The original title chosen for book #15 made me laugh out loud – literally. The Voice in My Head is an Asshole; a funny and surprisingly accurate description of that annoying inner dialogue we all experience. However, barring any potential issues with offending the overly fragile, ABC correspondent, Dan Harris, thought it better and changed the title to: 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in my Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story. A bit more of a mouthful but one that gets right to the heart of the matter.
This book was originally recommended to me by a friend. Knowing I was a month away from a ten day meditation retreat and in the throes of mentally preparing for what I had gotten myself into, he said to me one day, “Erica, you HAVE to read this book before your retreat.” While appreciative, I was somewhat skeptical of yet another self-help book. After further explanation of the author’s story and his own experience at a ten day silent retreat, I was left intrigued. Fast forward three days where I’m two chapters in and feverishly devouring the words on each page.
To be blatantly honest, you MUST read this book if you are at all contemplating aligning your life with Buddhist teachings and meditation practices. The author Dan Harris, a news reporter by day and aspiring Zen master by night, has literally done all the primary research for you. He spent years reviewing, analyzing, and questioning the various methods of relaxation and stress reduction offered ad nauseam as the “best and only” ways to help combat the tensions that have sadly come to dominate modern society. Through his studies, coupled with his own experiences, he discovered that the bare bones Buddhist way of taking deep breaths and letting our thoughts go were the only methods in which he was able to find true – and sustainable – inner peace and blissful calm.
I took SO many notes while reading this book. It definitely is one that I will refer to again and again. I am also extremely grateful that I read it before I entered my own ten days of meditative silence as I felt it gave me further insight as to what to expect and how to best approach the entire experience.
This book was funny, poignant, and unabashedly heartfelt. If you are seeking a more peaceful and fulfilling life, and want to hush that forever nagging voice in your head, gives this book a read. You won’t regret it.
Next up on the book shelf: Going to Pieces without Falling Apart by Mark Epstein