Timeless Ideas | April 4, 2021

Here’s your weekly dose of timeless ideas to sharpen your mind, make smarter decisions, and live better.

Quotes

I.

Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.

― Gustave Flaubert


II.

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.

― Harper Lee


III.

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.

― Michael Cunningham

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Ideas

I.

In the last twenty-five years, the borderline patient, who confronts the psychiatrist not with well-defined symptoms but with diffuse dissatisfactions, has become increasingly common. He does not suffer from debilitating fixations or phobias or from the conversion of repressed sexual energy into nervous ailments; instead he complains "of vague, diffuse dissatisfactions with life" and feels his "amorphous existence to be futile and purposeless." He describes "subtly experienced yet pervasive feelings of emptiness and depression," "violent oscillations of self-esteem," and "a general inability to get along." He gains "a sense of heightened self-esteem only by attaching himself to strong, admired figures whose acceptance he craves and by whom he needs to feel supported." Although he carries out his daily responsibilities and even achieves distinction, happiness eludes him, and life frequently strikes him as not worth living.

Christopher Lasch in The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in An Age of Diminishing Expectations


II.

You accept things as they are, not as you wish they were in this moment. This is important to understand. You can wish for things in the future to be different, but in this moment you have to accept things as they are. When you feel frustrated or upset by a person or a situation, remember that you are not reacting to the person or the situation, but to your feelings about the person or the situation. These are your feelings, and your feelings are not someone else’s fault. When you recognize and understand this completely, you are ready to take responsibility for how you feel and to change it. And if you can accept things as they are, you are ready to take responsibility for your situation and for all the events you see as problems.

Deepak Chopra in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams


III.

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think.

Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

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Articles Worth Reading

I.

A Quiet Path Out of the Coronavirus Shadow

Clayton Dalton | Nautilus

Mindfulness helped this ER doctor through a dark time. It can help us through these times. It seems surprising that the simple act of paying attention in a particular way could have a significant impact on mental and emotional suffering. But research has begun to unravel how mindfulness can change the body and brain in beneficial ways.


II.

Final thoughts

Neil Levy | Aeon

How do we find out what really matters in life? One way might be to ask those who are dying. They might occupy a perspective that allows them to see better what’s trivial and what’s truly significant. The prospect of imminent death might carry them above petty squabbles and the pursuit of money and status, and allow them a clear view of the goods that make our lives worthwhile.


III.

How to save yourself another pointless guilt trip

Aziz Gazipura | Psyche

Guilt is a feeling of anxiety and pressure that arises when we think we’ve broken an important rule. Guilt can serve a healthy function when it guides us to adhere to realistic rules that create positive relationships and behaviours. Guilt can turn unhealthy or excessive when it’s triggered in response to rules that are unrealistic or that we don’t really believe in. Unhealthy guilt leads to harsh self-criticism that’s not constructive.

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