Matthew Ricard: A Fulfilled Life



“A fulfilled life is not made up of an uninterrupted succession of pleasant sensations but comes from transforming the way we understand and work through the challenges of our existence.

Training the mind not only makes it possible to cope with mental toxins like hatred, obsession, and fear that poison our existence, but also helps us acquire a better understanding of how the mind functions and gives us a more accurate perception of reality.

This, in turn, gives us the inner resources to successfully face the highs and lows of life without being distracted or broken by them, and allows us to draw deep lessons from them.

One of the great tragedies of our time is that we significantly underestimate our capacity for change.

Our character traits remain the same as long as we do nothing to change them, and as long as we continue to tolerate and reinforce our habits and patterns, thought after thought.

The truth is that the state that we call “normal” is just a starting point and not the goal we ought to set for ourselves.

Our life is worth much more than that!

It is possible, little by little, to arrive at an optimal way of being.”



My two cents: Ricard is referring to a normal life but his words and advice work for PTSD sufferers also.

My life has little fulfillment when ptsd is out of control.

My fulfillment has come from the intense daily work of trying to heal and the enjoyment of improving in small increments.

Recently, I found the core issue keeping me stuck.

People, we have to persevere when things seem hopeless.

Feeling hopeless and depressed is part of our journey to fulfillment.

Yes, fulfillment looks entirely different for us.

We have to adapt and never give up, I believe these two traits are needed for serious childhood abuse.



6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alyson on August 9, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    Hi Marty – I really appreciate you & your willingness to document your experience. I feel moved to respond and offer a recommendation that you check out George Haas, who like yourself survived sadistic abuse from a father, and like yourself found healing through meditation & mindfulness, but discovered it wasn’t enough, and who did all sorts of trauma work, and found it wasn’t enough, but finally found the healing he was looking for through attachment repair modalities, when like yourself, he was in his sixties, & is now sharing it with others via metta group … listen to his interview on imperfect Buddhist podcast where he tells his story. (I have no relationship or connection whatsoever with him or the org by the way other than recently attending a few day longs online.) But I very much relate to you as I too had an awakening experience as you did but then found I couldn’t stabilize it & my traumatic material broke through and became unmanageable (for me it was unbearable sadness). Anyway, I am just starting out with metta group so I can’t personally say 100 percent it is the solution, but like yourself, I have done a ton of reading, exploration, including kundalini yoga, and looking for answers & to me, the combination of vispassana (Shinzen Young) & the three pillar attachment disturbance, especially disorganized attachment, repair pioneered by Daniel Brown of Harvard, listen to his podcast interviews (two part) on Bulletproof Radio for a quick tutorial offers me, for the first time, true hope (evidence based, with real human beings who have done it themselves & are willing and able to help others like us). Much love to you & deep well wishes that you (and me) find the inner peace we deeply deserve.

  2. Wow. Thank you for your insight and wisdom

    We journey together

    It is a serpentine path

    No one said it was going to be easy

    I will check out your suggestions

  3. Posted by rudid96 on August 9, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    I love your commitment toward healing yourself and the generosity of sharing your knowledge and resources. Thank you.
    Mindful Marty,
    I don’t know if I agree with the statement that “It is possible, little by little, to arrive at an optimal way of being.” What would “optimal” look like? I don’t know. I’d like to believe that the “daily work of practicing behaviors that are healing”… would expand my current space. I want to embrace and enjoy “…improving in small increments.” For me, normal is a ship long since sailed. My hope is I’m able to embrace changes beyond the limitations of my imagination.

  4. Posted by Alyson on August 9, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    As a P.S. – Sorry, Marty, it is the Imperfect Buddha – Post-traditional Buddhism podcast that has the interview with George Haas … it’s interview is titled the Practicing Life … not Imperfect Buddhist. In any event, I think you will find his story (also told in places on his podcast like April’s organizing your practice) & his work interesting!

  5. I listened to the imperfect Buddhist hiking most of it

    He is eloquent and practiced

    I will check out the in therapy one

    I agree with this guy in the path

  6. Redid96

    It is possible, little by little, to arrive at an optimal way of being

    That optimum way of being is way different for us

    Right now, with the gloom and doom that has haunted me this year, calmed

    It feels like Nirvana

    My mind reacts when I let the shit go, I can relax, enjoy small things and appreciate what’s around me

    I have hope when my PTSD is not out of control

    My spirit accepts the challenge of this life

    When PTSD is out of control my outlook is dark, my thoughts are terrible

    When that spell breaks it’s a total change, quickly

    I am two, people

    A depressive guy who wants to escape of the planet

    And the normal me
    I enjoy life and can navigate and feel some happiness and purpose

    My days are good, my meditation practice deepens

    Worry and doubt calm

    My mind is out of survival mode

    The switch is off and danger is out of sight.

    Call me crazy but I think I can improve

    Heal more

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