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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, Challenging, and Life-Changing
Stryker bases his book on four "desires" derived from the Hindu religion. They are dharma (the desire to fulfill your life's purpose), artha (the desire for means, such as money and security), kama (the longing for pleasure), and moksha (the desire for freedom and spiritual fulfillment).

Because most of the concepts were new to me, I found the book challenging,...
Published on June 3, 2011 by David Bennett

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting at times...Boring at times...
So I like this book, but it was a little boring at times. I love the small stories because they kept me alert, but I wanted more details. For example, I'll make something up real quick-let's say a girl ran across the highway and made it safely to the other side. I want to know if she witnessed a car crash, if there was traffic or if she had to avoid a speeding motorcycle...
Published on October 11, 2011 by BettyBoop


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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, Challenging, and Life-Changing, June 3, 2011
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This review is from: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (Hardcover)
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Stryker bases his book on four "desires" derived from the Hindu religion. They are dharma (the desire to fulfill your life's purpose), artha (the desire for means, such as money and security), kama (the longing for pleasure), and moksha (the desire for freedom and spiritual fulfillment).

Because most of the concepts were new to me, I found the book challenging, but satisfying. Basically, Stryker uses the "four desires" to help the reader find his or her purpose in life by identifying inner desires and fulfilling them. Starting with finding your overall purpose in life (your "Dharma Code"), Stryker then provides meditative exercises which guide readers to explore inside their minds, to develop more specific goals and aspirations. Exercises include "Forty-Eight Hours of Fearless Action" and "Relaxing Into Greatness." Sometimes what the rational mind thinks is one's life purpose (such as "make a lot of money") might conflict with what the entire self really wants from life. Fortunately Stryker provides ways to bypass the conscious mind and overcome mental obstacles. I should note that this is not a book about satisfying every selfish whim. "Desire" in Eastern philosophy is much more complicated than this, and the highest forms of desire are selfless.

The book made me reflect on my purpose in life. I never really thought about an overarching purpose before, and when I did, I tended to think of it as relating to my career or completing educational hurdles. His ideas got me thinking more deeply about my purpose in life and what hinders my own self-development. He strikes a balance between spirituality and science, and even though the book is largely Eastern in character, he includes Western wisdom too, including Biblical quotes. You don't have to embrace Hinduism to use this book; skeptics and Christians can appreciate it, although there is a strong Eastern spiritual component to it. I am still exploring my purpose, but I have determined that it likely relates to making connections with God and people, and enriching the lives of those whom I meet (as a Christian, I would frame it as more perfectly loving God and neighbor).

Even though I really liked this book, to be complete, let me list a few things that some readers may not like about the book. First, many of the terms will be new for Westerners. I found them hard to pronounce and remember. Stryker explains them well, and it is worth the reader's time to learn them. Second, many of the meditation exercises can't be done very well unless you listen to them. Stryker sells a CD with them on it, or you can record them yourself. The former costs money, the latter takes up a good deal of time. Third, the book is long. With over 300 pages, reading it requires commitment. Fourth, the book might be too spiritual for some readers, even though Stryker tries to include scientific information to back up certain claims. Finally, to get a lot out of it, you will have to invest time to complete the exercises. Some of them are pretty involved and all of them require you to consider the possibility of personal change.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and learned a lot about the philosophical side of Yoga (it is more than just poses!). It is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Most importantly, I better understand my purpose in life and have tools to continue to discern my purpose and how I can achieve it. The book can be challenging, both in content and what it asks you to do, but it is worth the effort. I highly recommend it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dharma, Kama, Artha, and Moksha, July 21, 2011
This review is from: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (Hardcover)
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This book shows you how to find Dharma, Kama, Artha, and Moksha in your life, through meditation, yoga poses, and exercises that reveal what is in your heart, what your unique Dharma is, and how you can create the life you dream about.

Dharma is your purpose in life. It can be a career, or if you can't make a living from it yet are compelled to do it anyway, it could be a calling. Perhaps you will have to make a living another way to support yourself, but that will be all right because you are fulfilling your purpose in life.

