I don’t know if you know Alan Watts, but I would play his lectures on repeat in my late teens. This was before I could splurge on books, so I never got to read any of his works, but the zen, acceptance and peaceful joyous way of looking at life is what I got through this book.
“A New Earth” is a must-read. It’s an antidote to modern life and its miseries. It’s what “the Courage to be Disliked” tries to be, but written better, less extreme, and more considerate of the realities of navigating the world. I absolutely loved it.
It gave words to the ways of thinking I often just barely get to consider, accidentally stumble upon and then easily forget and fall out of. It hit the nail on the head and really verbalised ways of viewing the world and reality that truly deeply resonate with me, and at least for today, has given me a new level of peace.
It’s definitely a book I’ll be returning to.
- It is dangerous to assign value to your body, if you do that, you will always be tied to it. When beauty fades you will lose identity. When your body doesn’t look like you want it to be you will be in danger of eating disorders. If you have a disability you will only identify with your limitations. It’s better to instead celebrate having a body and feeling alive in your body.
- Complaining is one of the ego’s favourite ways of strengthening itself. It is in service of the ego, not of change. If you should complain, stick to the facts, rather than what they did to you, or why this happened to you.
- “I don’t know” is not confusion, “I don’t know, but I need to know” is.
- As intelligent as the mind is, it doesn’t know the difference between a thought and a real situation → it will emotionally react in the same way for both. Therefore, try to avoid negative thoughts.
- If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is acceptable, it turns into increased alertness and creativity.
- If you are not in a state of either: acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm, you are causing suffering for yourself and others
Non-resistance, non-judgement and non-attachment are the three ingredients to living well.
- Being aware of your breath creates space; the rest is memory or anticipation - being more aware of your breath for a year will do more for improving your mental health than a lot of courses will.
- When people speak and tell their stories, what they will often be saying is “this is why I cannot be at peace now”. You don’t anyone to do anything so you can be at peace, you can just be at peace.
- Don’t say you are unhappy, unhappiness has nothing to do with you. Rather, say “there is unhappiness within me”. Every situation is always neutral within itself.
If you think you are so enlightened, go and spend a week with your parents.
Words turn reality into something the human mind can grasp, which isn’t much.
Whatever you do takes time, and yet it is always now.
The only measure of progress in our society is “more”.
The ego isn’t wrong, it’s just unconscious.
Don’t be your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.
You don’t live life. Life lives you.
A little extra:
When you lose something, questions to ask yourself are:
- Were you aware that you would have to lose this at some point, perhaps soon?
- How much more time would you have wanted with it?
- Do you think you are less valuable now you don’t have it?