Book Review: Break the Norms
Break the Norms
Questioning Everything You Think You Know about God and Truth, Life and Death, Love and Sex
By Chandresh Bhardwaj
Are you ready to overhaul your life and free yourself to follow your deepest passions? Whether you find this question inspiring or nauseating is probably an accurate indicator of what you’ll think of Chandresh Bhardwaj’s Break the Norms: Questioning Everything You Think You Know about God and Truth, Life and Death, Love and Sex.
In the tradition of Deepak Chopra and Oprah spirituality, Bhardwaj argues that you have the power and freedom to live your best life. The message in Break the Norms is that external conditioning—from society, religion, the media, and more—often blocks us from living authentic lives attuned with our unique and divine souls. The remedy for this, Bhardwaj suggests, is learning to see through the conditioning and discover your own truth through a deep relationship with yourself. “When you are being fully yourself,” he writes, “you will start becoming spiritual.”
In little chapters on big subjects—God, sex, and death, among others—Bhardwaj describes common societal attitudes toward the subject (“norms”) and encourages readers to explore these subjects for themselves through questions and exercises (“breakthroughs”). In one chapter on ego, Bhardwaj writes, “Desires have become like compulsive disorders. We either obsess over what we want, or we obsess over how to stop desiring.” The breakthrough, he says, is to cultivate conscious desires because “following your conscious desires is the best ticket to both inner and outer happiness.” Tantra, he tells us, is an approach that will benefit those who want both spiritual and worldly success.
Breaking the norms, as Bhardwaj suggests, and freeing ourselves from external conditioning to live according to our conscious desires sounds great. But, leaving aside the question of whether cutting off outside influences is even possible, this approach would require the ability to also question and test our conscious desires in an appropriate way. One can easily imagine the desires of separate and unique souls coming into conflict.