Kama is pleasure, and that covers a lot of ground, like good food, love, happiness, and enjoyment of Art, Music, and Literature. Though you can overindulge or sometimes find that desire is infinite, and you can't really be satisfied, there is nothing wrong with pleasure if it is balanced with the other three desires. You don't have to completely ignore your desire to follow a spiritual path.

Artha is prosperity, but it is also the means to fulfill your other desires. It can be a job, income, shelter, food as fuel to keep going, air to breath, water to drink. It is also concerned with physical health. Whatever it takes to keep you going while you are fulfilling your higher purpose.

Moksha is called Freedom in the title to this book, but it is a kind of peace of mind, or Freedom from worry. It is a kind of detachment and acceptance of whatever happens, a contentment that you can feel in spite of your circumstances.

I enjoyed reading it, but now that I have finished reading it the real work begins. It seems very simple to meditate, but can I do it consistently every day? People read self-help manuals and make resolutions, but how many people follow through? I think that if you follow the simple steps outlined here, you will succeed. There are affirmations, self-hypnosis, and other techniques that will make your wishes come true, but this book doesn't sugar coat the fact that you might have to make changes and adjustments within yourself, and do some actual work, to make things happen.

First the book shows you how to discover your Dharma Code. This is kind of your Mission Statement, what you believe is your highest purpose in life. Then you make a sankalpa, which is like a resolution or goal. The sankalpa should be in line with your Dharma Code, your greater purpose, for it to succeed. Let's say that your sankalpas are goals along the way that lead to your main goal, your Dharma. As you pass each milestone, your confidence grows. You work with it for 6 to 18 months until you manifest the change you envisioned. Then you might make a new one. If you meet resistance you might have a vikalpa, something that on a subconscious level wants the opposite of your sankalpa, and you could be sabotaging your efforts. The book has exercises that will reveal any vikalpas preventing you from realizing your sankalpa. There are all kinds of great exercises that I skimmed over while reading it, but now I am going to put the ideas into practice. One of the meditation techniques is called Relax Into Greatness, and I am sure that I can be really great at relaxing, with the help of this book. Another thing discussed in The Four Desires is The Creation Equation. The Creation Equation is Shakti plus Vayu is greater than Karma, Equals Prapti. Shakti is the initial spark or desire to do something or for something to happen. Vayu is the force or energy you bring to bear on making it happen. Karma is the resistance. Prapti is the goal, what you are trying to manifest.

I think that mediation is a way to still the conscious mind long enough for the wisdom that resides in the subconscious mind to percolate up. The subconscious mind doesn't think in words arranged in linear patterns. Images, feelings, sensations, and maybe you can know things all at the same time, or two or more ideas that seemingly have no connection are discovered to have meaningful connections. The book talks about the unconscious mind, but I have always preferred to think of it as the subconscious mind. Unconscious seems like you are just in a coma or have suffered some kind of blackout. Subconscious seems like a better term, because you are conscious, but it is of a different quality.

Throughout the book there are lots of stories about clients Rod Stryker has had over the years, some who fulfilled their wildest dreams, and some who couldn't. I found this book very down to earth and I could relate to the stories very easily. There was one very good example of someone who had major setbacks in their life but who, looking back, sees that the setbacks were a part of the path that led them to even greater success. This is Steve Jobs, who was fired from Apple, yet formed a new company called Next that was eventually bought out by Apple who then used the new technology they had developed as their new operating system. Steve also developed the computer animation studio called Pixar. He had another setback when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, yet though at first he was told he had only a few months to live, his cancer was curable, and he beat it. He points to those two events, where he really hit bottom, as being things that spurred him on to greater things. This is called a vairagya, or actually vairagya is a kind of detachment from feelings, and one way you can do it is to look at the bad parts of your life and see how they led you to the good.

