Saturday, July 24, 2010

Elizabeth Gilbert Love

Here are my favorite parts of both "Eat, Pray, Love" and "Committed." These might be spoilers for some of you who haven't read the books or haven't finished yet so....beware.

“Eat, Pray, Love”

The Yogis say that Ham-sa is the most natural mantra, the one we are all given by God before birth. It is the sound of our own breath. Ham on the inhale, sa on the exhale. As long as we live, every time we breathe in or out, we are repeating this mantra. I am That. I am divine, I am with God, I am an expression of God. I am not separate, I am not alone, I am not this limited illusion of an individual. (Pg. 141-2)

Your problem is you don’t understand what the word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another lay of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. (Pg. 149)

I told her again this morning, “No, Wayan-I don’t need it. My heart’s been broken too many times.”

She said, “I Know a cure for a broken heart.” Authoritatively, and in a doctorly manner, Wayan ticked off on her fingers the six elements of her Fail-Proof Broken-Heart Curing Treatment: “Vitamin E, get much sleep, drink much water, travel to a place far away from the person you loved, meditate, and teach your heart that this is destiny.” (Pg. 264)


Compulsive comparing, of course, only leads to debilitating cases of what Nietzche called Lebensneid or “life envy”; the certainty that somebody else is much luckier than you, and that if only you had her body, her husband, her children, her job, everything would be easy and wonderful and happy. With certainty so difficult to achieve, everyone’s decisions become an indictment of everyone else’s decisions, and because there is no universal model anymore for what makes “a good man” or “a good woman,” one must almost earn a personal merit badge in emotional orientation and navigation in order to find one’s way through life anymore. (Pg. 46)

The Buddha taught that all human suffering is rooted in desire. Don’t we all know this to be true? Any of us who have ever desired something and then didn’t get it (or worse, got it and subsequently lost it) know full well that suffering of which the Buddha spoke. Desiring another person is perhaps the most risky endeavor of all. As soon as you want somebody-really want him-it is as though you have taken a surgical needle and sutured your happiness to the skin of that person, so that any separation will now cause you a lacerating injury. (Pg. 96)

Infatuation leads to what psychologists call “intrusive thinking”-that famously distracted state in which you cannot concentrate on anything other than the object of your obsession. Once infatuation strikes, all else-jobs, relationships, responsibilities, food, sleep, work-falls by the wayside as you nurse fantasies about your dearest one that quickly becomes repetitive, invasive, and all-consuming. Infatuation alters your brain chemistry, as though you were dousing yourself with opiates and stimulants. The brain scans and mood swings of an infatuated lover, scientists have recently discovered, look remarkably similar to the brain scans and mood swings of a cocaine addict-and not surprisingly, as it turns out, because infatuation is an addiction, with measurable chemical effects on the brain. (Pg. 99)

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