It’s been awhile since I read this book, but I’m looking over my notes from it. (Yes, I keep a notebook of all my notes from every book I read. Don’t judge me!)
I love reading about other people’s struggles. That sounds bad. I love reading about how other people push through their struggles and come out stronger on the other side. Better. It does two things for me: First – puts my small problems into perspective, and Second – gives me more resources for my toolkit of battling adversity!
- Your demons may be ejected from the building, but now they’re in the parking lot doing pushups.
- The ego is constantly comparing itself to others. It has us measuring our self worth against the looks, wealth, and social status of everyone else.
- The ego is obsessed with the past and the future, all at the expense of the present.
- 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 o the next one. That is continuous stress.
- What mindfulness does is create some space in your head so you can ‘respond’ rather than simply ‘react’ In the Buddhists view, you can’t control what comes up in your head, it all arises out of a mysterious void. We spend a lot of time judging ourselves harshly for feelings that we had no role in summoning. The thing you can control is how you handle it.
- 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.
- Striving is fine, as long as its 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 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 if you fail, you will me 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.