How a skeptical anchorman became a Buddhist

Posted: April 11, 2015 at 11:59 pm

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Dan Harris is author of "10% Happier" and an anchor of ABC News.

I was raised by secular scientists in The People's Republic of Massachusetts. (I did have a Bar Mitzvah -- but only for the money.) I've spent my career as a proud skeptic. My favorite part of being a journalist is the right -- the obligation, really -- to doubt everything and everyone.

And yet, here I am ... a Buddhist.

This declaration means both less and more than you might think.

Less, because Buddhism is not really a faith -- at least not as I understand or practice it. And more, because the version of Buddhism I've embraced is something that could be useful to millions of skeptical people who might otherwise reflectively reject it. Maybe even you.

But first, how the hell did this happen to me?

An on-air Waterloo

It all started with a panic attack on national television.

In 2004, I was filling in on a show called "Good Morning America." (Hint: it airs on a network not named CNN.)

My job that morning was to come on at the top of each hour and read a series of short stories off the Teleprompter. A few seconds into my first newscast, I was overtaken by an overwhelming bolt of fear. My heart started racing, my palms were sweating, my mouth dried up and my lungs seized. I couldn't speak. I had to bail, right in the middle, by breathlessly tossing it back to the main anchors of the show. To say the least, it was pretty embarrassing.

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How a skeptical anchorman became a Buddhist

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April 11th, 2015 at 11:59 pm

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