So Chapter Five… (if anyone is actually reading this, bear in mind these are just my random thoughts/questions/ideas as I read this chapter)
- Harris now began reading a book by a guy called Dr. Mark Epstein, a buddhist and psychiatrist.
- According to this author, a lot of the ideas of these other self-help gurus actually came from the teaching of Buddha and ancient buddhist principles.
- Harris has a pretty sceptical view of buddhism (as do I, to be fair), but the more he read of the book, the more he saw that the ideas made sense, but he needed to know more.
- In typical reporter style he took to finding out all he could about Buddha and the teachings of Buddhism, which he found to be less of a religion and more of a philosophy.
- He sums up what he saw as Buddha’s main thesis as, “in a world where everything is constantly changing, we suffer because we cling to things that won’t last.”
- I find it interesting because I can agree with this statement, because it actually fits in with Christian thinking. The idea of not holding onto the past or worrying about the future is fundamental to the Christian faith.
- Isaiah 43:18-19
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
- Isaiah 43:18-19
- The thinking behind WHY to not dwell on the past or worry about the future seems quite different between Buddhism and Christianity:
- Buddhism – Nothing in life is permanent so just chill and enjoy the ride.
- Christianity – Something better than this is coming (Heaven) and we can trust God to help us in the here and now.
- Note, I am not going to say that one is better than the other or anything like that. I choose to believe in Christianity and the Christian faith, but I can still admit openly that Buddha said some things that made good sense.
- One thing that struck Harris was the Buddhist idea of “the wisdom of insecurity” – if there is no such thing as security, then why bother with insecurity.
- I guess as a Christian, I believe there is security: security of a purpose, security of a God who loves me and has a plan (even when I sometimes can’t understand what it is), security of a destiny and a future.
- Some of the events recently have shaken my faith, and I think that has lead to some insecurity, but it is interesting to see that, even when feeling insecurity, you could find peace in that place – according to Buddhism.
- Randomly just then I googled, “Can you be a Buddhist Christian,” and apparently, it’s a “thing” – not saying that I am going down that road, but just interesting nonetheless.
- He talks about how, through reading more Buddhist-related books, he had been practicing being in the moment more and having success with that, including the time of his wedding.
- It is interesting that the idea of being in the moment is seen largely as a Buddhist thing, because the values of this do fit in to Christianity as well – bible verses about forgetting the past, and not worrying about the future e.g. “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10
- There are also lots of bible verses and bible teaching about meditation:
- “Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.” Psalm 48:9
- “Your commandments make me wiser…I have more insight than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.” Psalm 119:99
- “I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.” Psalm 63:6
Chapter six looks to be about Harris giving different mindfulness practices ago e.g. Meditation.