3 Ideas in 2 Minutes on Finding Inner Peace
Peace from Mind, Affect Heuristic & Emotional Strike Zone
I. Peace from Mind
What does it mean to be happy? Philosopher and angel investor Naval Ravikant has some thoughts:
When I say you want to be happy, what I’m actually saying is you want to find peace. We say peace of mind, but what we really want is peace from mind.
The mind goes quiet during the moments of greatest pleasure.
II. Affect Heuristic
The Affect Heuristic is one of four types of mental shortcuts psychologist Daniel Kahneman distinguishes in his bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow. It leads us to make emotion-driven decisions based on how we feel in the moment.
Mental shortcuts work great when we need to answer a difficult question quickly or solve a complex problem fast. But it’s not hard to see how an emotional decision can turn out to be suboptimal in the long run.
A strange sudden fear of the unknown might tempt us to cancel our upcoming trip overseas. But detaching from the situation will likely lead to a change of mind. Perhaps we can turn our fear into a healthy sense of caution.
Coincidentally, I’ve written an essay about Mental Shortcuts: 5 Ways Heuristics Can Lead to Poor Decisions.
III. Emotional Strike Zone
There’s a misconception about mindfulness in that its goal is not to stop us from thinking negative thoughts. Philosopher Sam Harris illustrates this with the analogy of a wave:
If you’ve ever been swimming in the ocean or surfing or body surfing you know that it matters where you are in relation to the waves.
There’s an enormous difference between being in what is called the strike zone, where the waves are actually breaking, and being just beyond that point where the waves are beginning to peak.
Out there, a wave of any size just passes under you. And the important thing to realise for this analogy is that it’s the same wave. The only difference is in one’s relationship to it.
The freedom that comes with real mindfulness is never a matter of stopping the waves of thought or emotion or experience generally. It’s a matter of getting out of the strike zone so that the next wave of anger or regret or fear just passes harmlessly beneath you.
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Have a great week,
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