indian tradition of teaching through anecdote, and these cover key episodes in his life which he has learned from.
The early chapters focus on his upbringing in India, rejoicing in the simple things such as family meals or holidays and the unadulterated pleasure of savouring those experiences.
However, it was during his youth that he lost his father, with whom he had shared a close bond. This tragic loss shaped his development profoundly.
Not only was he spurred on to follow his father into the study of homeopathic medicine, but also was driven to embrace the wisdom that those around him could impart, or, as Dr Sankaran puts it “led me to search for and find other fathers, each of whom contributed another piece in the puzzle of my being.”
This hunger to learn was carried with him though his professional training, but it was only as he got older that he realised that his search for knowledge should be for its own sake, and for his own enrichment, rather than for the external motive of rising to the top.
This is another key argument that Dr Sankaran makes: that inner development is far more important than career success, wealth or fame. As he freely admits, it took him time to discover this, but since doing so he has never looked back.
On a related note, another important point he makes is that we go through stages in life — and face many issues in the way we interact with our friends, loved ones and ourselves — and must resolve these before we can progress further.
What shines throughout Dog, Yogi, Banyan Tree is the author’s dedication to helping others and equally letting others help him in his quest for betterment. Thus he recounts humble mechanics, fruit sellers and taxi drivers, as well as a stray dog, among the many gurus he had encountered and who have taught him important guiding principles.
This is one of those rare books that has the real potential to reset your spiritual compass and change the way you perceive things. For anyone seriously interested in mind, body and spirit, it will prove a deeply rewarding read.
Dog, Yogi, Banyan Tree (Homoeopathic Medical Publishers) is out now in paperback, priced £21. For more information visit www.dogyogibanyantree.com