The Best Highlights from 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story
“Make the present moment your friend rather than your enemy. Because many people live habitually as if the present moment were an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment. And imagine living your whole life like that, where always this moment is never quite right, not good enough because you need to get to the next one. That is continuous stress.”
The final step—“non-identification”—meant seeing that just because I was feeling angry or jealous or fearful, that did not render me a permanently angry or jealous person. These were just passing states of mind.
The ego is never satisfied. No matter how much stuff we buy, no matter how many arguments we win or delicious meals we consume, the ego never feels complete.
We live so much of our lives pushed forward by these “if only” thoughts, and yet the itch remains. The pursuit of happiness becomes the source of our unhappiness.
The Buddha captured it well when he said that anger, which can be so seductive at first, has “a honeyed tip” but a “poisoned root.”
“You create little spaces in your daily life where you are aware but not thinking,” he said. “For example, you take one conscious breath.”
“Meditation is not about feeling a certain way. It’s about feeling the way you feel.”
The Way of the Worrier 1. Don’t Be a Jerk 2. When Necessary, Hide the Zen 3. Meditate 4. The Price of Security Is Insecurity—Until It’s Not Useful 5. Equanimity Is Not the Enemy of Creativity 6. Don’t Force It 7. Humility Prevents Humiliation 8. Go Easy with the Internal Cattle Prod 9. Nonattachment to Results 10.
Striving is fine, as long as it’s tempered by the realization that, in an entropic universe, the final outcome is out of your control. If you don’t waste your energy on variables you cannot influence, you can focus much more effectively on those you can. When you are wisely ambitious, you do everything you can to succeed, but you are not attached to the outcome—so that if you fail, you will be maximally resilient, able to get up, dust yourself off, and get back in the fray. That, to use a loaded term, is enlightened self-interest.
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