Monday, May 21, 2012

"Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me". -Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss

My sister-in-law sent me the book "Zen and the Art of Happiness" by Chris Prentiss.  The title is the main theme (quote) from the book that explains how to reach happiness in your life.  I'm still working on reading the rest of the book, I am about halfway through it.  It is definitely an interesting concept to think about. 

"Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me".
It goes on to talk about how no situation is good or bad, but how we react to it makes it that way.  I am still having a hard time grasping what this all means, if I agree with it and how anyone could possibly reset their mind to actually feel this way.  I can agree with everything happens for a reason, but that everything that happens is the best possible thing?  How can this be?  It is clear to mention it does not mean there is a little bit of good in every situation or good can come from a bad situation. 

I guess I better finish the book before I draw any final conclusions.




Kendall Suhr said...

Now, I am probably only as far as you and I need to read it again before I think I will really get it. But what I am gathering is that it isn't about thinking EVERY situation is good, but it is about centering yourself so that your REACTION to the situation is positive. The perfect example that I keep reminding myself from the book is the sandwich shop guy. He had a BOOMING business and gave away lots of freebies, then his son warned him that the economy was bad and he needed to not give away so much, so the man stopped and shortly thereafter his business stopped booming too. He told his son, you are right, the economy is bad! Or the man getting fired and doing cocaine - then getting offered his dream job but he was too coked up to take it. It isn't about changing your life - it's about accepting it. Accepting what you are dealt (or choose) and living in the moment. There is no past present or future, there is only now. When you think about it, if you just live in the moment, you can't worry about what could happen in the future or what you should have done differently in the past. Now - let me be clear, I am not sure yet how this can be applied to IF, I think you need to help me understand that, but I do feel that this book applies directly to jobs, family issues, financial issues, etc. I am loving every word of it, myself.

Duffman238 said...

Hi Julie,
I was the one that bought Kendall her copy of this book :)
I can tell you that you do need to get to the end before you can even get close to believing "Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that could happen". But you can get there or at least close if you want to.
That is the point; you have to "want" to be happy. Same thing with quitting smoking etc it only works if you want to quit.
Since finishing the book I have managed my longest “up” spell in years if not ever. I have had a couple of wobbles over the last few days but I re centre myself by putting things in to perspective.
In fact those who are close to me have noticed such a different they have asked for copies of the book. It seems that if it can work for a grumpy git like me it then it can work for anyone (quote from one of my sons) :)
Hope you enjoy it.

Julie said...

I agree, the stories he used for examples really helped explain it better, but it is only when the story is complete that it makes sense. I am sure one day it will also help explain IF. I can see good things that have come from it like making me a stronger person, being more patient, BUT I can also see how I have dealt with it in bad ways as well. One day it will make sense.

Kendall Suhr said...

I really think that instead of trying to "make sense" of it now - because like you said the stories don't make sense until you see the full story, it is really about living the moment and acting on it in a positive fashion. I spent a lot of time last night thinking through this in relation to IF and I think the REAL takaway (at least for as far as I am into the book) is that you need to keep centered and not sabotage your life while waiting. i don't see that there is a positive in IF, but dealing with it in a positive way (focusing on your marriage, dabbling in hobbies (ha dabbling), leaning on friends is the the key as opposed to letting it ruin the good things you do have going in your life. My favorite part of the book is the acting happy in order to be happy piece and that it makes people think you know something they don't. It really does! People are strangely weirded out by people acting happy - it is both fun to do and helps you keep on the positive. I am almost done and plan to read it again almost immediately.