Tag Archives: Eckhart Tolle

10% Happier,…a review

An Audible book review — 10% Happier, by Dan Harris

Stories have a way of capturing us.  Given that the author is in the story-making business, he creatively loops several facets of meditation, vis-a-vis a series of real-life tales, into a mainstream mindset.  Overall, I found 10% Happier entertaining and well worth the listen.

Admittedly, I didn’t know who the author was when I came across this book.  Being part of a major news network contributed a degree of credibility to the narrative, especially since he had the ability, and apparently, the desire, to interview a broad cross-section of leaders on the ‘spiritual’ side of the self-help business.  He, therefore, brings an objective, albeit at times somewhat inelastic, perspective to the concept of meditation.

It was slightly off-putting, for example, that he needed to dis Eckhart Tolle right out of the gate, even though Tolle’s book, A New Earth, which he admittedly read three times before he started his journey, opened the door into a life-changing, philosophical shift in his thinking.  His curious derision for Tolle seemed to be affected not only by concepts he evidently couldn’t grasp but also by his wardrobe.  Thankfully, Harris somewhat redeemed himself in the epilogue, reluctantly giving Tolle (some) credit.

At times, it seemed like he was writing the book for his colleagues at ABC, perhaps to explain spats of conduct as well as elucidate the logic for his path into the quasi-spiritual world.  Still, the book was highly engaging, with humorous bouts of self-deprecation and a partial inside view of the high-stress world of network news.

Apart from his highly skeptical nature — if there is no proof, and it’s not mainstream, then it borders fringe or beyond unless someone he respects provides scientific and logical evidence — Harris comes across relatively open, honest, with hefty doses of witty tongue-in-cheek, which adds to his likability.

For anyone wanting to increase their English vocabulary, I’d recommend the written book.  Because I listened to the narrated version, I was (slightly) better able to understand, if only in context, the abundance of unfamiliar flowery words and phrases peppered throughout.  Reading such a bounty of unusual words would have stopped me in my tracks more often than I would have liked (but that may be a good thing).

What I particularly liked about the book, besides the evocative anecdotes, is his method of spreading the value of meditation, which, because of his unique media role and presentation style, takes some of the mysteriousness out of an opaque topic.  I’ve been on the cusp of starting this lifestyle practice for too long.  After listening to the book, I’m a convert.  Meditation, as it’s evidently been scientifically proven, is an exercise with only constructive upside benefits.

Even though I was slightly annoyed about the Tolle dissing, (it was useful mindfulness practice anyhow), I found myself wanting more when it ended.  Hence, I’ve already pre-ordered his new guidelines coming out in Dec 2017.  I’m at least 10% more motivated.

P.S.
Suggestion: Harris closed the book with a self-developed list of ten useful “precepts.”  I’d recommend changing #1 from “don’t be a jerk” to “be kind.”  It’s easier to be something than not being something.  Besides, jerk is relative, and kindness precludes jerkness.

Four Books

That just may enrich your life.  Sure, there’s an avalanche of perspective-changing books floating around.  But the following four are damn worthy of a read or listen if you are up for possible improvement.

A New Earth — Eckhart Tolle a-new-earth

Mentioned in a post last year, this book helps put spirituality in context.  Grounded in logic with valuable pointers for almost anyone, of any point of view, to be better humans.  The last couple of chapters are especially profound.  We alone posess ownership of our  “happiness” destiny.  If you are not a highly-developed spiritual yogi, this book is a perspective-expander for the everyday hu-man.

Deep Nutrition — Catherine Shanahan, Luke Shanahan

deep-nutrition

Just out this year, this book breaks down, in detail, how our diets have changed dramatically over the last hundred years, which coincide to the rise in the majority of health problems, and why.  This is pertinent to societies anywhere in the world as it becomes increasingly challenging to avoid industrially prepared (altered) food.  The authors explain how the two biggest culprits, vegetable oils and sugar, have combined to create wide-scale toxic damage which is having compromising physical effects not only on us, but also detrimental hereditary effects.  The medical community at large is considerably fuzzy over how alterted food has chromosonal and molecular effects (look no further than what almost every hospital serves its patients). If you can stomach the details, this is a must read.

