I’m reading a book called Buddhism without Beliefs, by Stephen Batchelor. A quick summary of this book might be: You can use the dharma practices from Buddhism without believing in it as a religion. It’s something that you do, not something you believe in.

I will read this book more than once.

Some of my biggest take-aways are:

Negative emotions are transient. They arise, and they pass away - if you let them. You have to let them go. LET the mantra goes.

You really are not independent of the bigger world around you. There's a greater sensitivity you can tune into when you realize your position as a part of the whole world.

You live in a constantly changing world, you can't really 'hit the brakes' and freeze the here and now. You have to move with the world around you, or it'll knock you off balance.

The origin of anguish is craving. Cravings will come - and they'll go away too if you let them.

I guess it's common sense stuff in a way, obvious stuff.

Sometimes I worry that it only does me good while I'm actually reading it. As soon as I set the book down, my stresses return. Maybe I'm not taking it in deeply enough. Maybe it's in one ear and out the other. I have been guilty of ignoring common sense in the past.

I don't know. Keri says she thinks I'm doing a lot better...I seem a lot less stressed out, she says.

Maybe I'll just keep reading this kind of stuff for the rest of my life - or as long as . . . something. Maybe that's what it takes to keep this particular mind right.

I wasn't terribly horribly bad off before I started reading all of this kind of stuff...but maybe I can feel even better.

Is this inner peace crap taking the fire out of my belly? (Was there a fire to begin with?) Are you smothering creativity when you seek total peace? Without the emotions churning in you, you don't really feel anything maybe. You are uninspired. Well, Batchelor's book and some others I've read lately say no - you will start see the world in all its beauty and creativity if you're not dogged by negative emotions. I don't know. Who you know?