Wednesday, July 11, 2007


"Loving-kindness (maitri) toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy, we can still be angry. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away or become something better. It's about befriending who we are already." - Pema Chodron, *Comfortable with Uncertainty*
INTERVIEW WITH ROB by Glen Starkey of the San Luis Obispo New Times GLEN STARKEY: Your book "PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia" isn't so much about astrology as it is about philosophy. How does what you do in your weekly "Free Will Astrology" column connect to what your book is about? ROB BREZSNY: The book is a discussion of the philosophy that underlies and informs the column. I believe everyone's life is a labyrinth with a reward at the center, not a minefield in which fear should be one's primary guide. I explain why in the book. GLEN STARKEY: As I read it, your book is about training oneself to see the world through optimistic eyes, to not dwell on the occasional bad thing that happens and instead focus on all the things that go right, every day,all the time. What led you to this idea? ROB BREZSNY: Let me comment on the first statement. It's true that I urge people not to dwell on the occasional bad thing that happens. However, it's important to note that pronoia doesn't ask you to ignore or suppress problems. On the contrary, just as pronoiacs retrain themselves to notice and feel gratitude for all the beauty and largesse in the world, they also retrain themselves to see every problem as a gift that is designed to make them smarter, kinder, and more fully alive. As for what led me to these ideas: I'm a natural-born rebel; I enjoy identifying the conventional wisdom in every situation, and turning it on its head. Today the conventional wisdom is that everything is falling apart, that the world is a terrible place to live, that bad things predominate. The most taboo possibility of all is the idea that the world is full of beauty and that life is on our side. I gravitate toward that perspective because everything in my life has confirmed it and because my job is to do everything I can to overthrow the status quo. GLEN STARKEY: Are you able to put into practice all that your book suggests, or is attempting to exert pronoia an ongoing struggle? ROB BREZSNY: I am by no means a master of pronoia. But I enjoy the struggle to immunize myself against the insane culture-wide obsession with pathology; I enjoy the hard work of retraining myself to bask in the nonstop flood of daily miracles. GLEN STARKEY: If you were to tell someone one thing in your book that's the most important tidbit of knowledge, what would it be? ROB BREZSNY: You always get exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. Not exactly what you want, exactly what you want, mind you. Life unfailingly presents you with what your soul needs, which isn't necessarily what your ego wants. GLEN STARKEY: Who should read this book, and who shouldn't? ROB BREZSNY: Who shouldn't read this book: Cynics whose entire identity and self-image are wrapped up in being cynical. My book may be unlikely to crack through their fanatical bias against admitting how much beauty and blessing the world is filled with, but if it did they would most likely suffer from a nervous breakdown. Who should read this book: everyone else.

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