Jack Kornfield Book: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path
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Finding miracles in life's laundry
Kornfield begins his new book with the observation: "Enlightenment does exist. It is possible to awaken" (p. xiii). Such times of "great wisdom, deep compassion and a real knowing of freedom," however, alternate with life's dirty laundry, "periods of fear, confusion, neurosis, and struggle" (p. xix). The good news, we discover in this book, is that "the dirty laundry of spiritual practice can best be seen as an invitation to truth" (p. 157).
Kornfield weaves the personal, spiritual accounts of priests, nuns, rabbis, zen masters, teachers, and lamas, and the poetry of Rumi, Mary Oliver, Sharon Olds, Rilke, T. S. Eliot, and Whitman, together with the writings of Emerson, Pema Chodron, Joanna Macy, and Merton, into an inspiring tapestry, which illustrates the real point of his book: authentic, spiritual life "must be fulfilled here and now, in the place where we live" (p. xxi), dirty laundry and all.
Although written from a Buddhist perspective, this book contains enough wisdom to assist everyone in finding their way through these chaotic, distracting, and demanding times. For me, Kornfield's progression, "Practicing with Mountains and Rivers," to "Seeing with the Animals, Listening with the Rivers," to "Grasses and Trees as Teachers" to "Acting on Behalf of all Beings," to "Appropriate Action, Appropriate Stillness" (pp. 260-73) was worth the price of the book alone. This is an excellent book that I will be recommending to all my friends, Buddhist or not, with enthusiasm!