“Not letting my mind get locked in negativity made space for something else to emerge.” – Dan Harris
I just finished reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris. This book really resounded with me and I wanted to share a recommendation with all of you!
I do not deal with stress well. In fact, I deal with it rather poorly. The stress in my life has adversely impacted my health. It is a daily struggle to cope and to endure. Some of this stress is natural – things that occur just as a basis of living. I find that a good percentage of my stress, however, comes from my feeling the need to live up to certain expectations. So, for a little over a year, I have been trying various strategies to help me cope better with this demon in my life. I have found that exercise helps me, as does making sure I have a few minutes every day to just sit and be in the moment.
I ran across 10% Happier several months ago and bought the Kindle version. It sat on my device and I kind of forgot it was there. Then, a few weeks ago, I ran across a new podcast. (Note: I’m a podcast junkie. So, if you are listening to a good one, send it over!) This podcast is called 10% Happier with Dan Harris. The description sounded like something that I would enjoy and maybe learn a little something in the process of listening. So, I subscribed and downloaded the first few episodes to my iPod. It is a fairly new podcast, so I have been able to listen to nearly all of the episodes as I write this post. I listened to the first episode, featuring the Dalai Lama, and I was intrigued. I listened to the second episode, featuring Weezer’s River Cuomo and I was hooked. I really cannot get enough of this podcast nor recommend it highly enough.
After I had listened to several episodes, I was looking for a new book to read and was scouring my Kindle when I ran across the book. I started reading and I devoured the text. Reading about Dan Harris’ struggles with panic attacks, constant mental chatter, and wanting to find a way to combat these demons resounded within me. There is a point toward the end of the book where he writes, “When worrying about the future, I learned to ask myself: What do I really want?” I have thought about this sentence frequently since that moment. In the book, he talks about his downward spiral, his relationships with his family, coworkers, and the people that he has had the chance to meet and interview. He talks about Eckart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Mark Epstein, Joseph Goldstein, and Sharon Salzberg. The latter three have books that I have already put onto my want-to-read list. He also spends some time talking about the ego and how that impacts how we view ourselves and react to situations.
I am a person with strong spiritual beliefs and this idea of mindfulness and meditation is something that I am going to explore. I do not believe that it takes away from what I do believe and where I find answers to my prayers. I believe that meditation enables a person to get to know themselves, their triggers, and how to quiet the inner turmoil. Faith and mindfulness seem to go hand in hand.
So, I suppose I am going to go down this road and see where it takes me. Hopefully, I will find myself in a place where the stress seems not so difficult to manage and where the voices in my head do not dictate the actions that I take and the responses that I feel impelled to make daily. I’m hoping that I will find balance.
Read the book, listen to the podcast, and maybe check out the 10% Happier App (I haven’t checked that one out yet so I cannot recommend yet). Let me know your thoughts on meditation, mindfulness, and the book/podcast!
Peace and love,
The Mad Pianist