Book Review: I Met A Monk by Rose Elliot
I was saying goodbye to my family after spending the day together, when my Grandma gave me a brown paper bag.
“I think you’ll like this”, she said, “Rose Elliot is a vegetarian cook and she has written a book on mindfulness and meditation. I just finished it myself.”
Being a life-long vegetarian, I am ashamed to say I had not come across Rose Elliot before, but my Grandma has been following her cooking for years. On the drive home, I got stuck into my new read.
I Met A Monk tells the story of a diverse group of individuals that meet weekly at Elliot’s house to learn from a Buddhist monk. Across 8 weeks, the monk teaches them how to find happiness, freedom and peace through mindfulness and meditation.
As was her aim, you feel like you are a fly on the wall, watching over the classes. Each week cover’s a different topic, all featuring an unofficial Q&A as the participants get curious. She peppers the teachings with autobiographical stories and her own musings around what lessons resonate most.
The book focuses on the Four Noble Truths which confronts the topic of suffering and how to acknowledge, accept and let go of it. As I journeyed through the 8 weeks and the layers of information became more complex I couldn’t help but think Elliot, as a cook book writer, was well suited to telling this story. Her writing style is clear, methodical and engages you easily, like she’s writing a recipe for life.
The book is designed for absolute beginners. I started with some meditation under my belt but the book takes you right from the basics. My little knowledge on the subject hardly scratched the surface. Every chapter had me jotting down notes and finding inspiration.
A big struggle for me with this book as with any self-development book for that matter, is how I can find a way to translate it from theory to action. The characters in the book ask helpful questions that relate to their real lives. You oversee them figuring out how they will adopt their new learnings and it helps you to do the same. Some of the rules sunk in somewhat subconsciously but most others I’ve had to consciously and constantly integrate into day to day life.
Since finishing the book my meditation practice has never been so consistent and I am approaching it with a new, more educated perspective. I am more focused during a 20 minute session and have an overall feeling of calm that carries me from meditation to life. I am also eating better than ever since I put in an Amazon order for a couple of Elliot's cookbooks!
All in all Rose Elliot has come into my life and made it a happier and more peaceful one. Get your own copy of I Met A Monk here and if you are keen to give meditation a go I really recommend the guided meditation app Headspace.