This is kind of a self-help manual, and I have read a lot of them with varying results. I think this one is very practical. It quotes a lot of people, from George Bernard Shaw to Einstein, from the Bible to the Bhagavad Gita. It can get lofty and metaphysical, yet it is very grounded and down to earth. It draws on a Yoga tradition that is thousands of years old, yet it speaks in a voice that is relevant today. I am very glad to have this book, and now that I have read it, I will keep it, and follow through with the exercises and meditations. I am sure that this book is going to make a very significant change in my life, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a whole course in yoga, June 24, 2011
This review is from: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (Hardcover)
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I have read a number of self-help books and found that most of them were silly with the useless philosophy, "be happy and everything will be alright" or the author could have summed up anything worthwhile he had to say in a short pamphlet. Many of those books are also filled with incomprehensible Psyco Babble BS. This book is quite the opposite. Because I have studied eastern literature such as the Gita for many years and practiced meditation for about 40 years, I am very familiar with many of the ideas, terminology and techniques being taught in this book. The author's knowledge seems to be correct and his practices are both clear and useful. It is doubtful that there is a better book which really teaches life skills and ways to determine whether you are on the best path to be as sucessful and as happy as you can be. His lessons are based on the ancient teachings of the Vedas; his interpretations are easy to follow and in my opinion make sense.
The meditation (TM) that I practice is different from the ones presented in this book, but they do not conflict or take anything away from my practice... so if you already meditate this book will only enhance your knowledge. At age 63 and retired, some of the lessons in this book would have been much more helpful to me at a younger age but I still found many useful and some were life changing for me. The lesson to determine my life work (direction)was a bit late for me since I long ago found myself on "my" perfect path (work). But the exercises to help me determine why some of my desires were not being fulfilled were incredible. I have already noticed changes for the better in my life with a few very simple exercises.If you practice the ideas in the book "The Secret", you might find "The Four Desires" helpful as well. If you like the uplifting stories in "The Autobiography of a Yogi" sweet, you might find some of the stories in this book equally so. This book is a whole course in Yoga (exercise, meditation, knowledge gaining techniques), take what you want or need, leave what you don't. I could not recommend this book any more highly.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dharma Code to Fulfillment, July 7, 2011
This review is from: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (Hardcover)
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The four desires, Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha rule our lives. In order to achieve true happiness, one must learn to live according to his or her Dharma, or to be the person you were meant to be. The trick is to figure out what your Dharma Code is. This book helps you discover what this is and much more. Beware though. It is a lot of work. The steps included within this book are based on yogic philosophy, and they seem to be effective. But it does take effort, time, and some insight. This is a very valuable book for those who want to achieve true happiness and are willing to do the work. It is more of a workbook than a casual read.It is a valuable text.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting at times...Boring at times..., October 11, 2011
This review is from: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (Hardcover)
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So I like this book, but it was a little boring at times. I love the small stories because they kept me alert, but I wanted more details. For example, I'll make something up real quick-let's say a girl ran across the highway and made it safely to the other side. I want to know if she witnessed a car crash, if there was traffic or if she had to avoid a speeding motorcycle etc...The author would describe how a person overcame a situation by changing a certain behavior...but I want to know the details, what exactly happened...that was so nerve-wracking. It was still a good read, but at times it was like a reference book and a little overwhelming.

The book teaches about healing yourself mentally, physically, spiritually and financially. It teaches about natural ancient practices that still work today. It also illustrates a few yoga poses that look silly, but help you focus when you apply them. The author shared personal experiences which were relatable and appreciated.

Overall, if you love to read, buy this book. If you are looking for an easy read, pass on this book. It was smooth sailing at times and slow as molasses at others. This book was so-so for me, but I did learn a few things I didn't know. I enjoyed this book, but it didn't always hold my attention.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Novice-friendly, practical, and applicable, July 3, 2011
This review is from: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (Hardcover)
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I pretty much got this book on a lark. I practice basic yoga and meditate every now and then, but I wouldn't go as far as to consider myself deeply entrenched in the philosophy. So I was mildly surprised at how captivated I was by this. Rod Stryker is quite brilliant at focusing the philosophy and making book-accessible his class, resulting in a thoroughly readable and useful book.

