I’ve always had an interest in meditation. This probably started in university when I had a lot going on in my life and I didn’t quite know how to handle all the situations that I was facing at that time. I’ve never been religious because I feel that too many religions are too dogmatic and I’ve also met my fair share of people who are dogmatic about religion and in private, are quick to denounce the beliefs of other religions as untrue. In short, I couldn’t and still can’t bring myself to conform to any singular religion because of the fundamentalist factions within many of the major world religions.

What first attracted me to meditation was the fact that while meditation originated from Buddhism (which is a religion), it can be treated as a non-religious practice. In fact, Buddhism originated as a philosophy and it was only after making its way through China that Buddhism (at least the version that is popular among the Chinese) incorporated more rituals.

Anyway, back to meditation. Many practitioners of the art have shown that there are numerous lab-tested benefits to meditation and Tan Chade-Meng’s latest book, “Joy on Demand” is a nice introduction to the practice and field of meditation. Tan was first, an engineer at Google and then more popularly known as Google’s jolly good fellow (that nobody can deny) where he also created the course “Search Inside Yourself”, teaching his colleagues how to practice meditation. This led to his first book with the same title as his course and now he has moved on to teaching and practicing meditation more widely.

I like the fact that in his latest book, Tan shares anecdotes of his struggles as a novice meditator and that Joy on Demand is much shorter than his first one while dispensing pretty much the same practical advice and evidence for the benefits of meditation. However, his style of humour takes getting used to. To me, it still feels kind of forced.

The book also dispenses useful insights on the emotions that a practitioner might feel at different stages of his/her practice and I’ve begun to notice this in life. For example, being mindful has led me to understand why some people might get upset when certain events happen. What gets me frustrated, sometimes, is when I wonder why people don’t see that their same actions lead to the same emotions that they feel. I’ve begun to feel frustrated when  I see people get upset about the same things that result from their same actions without realising that they could change how they feel simply by being aware. However, reflecting on my own emotions made me realise that I ought to change the way I view things.

Overall, I like Joy on Demand much better than his first book and while I still haven’t formed a formal meditation practice, I have tried baby steps suggested in the book like practicing my breathing whenever I have to wait at the traffic light or when I’m in a queue.

If you want to buy the book from Amazon, doing so through this link leaves me a little tip that goes towards my coffee fund.