Alex Lickerman, MD wrote this book in 2012, but it is even ore timely today. Who wouldn’t want a mind that could not be defeated?
It gives us some practical advice on how to help our minds deal with the things that threaten to overthrow them. What a great bookish weapon to have in your back pack!
Nichiren Buddhism Impact
Lickerman practices Nichiren Buddhism and a lot of the book draws on those beliefs. Individuals who practice this type of Buddhism chant. I knew some people in the past that chanted every day. Lickerman discusses his chanting practice and how it has helped him, but his approach to having an undefeated mind is filled with these beliefs.
An example is that Nichiren Buddhism believes that wisdom is the catalyst to inner strength and is obtained from experiencing adversity. Lickerman combined this philosophy with modern science to produce the book.
Although I believe many suffer far more pain than myself, recently I have developed what is termed idiopathic neuropathy and at night the pain in my foot wakes me up. So I was very interested in what Lickerman had to say about the subject.
He says, “…though we may be tempted to believe patients with chronic pain who choose to suffer it rather than kill themselves do so because they want to survive even at the cost of their happiness, the more likely explanation is that their personal degree of pain tolerance enables them to remain happy despite their discomfort.” Interesting!
The author tells us that Nichiren Buddhism says “We don’t suffer because we face obstacles; we suffer because we face obstacles we don’t believe we can overcome.” I believe the is very true. You need to believe that obstacles make you stronger. My nightly pain is helps me be more compassionate with others suffering and I feel stronger because of it.
Lickerman sounds like he agrees with me when he says that “…victory over obstacles that confront us isn’t as much about liberating ourselves from adversity as it is about obtaining the greatest benefit possible as a result of having encountered it.” And he continues, “…a problem is solved when it no longer makes us suffer.”
Lickerman believes that “…creating value for others is the key to attaining happiness for ourselves.” He goes on to discuss how altruism causes happiness and that “…the more value we create for others, the more value we assign ourselves.”
It is all tied to your purpose in life. As the author says, “So maybe creating value for others doesn’t increase our long-term happiness because it enhances our self-esteem ,but because it enhances our sense of purpose.”
So Much More
Is that it? Just abide by the above and you will have an undefeated mind? No, that is just the first of many offered in this book. In fact the above just takes you to page 26 of a 248 page book.
Why does that mean? It means if you want to find out about how idolizing the “road not taken” can lead to suffering, you need to read the book. There is so much more!