Just to be clear I don’t endorse this book. It’s a book about one man’s completely ironic journey to Buddhism. What’s most ironic is how the author rips on self-help guru’s and then ends up writing what amounts to a self-help book complete with a guide on how to meditate.
I get it. Dan Harris believes this stuff and thinks that he is offering us a public service. (He’s in deep enough that he had a vision that this stuff would catch on here in the West). He almost actually shared some actual scientific data in the book… but no, not really. Most of that just ended up being promising leads, not actual scientific data. The book is primarily based on his experience. It’s a well written story book, “This is how meditation changed my life and it can change yours too.”
My curiosity was piqued and I picked up the book because I saw things like “disgraced pastor” (Spoiler: It’s Ted Haggard) and “unchurched” in the initial rundown of the book. While this wasn’t false advertising, it was certainly misleading in that I fear others will also pick up this book thinking that Harris is driving the bus somewhere other than Buddhism.The problem though is that I don’t think Dan Harris or his publishers are familiar enough with the Evangelical movement to know that he’s off market with these misdirects (or worse they’ve intentionally targeted us).
As a Christian I believe in meditation, but it’s a completely different sort than what is dealt with here. This book deals with “mindfulness” (read clearing your mind) whereas Christian meditation “focuses” the mind on a promise of God, scripture passage, or truth about God. They are polar opposites.
I think Dan is a gifted writer. He’s gutsy and bold. I found it odd that for someone on TV his inner voice cusses a bit more than mine. I hope he writes again about something else (he is a master story-teller). If he ever reads this blog and comes through Pensacola I’d love to buy him a coffee and talk more about the differences between Christian meditation and Eastern mediation.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse as part of their Blog Tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
2 thoughts on “10% Happier (A Review)”
This may be a bit off-topic, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts about praying to get something? It’s often puzzling to me that people pray to God with a mentality that if we didn’t, he wouldn’t know what we need. This question was inspired because it seems that many people meditate – whether Christian or Eastern – for a similar reason. Meditation (like self-help) has become a commodity that is sold with a sales of pitch of “do this and you’ll find more peace.” Which is like a pick-pocket selling you your own watch. Of course, if you didn’t know you had a watch perhaps he is doing you a service.
Thanks for the comment Jack! The purpose of prayer isn’t to merely ask for stuff like God is some kind of cosmic soda machine (you put in your prayers, order what you want, and out pops the stuff you really want). For the devoted Christian, God is the end rather than the means. Prayer is a way to commune with God, a way of setting my will in line with His.
This is how the Model Prayer (also known as the Lord’s prayer) begins: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done on Earth as in Heaven.”
When we express our needs, desires, etc. in the midst of prayer it is in the context of relationship (we are told to call God “Father”) and communication in a relationship isn’t only about information. Sometimes it is about expression and being heard. The christian knows not only does God know our needs, he hears our prayers. And like any relationship sometimes His answers aren’t always the ones we’d expect or want…. and when this happens we are compelled to dig deeper in to the character of God. (just like any other relationship).
Hope this helps.