He stays quite simple as he breaks down the Four Desires into understandable terms. He is thoughtful, intelligent, and a fantastic teacher even in the medium of writing. I read the book through the first time without doing most of the exercises, but as I only refrained out of having no way to do them at the time I fully intend on going through with them. I was most impressed at how interactive the book was with these exercises as Stryker instructs us how to focus and find our desires and carry them out. Even without the exercises, the book contains plenty of information and thoughts that are well-worth the read, for pondering's sake.

Stryker is also a fine writer, which is what I feel really sells this book. He's easy to understand, but the writing is still quite good. His voice is clear, and I was charmed by the stories and anecdotes he shared.

The book is full of thoughtful advice, practical advice, meditations, and even focuses on yoga poses. No matter what you need or want, this book will find something to offer you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A plan to your authentic self, June 11, 2011
By 
Pippa Lee (Honolulu, HI USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (Hardcover)
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When I hear the term "yoga", I usually associate it with a form of exercise that brings physical well being by increasing flexibility and decreasing stress. Before reading Rod Stryker's book, "The Four Desires," I would have never thought that yoga could be applied to career and life decision-making.

In "The Four Desires", Mr. Stryker brings to the forefront an often overlooked aim of yoga: the realization of our higher self or soul. The soul has four desires that longs to honor: dharma (the desire to become what we are meant to be), artha (the desire for the means to fulfill our dharma), kama (the desire for pleasure in all forms) and moksha (the desire for spiritual realization and freedom). Fulfilling the four desires is to fulfill our soul and in doing so, our life's unique purpose.

In his book, Mr. Stryker lays out a methodical plan for uncovering what he calls, our dharma code (the soul's purpose), for selecting our "best" desire, for creating goals and for committing to a resolution (sankalpa) to achieve our chosen desire as well as ways to dealing with the obstacles that we may find in our way to living according to our dharma code. These obstacles are often internal such as fears, negative beliefs, resistance to change, and procrastination. Thorough the plan, it becomes evident that cultivating spiritual and mental discipline is the key to succeeding in finding and living in harmony with our inner voice.

I was amazed at how this book seemed to speak to me. I guess that it is because I'm no stranger to introspection and following the process of "The Four Desires" requires a lot of it. The writing exercises featured in the book help bring awareness to what we wish for ourselves. They uncover negative thinking patterns (contrary desires) that may be ruling our behavior and assist in identifying the consequences we might face if we don't commit to our resolutions. Thorough the book Mr. Stryker also shares meditation practices to train the mind to access the resources that reside deep in ourselves: our intuition and wisdom, our shatki (energy to accomplish our resolutions), and our non-attachment.

The meditation practices are also featured on a CD that is not included with the book. If readers are not willing to buy the CD separately, the author suggests that they can make their own recordings but I have to caution that if you're not used to listening to your own recorded voice, you're going to find it quite distracting. Also, few people have a soundproofed room so unless you have one, be prepared to capture in your recording all sorts of background noises such as passing cars, barking dogs, and singing birds (I didn't mind this last one at all though). Another problem is that if you're a bit impatient like me, allowing for those necessary 2- or 15-minute silent breaks (between instructions) in your meditation tape is going to be hard. My suggestion to the publisher is to make available to the public a version of the book that includes the CD with it and price it accordingly.

