I’ve been thinking lately about what it means to have a well-lived life. It might be easy to think the goal is to feel happy and fulfilled or to live luxuriously. But I‘m convinced the well-lived life is about kindness and peace, making space in one’s brain for contemplation and making room for other people.
Peter C. Whybrow, a psychiatrist and Director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, wrote a book called The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience and the Life Well-Lived. From the start, he divides the book into two categories: “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “How to Live?”
Both questions are critical for anyone willing to take an honest look at themselves and their place in the world.
Struggling with the question of “Who Do You Think You Are?” can be a transformative process. I thought I had a clear picture of who I was for most of my life, until a conversation with my Buddhist mentor revealed that I didn’t have a clue. Little did I know, I was influenced by everyone’s expectation of what I should could be: successful, self-righteous—you get the picture.
When asking “How to Live,” I’m left with options that grow out of who I am, from the worst and the best of my nature. I can barrel toward gratification and excess, or I can radiate goodness, and I can work to improve the world.
I like to think who I am can be changed for the better by the way I live, and vice versa. My hope is to create an endless looping upward spiral of positive change. For me, the most foundational way to create change is through mindfulness. I slow my mind and clear it of debris. I open myself to love and connection, and I remember the value of everything around me.
It’s easy once you’ve tried. Through our humanity, we are connected. Through self-discovery, we find other people.
Start your own path toward positive change by creating space in your mind. Take time to sit quietly and meditate on caring for yourself, for friends and neighbors, and then extend that love to your planet and all of creation. To me, it all starts with mindfulness, and it becomes a well-lived life.
To buy The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience and the Life Well-Lived. by Peter C. Whybrow, click here.