Guest Column: Three Books You Need To Read By Cynic’s Paul Masvidal

Paul Masvidal, shot by Filipe EstacioPaul Masvidal, shot by Filipe Estacio

Paul Masvidal, shot by Filipe Estacio

In our undying efforts to bring you engaging columns you won’t find anywhere else, we’ve reached out to the metal world seeking submissions for a new subject: Three amazing books you have to pick up and devour.

Seeing as you read this blog everyday, we went out on a limb and assumed you’d maybe want to get some decent book suggestions from some of your favorite bands, too. So today, we continue this series on rad, must-reads with an entry from Paul Masvidal, a name you no doubt recognize. Paul — who is known by pretty much everyone for his work with Death — fronts Cynic, who have a fantastic new album in stores today.

Since early childhood I’ve been an avid reader of philosophy, mystical and esoteric books. The following three below are radical teachings on how to free your mind and heart. Enjoy.

“Follow Your Bliss” by Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell reconstructed my world view and what it is to be human. He explains how to go about following your bliss by deconstructing classic myth and distilling it into a timeless essence.

He sees the greater archetype of the human experience and how our actions are essentially shaping our reality with every step. Read Campbell and you will walk away a different person. 

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer. Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”

“When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron
This book is a manual for living that I’ve read countless times. It reminds me that the true nature of reality is groundless, and how we lose the battle when we argue with life as it is. 

Pema advises us to “lean into our pain and discomfort.” It basically goes against every atom in our body telling us to do otherwise and as a result, we wake up. Our comfort zones and carefully crafted cocoons we build our lives around start to dissolve and we find sanity in a space where anything can happen. Life as a result becomes alive and intense in the best of ways because we have nowhere to hide. 

“If we’re willing to give up hope that insecurity and pain can be exterminated, then we can have the courage to relax with the groundlessness of our situation. This is the first step on the path.”

“The Book” by Allan Watts
I first read this book in my late teens. Then again in my mid-20s. I recently read it again and discovered what great truth Watts shares with us with his own unique sense of humor and compassion and intense cutting wit. 

The greatest teaching it gave me is that constant discovery of happiness, peace and serenity is an “inside” job. 

“Thus bamboozled, the individual — instead of fulfilling his unique function in the world — is exhausted and frustrated in efforts to accomplish self-contradictory goals. Because he is now so largely defined as a separate person caught up in a mindless and alien universe, his principle task is to get one-up on the universe and to conquer nature. This is palpably absurd, and since the task is never achieved, the individual is taught to live and work for some future in which the impossible will at last happen, if not for him, then at least for his children. We are thus breeding a type of human being incapable of living in the present — that is, of really living.”

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