In Clear Quiet Mind: Four Simple Steps to Deep Inner Peace, author Kevin Schoeninger provides techniques for relaxation, overcoming negativity, and welcoming new opportunities in life.
A life coach and personal trainer, Schoeninger brings an impressive degree of expertise and experience to the book, which helps elevate it over self-help books of its kind, as the book feels in part like undertaking one of his personal training sessions. As such, the book isn’t so much “self”-help, as a book with a guide.
The book definitely has a spiritual perspective, so it is best suited to those readers who come to the book within that mindset. Schoeninger begins the book by asking the reader to imagine that they are a spiritual being, having come into existence to have certain experiences. Taking the spiritual perspective helps circumvent mental hyperactivity, helping develop a Clear Quiet Mind (CQM). When a mind is overactive, a person tries to control and change circumstances based on preconceptions of the best possible outcome. But, Schoeninger stresses, that is not actually possible because there is no limit to the changeability of any given event, and no way to accurately predict any outcome.
To access the CQM, Schoeninger presents numerous exercises, all underpinned with thoughtful concepts. He recommends keeping a journal, meditation, and breathing techniques, particularly conscious breathing, which is part of Qigong, a discipline in which he holds a certification as a Meditation Master Instructor. Overcoming one’s fears is a key factor in reaching CQM; stress and its related ailments prevent one from relaxing sufficiently to think clearly. He offers a number of methods to analyze your fears, overcome irrational thoughts, and forgive yourself and others.
The crucial elements in finding your silent, peaceful space is to recognize where you’re coming from and accept that how you think things are is not necessarily the way they are. From there, you can let go of preconceived notions, access the CQM for personal relaxation and meditation, and finally, welcome new ideas that arise, springing from your deepest intuition. It’s an ambitious goal he sets out for the reader, but it certainly seems achievable by book’s end.
All of these precepts sound good on the surface, but can seem like lip service in the wrong hands. Schoeninger is a careful and enthusiastic guide – the book does not come off as wishful thinking, as he provides useful exercises to help achieve these goals, as well as examples of how this process works to lead us to new opportunities and life-enhancing experiences. Core to the book’s effectiveness is Schoeninger’s optimism about what anyone is capable of achieving. He is clearly convinced of the efficacy of his method, which should inspire readers to feel the same.
The book could have had a subtler approach to the spiritual content of the book, as it may turn certain readers off at the outset, but for those readers who are already on board with this mode of thinking, Schoeninger’s system for gaining inner peace is well-organized and eloquently expressed. Following the author’s instructions step by step, it is reasonable to anticipate that a dedicated reader will be able to reach the stated goal embodied in the book’s title – a clear, quiet mind – making this book a uniquely effective work of spiritual self-help.
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