I started this book years ago and got to what I now know is my favorite bit, and quoted it here at length on this blog.
I’ve returned now and read the whole book. It makes some salient points. I’d give the book five stars, however, by the end it hammered home its points too repetitively, so I’ll only give it 4 stars. Maybe some people need it circled back to that way. Also, I could quibble with the logic in places (especially the last chapter), but the main thrust of the book is helpful. If you really get the point, it could revolutionize your life for the better.
To me, the main points discussed here are these. Really drill down and ask yourself who you are. If you do that, you’ll discover you are awareness itself, consciousness itself. Remember to just witness what happens, without defending against it, clinging to it, or even having an opinion about it. Like a parade, just watch it go on past; that’s your only role. Let it go; let it go; let it go; with no more ownership or reaction necessary. Stay aware in the present moment and let the rest go.
Here are the other quotes worth remembering, which also follow those themes:
- “There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind– you are the one that hears it.”
- “The act of maintaining objective awareness of the inner problem is always better than losing yourself in the outer situation. This is the essential difference between a spiritually minded person and a worldly person… Worldly means that you think the solution to your inner problem is in the world outside… To attain inner freedom, you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them… Problems are generally not what they appear to be. You have to break the habit of thinking that the solution to your problem is to arrange things outside.”
- “When consciousness gets sucked in it no longer knows itself as itself.”
- “Enjoy life without clinging to it or pushing it away… If you are willing to experience the gift of life instead of fighting with it, you will be moved to the depth of your being… The highest state you have ever experienced is simply the result of how open you were. If you don’t close it can be like that all the time– unending inspiration, unending love, unending openness. That is the natural state of a healthy heart.”
- “A wise person remains centered enough to let go every time the energy shifts into a defensive mode… It just takes a moment of conscious effort to decide that you are not going there. You just let it go.”
- “Let go. No matter what it is, let it go. The bigger it is, the higher the reward of letting go and the worse the fall if you don’t…. That which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up.”
- “What you are looking at it an object; it is something you feel. But who feels it? Your way out is to just notice who’s noticing… The one who notices is already free. Feelings are just part of the nature of being human. If you pay attention, you will see that they are not you. You are the indwelling being that is aware of all this.”
- “You don’t have to get rid of loneliness; you just cease to be involved with it. It’s just another thing in the universe, like cars, grass, and the stars. It’s none of your business. Just let things go. Awareness does not fight; awareness releases. Awareness is simply aware while the universe parades before it.”
- “Persistently centered consciousness is the seat of the self. In this state you are always conscious of being conscious.”
- “You will come to see that any behavior pattern based upon the avoidance of pain becomes a doorway to the pain itself.”
- “So there are two ways to live: you can devote your life to staying in your comfort zone, or you can work on your freedom. In other words, you can devote your whole life to the process of making sure everything fits within your limited model, or you can devote your life to freeing yourself from the limits of your model.”
- “It’s bad enough that your happiness is conditional upon your own behavior. When you start making it conditional on other people’s behavior, you’re in serious trouble.”
- “Think of how much energy is wasted resisting what has already happened. Since the event has already passed, you are actually struggling with yourself, not the event. In addition, contemplate how much energy is wasted resisting what might happen. Since most of the things you think might happen never do, you are just throwing your energy away.”
- If you want to understand stress, begin by realizing that you carry around with you your own set of preconceived notions about how things should be… Those impressions become the basis for asserting our will to resist or cling… To avoid this, begin dealing with each situation with acceptance. Your resistance is what causes the problem. This way, you deal with events that are objectively taking place, instead of personal problems. It is actually possible never to have another problem for the rest of your life.
- “Life itself is your career, and your interaction with life is your most meaningful relationship.”
If you need to gain more objectivity over your thoughts and feelings to experience more freedom, The Untethered Soul would be a great read for you.