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November 27, 2017

How to be Here

How to be Here

By: Rob Bell

As an avid listener of Rob Bell’s podcast, the Robcast, for the last several months, I’ve started reading and listening to his books as well. This famous preacher and motivational speaker is probably most well-known for his controversial book Love Wins, but whether religious or not, his book How to Be Here has a message for a broad audience, and I highly recommend it. If you like audio books, he is also a great narrator, with his personal tone and humor evident throughout.

How to Be Here was inspired by Bell’s experience after a head injury, which gave him a concussion that made it temporarily impossible for him to think about the past or the future. Instead, he found himself rooted in the present moment, fully experiencing everything around him without any worry, regret, or self-consciousness. Although achieving such a state of awareness long-term is unrealistic, it pointed him towards the precious value of every moment in his life. Bell emphasizes the creative energy with which each person is endowed, whether they consider themselves a “creative type” or not. We are the creators of our lives in the sense that we choose how and whether to live fully or not. One helpful idea he uses is the Japanese concept of ikigai, one’s purpose in life, what gets you out of bed in the morning. And this may not be what gives you a paycheck, or appears successful, or is embraced by others. What matters is whether it gives you life and enables you to bring to the table what you are uniquely equipped to offer.

Unlike other books about mindfulness or personal calling, I felt that Bell did a much better job of telling stories that connected with real-life existence, not some un-achievable zen state or a life full of “important” work I could never aspire to. If you’ve never read a Rob Bell book, this is a great summation of his life philosophy, one that has inspired many others. He has a fascinating life story of his own. Whether you agree with his beliefs or not, there is a lot you can learn from his story-telling.

Review By:  Alison Frolik