Jan 13, 2008

Zen & the art of Happiness

I just finished Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss. According to the book, the main key to happiness is to just be happy. (Yeah, that sounds weird!) But how do you go about doing that? Well, whatever the situation, just adopt the belief "Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me." And no matter what situation you are in, look at it from the viewpoint of that belief. When you do this, you not only are more happy (with less stress), but you open yourself up to solutions to the "problem."

Now you might have a hard time taking up this belief -- especially when things aren't going so well. But, Chris gives an amazing insight into how this can be true. He states that the above belief is really an Universal law. And that all Universal laws "are in favor of the continuation of the Universe." And since the Universe want to keep going, to keep expanding, it'll only allow the best possible events to happen -- only the perfect events to happen. Because, once it allows an imperfect event to occur, they that event might lead to two imperfect events and so on, and the Universe might come to an end because of that. So anything that happens to you, is really the Perfect Thing that can happen to you!!

So some inspiring quotes:

The Zen of doing anything is doing it with a particular concentration of mind, a calmness and simplicity of mind, that brings the experience of enlightenment and, through that experience, happiness. [p 10]
A situation only becomes favorable when one adapts to it. [p 88]
How you conduct yourself along the path that is your life determines how your life unfolds. [p 94]
The Universe always strikes you at your weakest point because that's what most needs strengthening. [p 116]
Events are the language of the Universe. [p 134]
What good will come from this? [p 141]

In the middle of the book, Chris talks about his son's addiction to drugs. He narrates a difficult story of the ups and downs of this son's life during that time -- and his (the son's) inability to break the addiction. Finally, the story ends abruptly -- Chris states that his son had a reason (an underlying cause) to use drugs and only after the reason was discovered, was he able to stop his addiction. Thus father and son, with their experience were able to open up Passages Malibu, a holistic addiction cure center. I was kind frustrated by the fact that Chris doesn't really give the crux of the solution -- what his son's reason was and how to go about finding that reason. Instead he refers readers to his other book, The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure: A Holistic Approach to Total Recovery. Well, after reading the book -- I'm not frustrated by the above -- its the best thing that could've happened -- now I have a great opportunity to read a book on addiction & its cure. I wonder "What good will come from this?" [p 141]

Update: Here is one other thing I got from this book -- my thought: "Pretend you have your dream Job (or dream Life) and do the things you would do if you actually had that Job (or Life)."

Jan 9, 2008

Catching the Big Fish

Tonight, I picked up a copy of Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch at the local Barnes & Noble. And I finished reading it in about 2 hours in. Lynch is a Hollywood director (Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, Twin Peaks) who practices Transcendental Meditation. And he talks about how you have to dive deep within yourSelf to catch the Big Creative Ideas. And meditation helps you do that. You become more conscious and more aware of things.

He also talks a bit about teaching kids meditation in schools to help them deal with the stress of life (after all, kids probably have as much stress as their parents!). Quiet interesting. He calls it Consciousness-Based education and funds schools via the David Lynch Foundation.

Here is a quote from the book:

[page 5] I have never missed a meditation in thirty-three years. I meditate once in the morning and again in the afternoon, for about twenty minutes each time. Then I go about the business of my day. And I find that joy of doing increases. Intuition increases. The pleasure of life grows. And negativity recedes.

For sometime now I haven't been good and buying a book, finishing it and moving on to another book. I have at least half-a-dozen books that are half read! That's going to change in 2008!

Jan 3, 2008

Follow your Bliss

From the Joseph Campbell Foundation:

Bill Moyers Do you ever have the sense of... being helped by hidden hands?

Joseph Campbell All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be. [...] My general formula for my students is "Follow your bliss." Find where it is, and don't be afraid to follow it.

That's my new year's resolution: find my bliss & then follow it.