Friday, January 25, 2008

I was just thinking.

Over the summer, I read Eat Pray Love, a book that had been on my list for ages--and I found many things in it that spoke strongly to me, especially because I feel so predisposed to incorporate meditation into my life (a huge part of this book is about living at an ashram and struggling with meditation practice) and haven't taken the leap yet. It really is a good book, even if the prose does get a little cute verrrry occasionally. Mostly it's just excellent, soul-searching stuff, and I don't find it at all preachy. The author is saying: after a devastating time in my life, here's how I pursued full-on earthly pleasure and full-on divine love. Do with it what you will.

I've been rereading the book in bits and pieces recently, and just came across something I dog-eared this summer, probably intending to share it with y'all anyway.
People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't you will leak away your innate contentment.
Have you noticed how all I do lately is quote people? I did add my own boldface, though, for emphasis.


  1. I was so inspired by the second part of Eat, Pray, Love that I didn't read the third. I was worried it might creep into unrealistic-for-the-average-person territory. One of the things I love so much about the second section is that Gilbert made miracles and divinity and serenity seem accessible to all of us.

  2. Mymsie, if it's any help, that quote is from the third section of the book. I think it's worth reading. I think most of the book is unrealistic for the average person in some ways, since most of us can't afford to take off and travel for an entire year. I also think the author is exceptionally good at meeting people and making friends, but that's not to say that wouldn't happen for me if I were traveling on my own.

    Also, I do think that the book is in part about the extraordinary things that start happening to you once you open yourself up, and that, my friend, is accessible to everyone.

  3. Overall I was not such a huge fan of the book (to me, it seemed not just crazy unrealistic but also a little smug). But the third part was my favorite. And one of the wisdoms that stuck with me was linguistic (and I paraphrase): "when you start out trying to help yourself, you end up helping everyone."