Dan Harris always believed the restless, relentless, impossible-to-satisfy voice in his head was one of his greatest assets. How else can you climb the ladder in an ultra-competitve field like TV news except through nonstop hand-wringing and hypervigilance?
For a while, his strategy worked. Harris anchored national broadcasts, he covered wars. Then he hit hit the skids, entering a downward slide that cuminated in a televised panic attack in front of an audience of millions. What happened next was completely unforeseen.
Through a bizarre series of events -- involving a disgraced evangelical pastor, a mysterious self-help guru and a fateful gift from his wife -- Harris stumbled upon something that helped him tame the voice in his head: meditation. At first, he was deeply suspicious. He had long associated meditation with bearded swamis and unwashed hippies. But when confronted with mounting scientific evidence that just a few minutes a day can literally rewire the brain for focus, happiness, and reduced reactivity, Harris took a deep dive. He spent years mingling with scientists, executives and US marines on the front lines of a quiet revolution that has the potential to reshape society. He became a daily meditator, and even found himself on a ten-day, silent meditation retreat, which was simultaneously the best and worst experience he’d ever had. But meditation did not transform Harris’s life into a parade of rainbows and unicorns. Life’s problems still reared their heads. Could he use meditation to navigate a series of fresh career crises? Is it possible to be “zen” and successful?
It’s an adventure that ranges from the outer limits of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of self-help and the result shines a light on what may very well be the next public health revolution
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 05 / 2014