In 1995, Ajaay Kapoor founded the Z Meditation Center in Dharamsala, India.
In Free Your Mind: A Meditation Guide to Freedom and Happiness, he explains how he coined the term ‘Z Meditation’ as a way of describing the process when an individual embarks on a journey with the intention of returning to a more natural state of calmness, balance and happiness which is often lacking in our daily lives.
In defining this process, the author explains that
The vision of Z Meditation is to bring those who are sincere and willing back home.
The methodology that Ajay employs throughout his book in order to attain these goals is somewhat different from that generally followed by spiritual teachers and religious advisors.
Indeed, as he advises in the introduction to his work
…please do not try to finish the book. the best way to read it is through simultaneous contemplation and assimilation.
This clearly is a publication that strays from the traditional. As a way of engaging his readership with this journey, it is formed as a sequence of short, opening statements followed by a list of observations related to it.
The result is a book that offers the reader bite-sized morsels of spiritual advice and guidance which the author hopes will achieve a number of objectives.
These include, but are not solely limited to, the opportunity to recognize and remove all the illusions of understanding, to understand the functioning of the mund, to experientially understand the difference between dreaming and living in reality as well as what it takes to know what it means, and takes, to live in the ‘Here and Now’.
Free Your Mind begins with a series of insights into the best mental approach needed for successful meditation. This includes the right form of preparatory breathing, the mental intonation if the OM mantra, as well as advuce on how to deal with any stray thoughts that spontaneously arise from the unconscious.
The first of many spiritual commentaries then follows including an examination of the illusion of duality. Here, the author begins with a typical relationship issue that can often develop between both partners. This leads onto a consideration of the nature of reality as being purely illusionary.
This format of writing establishes the pattern which underpins the whole book—that of practical daily issues being unwoven and resolved through the delicate and considered application of core Buddhist philosophy.
Alongside relationship challenges, the author also looks at the roots of personal pain, unhappiness, common societal beliefs, personal attachment, acceptance of others and, ultimately, the nature of the path that leads to inner peace.
The book closes with a number of general questions about meditation—its goal, function and ways of accessing truth through quietude.
Free Your Mind is not a speedy read—nor is it meant to be. Its slightly unorthodox construction means that it presents its insights in such a way that its information demands to be slowly savoured and engaged with at a deeper level of the mind.
The trouble is that whilst I appreciated the approach to spiritual guidance that the book offers, I failed to connect to the information and insights being offered within its pages.
Now, I wholly accept that this might be due to a difference in cultural emphasis, to a confusion between Eastern and Western perceptions, or even that it is due to simply an inherent defect within me but, overall, I found it difficult to engage with the multitude of overly simplistic statements that form the core philosophy behind this book’s teachings.
At those times when the book does work, it offers some sound and solid Eastern philosophy but nothing that—for me anyway—stands out as being particuarly noteworthy.
However, I can readily accept that this form of natural and simplistic philosophy works well back in its native land. Sadly, in a Western world, where one’s life is a constant struggle, this simplistic approach of non-engagement often serves as a recipe for personal disaster.
Free Your Mind is a book of traditional Buddhist insights presented in an untraditional way.