This review was written by Eugene Kernes
Genre = Decision Making
“Now, your state of happiness may not be something you regularly dwell on, but everything you do, or decide not to do, always concerns what you perceive will make you happier.” – Armando Garcia, Page 3
“The truth is that things and accomplishments can only bring you temporary pleasure, satisfaction, or excitement, but not true happiness.” – Armando Garcia, Page 5
“Happiness is not something you get or become. It is rather what is left over when you don’t depend on anything or anyone for your sense of self. It is setting your mind free.” – Armando Garcia, Page 5
Excerpts with permission from author
Peace of mind results in a sense of wellbeing, and happiness. It is about knowing oneself, without relying on others for self-worth. Desire for objects is not a sustainable path to happiness, as the desire itself causes dissatisfaction generating unhappiness. Obtaining the object provides only temporary happiness, as desire is a vicious cycle of wanting even more. They do provide temporary pleasure, but not sustained happiness. Unhappiness is self-generated in the mind. Not things or people. Happiness is an awareness rather than an emotion. Not something one feels, but an understanding called wisdom. As wisdom is the key to problems, this book provides guidance and exercises to take control of the mind. Facilitating comfort with one’s thoughts, rather than suppressing them. Seeking to understand the body, mind, and social role. Discovering one’s identity, and understanding the difference between what one needs, and wants. For needs enable life. But wants are influenced by marketing.
The book is a response to personal problems, and search for resolution. The author had unending thoughts that caused stress, and irritated emotions. The search for peace of mind, to quite the mind, lead to Buddhism. What helped, were the meditations stemming from Theravada Buddhism. But Buddhism has a limitation, or at least the way it is being promulgated, which is that suffering comes from an impermanent existence. That the individual is just an illusion, and not a real person. This was found to be contradictory, as even under intense meditation, the consciousness knows what the consciousness is experiencing.
Every effort applied is done with the potential of making the individual happier. The Self, is created by interacting with the world, and is the source of the problems. What this book tries to do, is make the Self, help itself rather than get in its way.
The mind is impacted by many factors, some of which are internal. To calm the mind, basic questions need to be considered. Questions that search for an understanding of what the body is feeling. Mood is composed of more than just major problems, but also minor aches and pains. The body is capable of overcoming pain and stress to develop skills and abilities, but the mind can be affected by them as well. Potentially adversely affected. Lack of consideration of how the mind is impacted by physical stress, causes emotional irritation and lack of patience. It takes effort to listen to what the body needs. Stress can be reduced by understanding the changes within the body, which can also reduce subsequent mental and physical complications.
Along with understanding how the body feels, the individual needs to become aware of the emotions one feels. Emotions have lasting power. Long after the event transpired, emotions cling to the thoughts impacted. Humans identify with the emotions that happen to them, even if they did not want the emotion. Emotions are linked with desire. Emotions have a chemical component to them. Continuous exposure can have toxic effects, which causes many problems. Emotions can be a bigger threat to the person than anyone else, such as with anger being more a threat to the angry person.
Thoughts can be very disrupting to concentration. Learning to control thoughts and emotions, requires becoming aware of them. Becoming aware of one’s thoughts. The mind exists in its own thoughts. The mind becomes the thoughts directed to others. What a person does unto another, has already been done unto the person. Trying to change thoughts to consider everything in a particular way, can help temporarily, but it is a fragile desire. Life is full of uncertainty and complexity, which means that the change of thoughts is vulnerable to be wrong soon after. Changing thoughts to be directed in a particular way causes another struggle, becoming a viscous cycle.
Humans are social animals, and put in a lot of effort to avoid feeling alone. This causes many to stay in inappropriate relationships to avoid being lonely. Solitude is ignored by keeping busy with activities. Without the mind being busy, the mind can become ensnared with uncomfortable thoughts. Accepting solitude and releasing identity with the Self, results in having fulfillment.
The is an assumption that the individual knows the problems within the mind, body, and society. That they can be fixed internally. This is problematic because many internal understandings, comes from external influence. To explain or alleviate pains, can require others to explain them and hint at cures. Emotions cannot be understood without practicing them, and feeling their impact in the moment. To make sense of the mind, body, and society does require external influence with someone else explaining them. The book promotes wisdom as the source of sustainable happiness, but the individual can only learn about the source through the external influence of this book or related information.
There are a few comparisons between animals and humans. The comparisons are contradictory with the rest of the book, as they contain ego.