Extra Virginity — Tom Muellerextra-virginity

Getting past the history at the beginning, this book explains how much of the olive oil in the market today, the world’s oldest and most prized “healthy” oil, has been corrupted by mafia organizations, and more recently by global food congolermates.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil,  actually a fruit juice, is known to have complex antioxidant properties with an abundance of health benefits.  Unfortunately, the majority of Extra Virgin Olive Oil sold in supermarkets around the world has been bastardized (contaminated), mixed with cheap seed oil and perfumed, almost impossible to detect without thorough testing.  The EU and the FDA are virtually powerless to stop the blatant misrepresentation.  It’s simply too costly.  For anyone who doesn’t use (real) olive oil, well, too bad for them.  For anyone who does, it’s an engrossing and educational read for buyer beware.

sapiensSapiens, (A Brief History of Mankind) — Yuval Noah Harari

You might not be able to take individual action based on this book, but the author eloquently lays out the history of man, offering a bird’s eye perspective of how humankind has evolved.  We think what is going on in our individual worlds and societies as all-important.  This book provides an intelligent, macro frame of reference, helping to contextualize how we, civilizations, and now nations, have transformed to interact with each other (and are continuing to do so).

 

 

 

the good book(s)

We’ve all read books that have had an impact on us.  Up until last month, there have been three books that have served me well over the years, all related to physical fitness.  Fit For Life, Younger Next Year, and Weight Training for Cyclists, all had (have) what I considered positive and practical lifestyle aspects for just about anyone (yes non-cyclists too).

Then recently, I revisited a book I had read about 10 years ago and listened to another by the same author.  They about knocked me off my feet.  I’m still floored by the concept.   They are also fitness and lifestyle related, except they focus on mental, emotional, and dare I say, spiritual health.  So simple is the single thread that runs throughout both books, yet deeply profound.  I listened to both as audiobooks, a total of about 17 hours, and each one had me captivated, almost spellbound, every moment I had the headphones on.

I’d been trying to convince myself, especially since DOD passed away, that life is not out in front, somewhere beyond, but right here, right now.  The obstacle has been the overworked and ever so inefficient voice in the head.  The books had me captivated by the powerful and logical idea of thought management.  Or rather, the idea of no thought.

The author is Eckart Tolle and the books are The Power of Now (just under eight hours) and A New Earth (9 hrs 15 mins).  I caught myself reacting with “WHOA” out loud at several points while listening to the last two chapters of A New Earth, the message resonated so deeply.  Never before have I connected with a concept, which, really, boils down to the only thing important in life.  Now.  As Tolle explains so logically, presence, or now, is the only thing that is.  There is nothing else.  He spells out beautifully that the lack of  presence, or a state of now, is why we get angry, upset, anxious, fearful, irritated, frustrated, jealous, have negative thoughts and arguments, and why we react (to our ego mind).  It’s a simple concept, yet deep beyond words.  It’s a matter of awakening, and staying awake (the challenging part).

The books are extremely enlightening.  And yes, pave the way to enlightenment in uncomplicated language.  The easy part is knowing the path is there.  The hard part will be the constant jousting with the voice — allowing it (voice in the head) to take more breaks, to be still more often.

If enough people read or listened to these books and absorbed a portion of the essence, the world would be a much different place.  The message, listened to with receptiveness, is life changing.  And without sounding too dramatic, could be earth changing.

Anyone reading this blog post who has not recently read these books (audio versions of the author are more impactful and actually a treat), and you’ve thought about that voice in your head, or even if you haven’t, listening to these two Tolle books will be a gift you’ll be so glad you gave yourself.