Join in the final discussion of our March Book Club pick, 10% Happier by Dan Harris…
“Everyone wants the same thing — happiness — but we all go about it with varying levels of skill.”
10%. That was the number that drew me into this book. It felt doable, a percentage with enough weight behind it to warrant investigation, but not too much as to inspire doubt. As I’m sure it’s the case with many of you, I’ve been interested in meditation for awhile now, but always felt too intimidated to dip my toes in. My racing mind and forward motion always a cause for excuses, a cause to throw in the towel. But the desire in my heart and mind for clarity, quiet and concentration (pardon the alliteration) too strong to let go of the interest. And so, four weeks ago, I found myself clicking ‘submit order’ on Amazon for a book about meditation, written by a newscaster.
Would it inspire me to meditate?
Would I be able to meditate?
I had my doubts, but almost as soon as I cracked the cover open, I was pulled in by Harris’s story. It didn’t hurt that similar questions were being asked by Harris as were asked by January’s author, Elizabeth Gilbert. Is suffering an innate aspect of creativity? Do we need to be miserable in order to be successful? Can we be ambitious and nice? Of course I had my own questions, too…namely, how do I make myself 10% Happier? Tell me now.
I’ll admit to you that the self-help genre is one I typically steer away from. I enjoy reading about the journeys of others, but so often it feels SH is riddled with pious accounts of the authors living above the fray. Above the pain and realities of the world, above the troubles of their readers. Not so with 10%, here the reader is right there with Harris, given a first-hand account of his journey, one that is often flawed and frustrating and, as admitted by the author, one that is still taking shape. Meditation, I’ve learned — through this book and through shaking, wobbling personal practice — takes time. To sound like a real jerk, “it’s a journey, not a destination” (sorry). Sitting in my darkened living room at 5:45am, with thoughts slamming around my head as I try to focus, it’s tempting to throw in the towel. But this too takes practice, and the payoff comes at the most unexpected of times. When I’m driving to work and realize I’ve somehow gone down the rabbit hole of a negative memory and have begun chastising myself before 9am (for things I did fifteen years ago), I remember to breathe. To inhale, and exhale, and clear my brain of the clouds of negative thinking that threaten to bear down before the day has even begun. This has been the payoff of just a few weeks of reading, and so I’m excited to utilize the tips offered at the end of Harris’s book to further my own quest for enlightenment… or something like it.
+ Did you read this month’s book club pick? What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments!
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