Just reading and following the exercises and meditations in "The Four Desires" have given me a lot of insight and inspiration that I needed in my life. What readers may get out from this book is closely linked to how much they are willing to turn inward and on how honest they can be with themselves. The process of self-analysis and self-examination can be emotionally exhausting but rewarding in the end. This book is not a quick, guerrilla guide to the right career. Instead, Mr. Stryker suggests incorporating the principles and techniques presented in his book into our lives as a practice. In doing yoga, we repeat the poses until we can do them properly. Teaching ourselves to follow the higher Self is much the same. As in a yoga practice, to improve our lives requires constant adjustment, commitment, perseverance, discipline and love.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning to Help Yourself, June 21, 2011
This review is from: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (Hardcover)
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I liked this book because it is not about self-help but helping yourself to a healthy life. There is so much talk about a quick fix or easy solution that does not exist. Each of us has baggage and our childhood marked us for life but that does mean you can't get some wheels on that luggage and move it around instead of being drug down by it. In this book you tap into the inner being by discovering what you can do from what you are and how to take your imperfections and make them your greatest strengths. I believe the basis of all healing comes from a belief in something greater than yourself and whatever form it takes on for you this book will help you tap into it and get you to the place of healing and restoration we all long for.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Look at Yoga, July 20, 2011
This review is from: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (Hardcover)
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The Four Desires : Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom by Rod Stryker, is a different view of yoga and what you can get from the practice and philosophy of yoga. Stryker walks you through the spiritual side of yoga from the point of view of the ancient spiritual tradition of the Vedas. The purpose of this book is to guide the reader to a state of spiritual realization through the practice of yoga, not just doing the breathing and stretching that most people think of when they think of yoga. Stryker states that yoga has less to do with your body or controlling your mind, than it does with realizing your full potential.

The author guides the reader through this process by discussing four distinct desires. I will not list them here as many people have already done so in their reviews. According to The Four Desires, these four areas are very important to fulfilling your unique potential and enabling you to live your life to the fullest with purpose. This book guides the reader with a series of steps to follow, key teachings from the ancient Vedas, exercises, techniques, and finally gives the reader real-life examples of people who have been successful in this process. The Four Desires also includes different mediation practices to help you with this process.

I found this book to be an interesting read, especially for anyone who may be interested in ancient traditions, yoga, or spiritual practices. To quote The Upanishads, "Follow that advice of mine which is good and helpful for your progress, and neglect even my own advice which is not." This is the way to approach this book. Use the parts that you find useful and disregard the parts that you find don't resonate with your spirit. I think you will find plenty in this book that you will find "good and helpful." It is well-written and keeps you reading and thinking. I give it 4 stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional ... Finally... a real book on YOGA!, June 22, 2011
By 
Amber FLYNN (Encinitas, California USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (Hardcover)
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I was very excited to receive this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program and I must say..... I was not disappointed!! I have been a lifelong student and teacher of Yoga (30 years) and also a practicing Vedic Astrologer. I felt excited to review a product of a topic of which I am very familiar.

This book is the very first of its kind, and much needed in the Western world of Yoga. Why? Because it is written with a Westernized and practical understanding of the Four Purusharthas.

What are the Four Purusharthas? They are the very foundation of a Yogic practice in the Eastern Tradition. In the Vedic tradition an individual can realize him or her self by balancing and fulfilling these four objectives. These four objectives are not independent of each other and should be viewed together. What this book does is take these four principles and link them together to help you actually USE them in your life. Brilliant!

This book is also full of lots of tools, visualization techniques, along with many great examples of personal experiences of those who have utilized the techniques. If you are ready for a book that will actively help you to involve yourself... get ready. This book has soooo many practical and useful exercises that I found myself getting out a pen and notebook and actually doing them.

What Rod has done here is write about the four principles and help you to apply them in a VERY practical and usable way. He also helps you to learn how to understand, deepen and experience these four amazing principles. This is a guidebook and a very helpful manual. Whether you practice Yoga or Meditate, or NOT, this book is for anyone who wants to deepen their life purpose and have a guidebook to use along the way.

If you are ready to deepen your awareness of a part of your Yoga Practice that has to do with the ACTUAL application of deeper principles then this is the book for you. If you want to still think that Yoga is about being able to stand on your head, or bend forward then don't read this book. This is real Yoga. This is what the ancient sages were actually talking about. And Rod has written a book that actually makes it available to our Western Minds. Bravo Rod. Great Job! I will be gifting this book to many of my fellow Yoga friends and family.
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