This is my first re-read from the list. It was interesting reading the book again after eight years. "Notes to Myself" is a very introspective look at life, as the title suggests. I found it inspirational and calming. I think the first time I read the book I was wary of the author; perhaps I thought he was too humanistic or new-age-y. (Is that a word? It should be.) Now, however, I only find him refreshing and insightful. Many of his thoughts are things I have thought about before, or it seems, I have wanted to think them but didn't know how. Thus, Prather's work is fulfilling and thought-provoking.
It is also, in some ways, self-contradictory (as Prather himself admits). Don't analyze yourself too closely, he tells us, while analyzing himself quite closely. Yet this is the way of introspection. To think too much about our lives will cause us to live them disingenuously, yet we can't be real with ourselves without examining our motives and behaviors. Quite the predicament! Just don't dwell on it too long.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
- "It will be interesting to see what happens" is a more realistic attitude toward future consequences than worry. Excitement, dejection, and irritation also assume a knowledge of results that I cannot possess.
- My trouble is I analyze life instead of live it.
- Now that I know I'm no wiser than anyone else, does this wisdom make me wiser?
- ...Happiness is a present attitude, not a future condition.
- When I am careful about the thoughts I brood on, because thought precedes feeling, circumstances can no longer dictate my mood.
- Maybe the fear that more was expected of me than I had to give was groundless...
- Since it will always be now, learning to respond to now is the only thing there is to learn.
- Honesty without care is conceit.
- If a man takes off his sunglasses I can hear him better.
- As I write I am in a state of learning, becoming, arriving, and not in a state of knowing and having arrived.