"From Seeker to Finder" isn’t your run-of-the-mill self-help book exposing some special trick behind perpetual bliss. Offering valuable insight and uplifting stories, Kimeldorf’s book reveals that happiness is not an unachievable, mystical power. It’s just an ordinary skill that takes a little practice.
Kimeldorf once thought he knew what he needed to be happy – earn a Ph.D. in mathematics, marry a wonderful woman, raise two lovely children, pursue a successful career as a mathematics professor, and become wealthy. But something was missing, so Kimeldorf began to “seek” happiness. He is now proud to call himself a “finder” as he has found the peace of mind he long sought.
In just 118 pages, Kimeldorf explains how he mastered the skill of happiness and how it changed him forever, giving him a profound experience of love, joy, and fulfillment.
“‘From Seeker to Finder: Discovering Everyday Happiness’ is an inspirational account
of one man’s personal transformation and his commitment to a life of joyful
well-being,” says don Miguel Ruiz, M.D., author of the
international best-seller, “The Four Agreements.” “By sharing himself in this clear and caring way, George Kimeldorf sets
the reader on a course toward self-love, happiness and harmony.”
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The following essay entitled “Why I Write” was condensed from a blog for aspiring writers.
Why do I write? I’m not a writer. I have only written one book, a non-fiction book, and don’t plan to write another. I wrote the book (with a lot of help) because I had something worthwhile to say. I never learned how to write well, but I did learn how to be happy and have taught what I’ve learned to others. So, what I say in the book is that happiness is an ordinary skill, like writing or playing the piano, which you can learn.
My book describes what I’ve learned and how I learned it. It also tells of many mistakes I and others have made in our search for happiness. For example, I found self-help books, positive thinking, and affirmations to be counterproductive.
Do you want to be a successful writer? That’s a great goal, but success won’t make you happy. Successful writers, like successful athletes and successful actors, are not happier than other people. Be in the present and enjoy the process of writing. Just don’t expect to be happier in the future when you attain your goal. Will you be happy when your work is accepted for publication? Yes, but that happiness will be short-lived. In fact, academic psychologists have studied lottery winners and found, after the initial euphoria wore off, that they were no happier than before they won the lottery. That’s hard to believe, but it’s true. It is very difficult to find happiness by modifying the external circumstances of your life.
You could probably teach me a bit about writing so that I would be a better writer, but it would take discipline and practice for me to become proficient. The same is true for happiness. My book will teach you a bit about happiness so that you will be a somewhat happier person, but it takes discipline and practice to experience peace of mind, joy, and satisfaction regardless of the circumstances in your life. My book can definitely point you in the right direction.
Why did I write my book? I didn’t write it to make money: The book is priced at less than $8.00, so that royalties will never cover my cost of production and promotion. I didn’t write it to attain credibility to promote other activities like teaching: I am retired and have had only had a few students whom I’ve taught for free. I certainly didn’t write it expecting appreciation, admiration, or adulation. But I did have my reasons.
First, I enjoyed doing it.
Second, the book was a labor of love: an expression of gratitude, love, and generosity for those who taught me this invaluable skill of happiness. It is my way to “pay it forward.”
Third, whenever I teach, I am my own best student. Writing the book reminded me of what I had learned and helped me sharpen my skills and avoid destructive ways of thinking.
My fourth motivation in writing the book was to make a minor contribution to the effort of making this world a better place for everyone. The book demonstrates clearly that learning to be happy is not mystical, mysterious, or magical. Happiness is an ordinary skill which anybody can learn. Suppose the art of happiness were taught in schools alongside arithmetic and reading. Imagine what the world might become if people practiced love, generosity, and forgiveness, forsaking greed and the quest for power. Could we have peace on earth in a few generations? What if drug users no longer needed chemicals to find joy and peace of mind?
You can help me make the world a better place by buying the book, reading it, and then giving it away. The book is “From Seeker to Finder: Discovering Everyday Happiness” by George Kimeldorf.
In order to progress from where we see ourselves to be (Point A) to where we want to be (Point B), we have been taught to reject Point A and crave Point B. But that strategy is ineffective. I have discovered that what works is to love and accept myself exactly as I am while preferring Point B to Point A. Change comes from perceiving and accepting, not from avoiding and rejecting. The renowned humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change.... We cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are. Then change seems to come about almost unnoticed.” [italics his]
For example, I recently tried playing the lovely second movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #8 (Pathétique, Op. 13). Not having played this piece in over a year, I played it haltingly and unevenly, with many mistakes (Point A). I was pleasantly surprised that my body could still unconsciously translate the black dots on paper into finger movements on the piano. I realized that I really enjoyed playing this piece and would enjoy it even more if I could play it smoothly with few mistakes (Point B). I accepted that I could play the piece only as well as I played it, and didn’t need to berate myself as motivation to learn to play it better. I decided to spend some time over the next few weeks practicing this piece until I could play it reasonably well.
We have been taught from early childhood to judge ourselves harshly when we err. This critical voice of self-judgment—our inner critic—is our constant companion. Rather than trying to appease your inner critic, you can learn to love and accept yourself exactly as you are at any moment. Rejecting any part of yourself masks the truth that you are perfect the way you are and alienates you from the reality of the present moment. The statement, “you are perfect the way you are” may seem absurd. When I first encountered this idea, I got upset because I could list numerous aspects of myself that I didn’t like. If this statement were true, there seemed to be no reason to change. It took me many, many years to realize it was true. Even now, there are times when my mind resists this truth. If you reject this statement, that is fine. You really are perfect the way you are, even when you deny it.
I cannot change something of which I am unaware, so that awareness is necessary to effect change. Surprisingly, I have often found awareness to be sufficient. With awareness and intent, change frequently happens gradually and effortlessly. Think about some aspect of yourself that you reject—some part of yourself you think you need to change. Can you learn to love that aspect of yourself? If I can do it, you can do it. Can you discover a sense of spaciousness in your life in which you are not always controlled by your inner critic, and out of which change happens naturally? You can learn to love and accept yourself exactly as you are. Will it be easy? I do not know. Can you do it? Absolutely.