I'll never forget the night I was approached by a couple after my Mind Reader show. They were wide-eyed, elated, and buzzing to ask me a question. Almost simultaneously, they asked if I had any suggestions as to how they could use my techniques to better their connection with one another. It was honestly the sweetest question I've ever been asked (#relationshipgoals) and the fact that both of them came up to me with the same excitement already proved they were deeply connected, and yet they both wanted to work together to be better for each other. A noble pursuit.
People tend to see a mentalist as someone who has an authority on the mind, akin to a neuroscientist or psychotherapist. As much as I'd like to think of myself as a master of all things pertaining to the mind, I'm merely a student. As such, my advice to the couple was from the perspective of someone deeply interested in bettering himself (as it is here with these book recommendations).
This question of connection is one I've thought a lot about. When I feel less connected to others and the world, I first look at trying to reconnect with my own thoughts. After all, you can't change the world if you can't change your mind. So here are a few books that have been integral for me in helping to shape my outlook on the world and be in better touch with my own mind. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
This book changed my life. I read it nearly a decade ago and I find myself coming back to its ideas time and time again. It's a digestible guide to learning about how to refine your awareness of yourself and the world around you, how to break out of automatic behavior and transcend the human condition. This book (along with another fantastic book of the same title by Thicht Nah Hahn) discusses the many life-altering benefits of being present. It speaks about transcending narrow beliefs, single perspectives, and limited resources. Its suggested practices are in the same family as Loving-Kindness meditation, and it's message is one that might bring you closer to your own thoughts.
Again, deriving a lot of ideas from mindful practices, Fromm presents simple concepts to which one can change their relationship to desires and wants. He cautions about idol worship and blind faith to a practice that promises nirvana with little effort. This book is especially pertinent now because of Fromm's perspective about authoritarian power and untruths.
“…modern man has many things and uses many things, but he is very little. His feelings and thinking processes are atrophied like unused muscles. He is afraid of any crucial social change because any disturbance in the social balance spells chaos or death-if not physical death, the death of his identity.”
Aside from voicing inspirational videos which undoubtedly mesmerized you on Facebook, Alan Watts refreshing candor and insightful ideas can most certainly help change your mind. In this book he speaks about something we all struggle with on a daily basis - distraction. His thoughts on mindfulness and happiness are invaluable and I highly recommend it.
“If my happiness at this moment consists largely in reviewing happy memories and expectations, I am but dimly aware of this present. I shall still be dimly aware of the present when the good things that I have been expecting come to pass. For I shall have formed a habit of looking behind and ahead, making it difficult for me to attend to the here and now. If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.”