Learning about people. A chat with Dara Caryotis @dbddara
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personal blog since 2004
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Life Lessons from the Dude and the Zen Master?
Do you remember the movie “The Big Lebowski?” I was a big fan of the Dude, so when I saw this book, The Dude and the Zen Master, I snatched it up.
The Dude and the Zen Master was published in 2005 by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman. In this book, they recount the story of their friendship, which started when they were working on the film The Big Lebowski. Over time, their friendship led them to wonder if there was a better way for humans to live than what we usually do.
They came up with three ideas that could help us all be happier:
1) Think for yourself instead of relying on others’ opinions;
2) Understand that nobody knows anything about how life works;
3) That most things we hear about how we should live our lives are wrong (and therefore ineffective).
The big idea of this book is that you are not who you think you are.
The big idea of this book is that you are not who you think you are. In other words, if you listen to what other people tell you about how to live your life and then follow their advice, chances are good that it won’t work out very well for you.
But why should we care about thinking for ourselves? because most things we hear about how we should live our lives are wrong.
Which is why, as a coach, i steer clear of being prescriptive.
In this book, we come to see that the way we have been told to live our lives doesn’t work for us.
The first thing we learn from The Dude and the Zen Master is that the way we have been told to live our lives doesn’t work for us. We have been told to do things like get a good education, follow our dreams, and be happy in our jobs. These things sound great, but what if you wanted to be a rock star? Or maybe you just want to take some time off from school so that you can travel around Europe before getting back into your studies? What if happiness means being able to spend time with your family instead of traveling or getting into some other career?
In this book, we come to see that our lives are not what we think they are and neither are they what we want them to be—they’re simply our lives.
We don’t always get what we want; sometimes life has other plans for us. This is okay because it means that instead of focusing on what hasn’t worked out yet (or perhaps never will), we can focus on finding ways forward in the present moment with whatever skills and resources at hand.
The Buddha said that all humans suffer and that the cause of suffering is wanting things to be different than they are.
The Buddha said that all humans suffer and that the cause of suffering is wanting things to be different than they are. This is a very simple, but important insight. What does this mean? It means that you can’t control everything around you, so being frustrated and angry about it will only make things worse for yourself. If you want your life to improve, then focus on improving your attitude instead of trying to control everything around you.
So if something doesn’t come easily right away—like getting ripped abs or finding lasting love—just accept where you’re at right now while continuing on with whatever it is that makes sense for your life right now!
According to the authors, “The only way out of delusion and suffering is waking up to reality as it actually is.” This book shows us how to do this.
So, what’s the takeaway? I think we need to realize that we are not who we think we are. We have been told by all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons about what we should and shouldn’t do in order to be happy, healthy, and successful in life. This book shows us why these ideas don’t work for us personally and how this has contributed to our unhappiness in life.
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