Hey there! Lorraine here. My buddy Greg passed me the book Buddha’s Brain over the summer while we were at GenCon. Gotta say, I was surprised how helpful it was. I have major problems with my feelings of self-worth. It’s so bad that I often sabotage myself in social situations, making everything awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved. All too often I assume I’m worthless and a bother to be dealt with, which makes it very hard for even well-meaning people to interact with me. The chapter on Compassion and Assertion was a huge help to me in the area. It reminded me of the harmony that comes from balance. I have to remind myself that I’m also a person that deserves kindness and respect like anybody else, and I shouldn’t expect people to kick me around, nor should I think I deserve it when they do. Funny how simple this seems now.
Anyway, thanks for the book. I’ll be sure to pass it on to someone who can get some good out of it. :)
Hi all! My name is Andrea and I’m writing here from Bloomfield, NY. I included a picture of the view from my deck at sunset, as this is when and where I usually did most of my reading. A few months ago, it was recommended to me by the creator of the Enlightenment Library himself that I read The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield, but of course I didn’t get to it until recently. However, once I started, it was difficult to stop, as I found that I could easily relate the concepts to my own life.
Throughout The Wise Heart, different aspects of Buddhist psychology are addressed, and most of them are quite similar to Western psychology, with the integral inclusion of mindfulness practice. A major theme of Buddhist psychology, as described by Kornfield, is loving-kindness, or compassion; while most of us do our very best to be loving and kind, I think we all know how, in the midst of a struggle, it can be quite difficult to always remain compassionate towards others, and ourselves. While reading The Wise Heart, I was continuously reminded to be patient, to accept without judgment, to realize that while I could not always prevent pain from occurring, I could choose whether or not I suffered. One of the most magnificent parts of this book is that at the end of nearly every chapter, there are specific instructions as to how to incorporate whichever lesson was addressed in the chapter into daily life in the Western world - this makes a meditation practice, as well as reversing unhealthy thought processes that have been practiced for years, a realistic and achievable goal.
I don’t think any further description I write could possibly do The Wise Heart any sort of justice. I’ll be starting my senior year of college this fall, and I’m looking forward to passing The Wise Heart on to friends in the same position so that they too can benefit from the wisdom contained on its pages as they prepare for a new chapter in life.
“With wisdom let your mind full of love pervade one-quarter of the world, and so too the second, third, and fourth quarter. Fill the whole wide world, above, below, around, pervade the world with love filled thought, free from any ill will, love abounding, sublime, beyond measure.”
This is Greg in Evansville Indiana, still pretty close to where the library project started. I just finished Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson. I’ve never been the intuitive type so I greatly appreciated a more technical look at how precisely one can clear one’s mind. All in all it’s a rather interesting way of thinking. The idea of remaining goal-less throughout conversations is not a perspective I’ve ever really considered. Talking to strangers takes effort, so why not at least have a goal of establishing diplomatic relations? I’m going to have to attempt a few things from this odd perspective. Even though I know thinking positive thoughts about people I don’t like is good for my stress levels, it’ll take some practice. It helps to see a neuro-chemical argument for how it’s in my own best interest to make the effort to not just be polite, but more actively wish well to lessen the number of threats my mind catalogs.
I’m Zoya from Chicago and I was given The Prophet by my dear friend Alyssa. The first time I read the book, I went through it too quickly, thinking it was a bit too symbolic for my taste and appreciation. Upon a second, more in-depth read, I took the time to think about the themes. I would put the book down, ponder, and pick it up again, having taking a journey in my mind that brought me to a new peace.
Most of all, the idea to rest in reason and move in passion was one that resonated with me. The dual roles of reason and passion, intertwined instead of separated, caused me to reflect on my own decisions and movements.
One of the other thoughts that stuck with me is the role of teachers in each of our lives. “The teacher who walks in the show of the temple, among his followers, givens not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and lovingness. If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind”. There are teachers all around us in our lives, in formal and informal roles. Those ones who are most effective are the ones who push us to our limits, sometimes without our conscientious understanding of this very process.
For the next reader, I found a bit of history about Kahlil Gibran to be quite interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kahlil_Gibran
“Read, grow, then pass it on!”
The Prophet was left with me, Alyssa, in Seattle. It took me a while to really get into the book though once I was mentally open to reading it, I was hooked and truly delighted in creating space to absorb each chapter. I was mesmerized by this book and liken it’s single-topic chapters to Rainer Maria Wilke’sLetters to a Young Poet.
The most salient thought that I’m still absorbing is this ideal of the inherent duality within supposed contradictions: joy and sorrow, buying and selling, reason and passion. This concept resonates deeply within me as I feel we exist within contradiction and are often living out various degrees of opposing truths. We can be good and also not good at the same time. Joyful and also full of sorrow. What illuminated itself to me in reading this book is the fact that these contrasting feelings or truths are more than co-existing, they are dependent on one another. We cannot be purely good without having some elements of evil within us, if only for being partly culpable for the evil that lives around us. We do not just give and receive, we must give in order to get something in return.
Much more to savor in this short but powerful reading. I hope it makes its way to you soon.
I’ll go ahead and get this thing started with the first post.
My name is Danny and I am currently traveling across the country, from Evansville, IN on my way to Seattle, where I’ll be living for a few years. I included my bike in this picture because, for me, it represents travel and adventure.
I’m reading Jack Kornfield’s A Path With Heart. There are many things about it that have moved me, but one of the most profound is its emphasis on gazing internally and uncovering our own insecurities and their origins. It’s been said that in order to truly understand and love another, we must first understand and love ourselves. This book encourages us to patiently and compassionately come to terms with past hardships and the burdens they have caused us to bear over the years. The idea is to comfort your past and present selves, so that the pain will not only be healed, but can direct positive action. Kornfield writes, “When we truly come to terms with sorrow, a great and unshakable joy is born in our heart.” It is difficult to confront our painful histories, our past mistakes, but doing so leads to immense personal growth, which may then be shared with those around us.
From Tucson, AZ,
Here is the initial library! It consists of around two dozen books on mindfulness, meditation, yoga, love, eastern philosophy, compassion, and other related topics. More books will be added to the collection with time. Anyone is free to make a contribution.
Each book contains the raison d’etre for the library, as well as the information for this blog, including the password — a sheet of paper has been pasted into the front cover. The idea is that those who participate will share their location and any thoughts regarding the readings, the library, or broader issues.
Enjoy the reading, then pass it on to someone you know (or even someone you don’t). Anyone can benefit from the wisdom presented in these books.
“May all beings benefit from our practice.”