“The Urban Monk” by Pedram Shojai.

Shake Like an Impala

"The Urban Monk" by Pedram Shojai.
“The Urban Monk” by Pedram Shojai.

I finished reading “The Urban Monk” a week or so ago. I appreciated the book’s take on how to deal with centering one’s self when living in the chaotic “real” world, as opposed to living in a secluded cave somewhere and meditating all day. (Much easier to reach enlightenment if all you have are your own thoughts. Or maybe that’s the way to self-delusion, which might feel like enlightenment.)

The book is an easy read, with quite a lot of info I’ve seen in other such books, but there were a number of exercises that were new to me, which made it worth the read. One exercise in particular, which I call “Shake Like an Impala,” seemed especially useful. The author, Pedram Shojai, calls it “Shaking It Out.” It is a qigong exercise used for discharging excess stress. In the explanation of the exercise, Shojai points out that an impala, after having been chased by a predator, shakes and trembles after its encounter … basically shaking off the stress. That image led to my name for the exercise and, let me tell you, it does feel pretty good, kinda loosens everything up. (See pages 17-19 in the hardcover version of the book for this exercise.)

There were a couple of things that annoyed me about the book … not enough to stop reading, mind you, but annoying nonetheless. One was the author’s near-constant use of the words “shit” and “bullshit.” I have no problem with swear words, but when you use the same swear words on practically every other page, it’s time to expand your vocabulary. I’d love to see a count of how many times these words appear in the book.

The second annoyance was the constant referral to exercises in the back of the book, which then refers you to the author’s website. It’s fine to have web content to enhance a book, but there is no access to the web content if you have checked the book out of the library, like I did. While I don’t begrudge the author making a buck, perhaps a forewarning that you need to have a receipt from purchasing the book to access the web content would be in order. (Was the warning there and I missed it?)