As we come to the end of the year, with days of leisure and enjoyment before us, we wanted to leave you with a few recommendations for dharma books that you can take with you this holiday season. Our selection is deliberately eclectic, so we hope you find something that speaks to you, no matter your level of interest, experience or life situation. In no particular order, here goes…
The Great Work of Your Life, by Stephen Cope
We recommended this book during our studies of the Bhagavad Gita last year, and Finding Your Calling, earlier this year.
It is a wonderful exploration of the journey towards the purpose that lies at the center of your being. This book draws on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita as well as the life stories of well-known individuals like Walt Whitman, Harriet Tubman and Mahatma Gandhi, to inspire and guide us towards our true calling.
Paradise in Plain Sight, by Karen Maezen Miller
This beautiful book is an invitation into ‘the garden that is your life’. Through Zen stories, and the practical, earthy experiences of tending her own garden, Karen Maezen Miller guides us to a felt sense of the deeper truths and the insightful magic of the natural world—available to all of us, all the time.
“The living truth of life, love, beauty, purpose, and peace—is taught to me right here, no farther away than the ground beneath my feet.”
The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation, by Chogyam Trungpa
One of the classics and all-time favourite dharma books—not for the faint of heart! Trungpa Rinpoche’s writing is fresh, insightful, bewildering and edgy. In this book, he explores all the ways in which we imprison ourselves, and how we can get out of these self-made prisons and access true freedom.
“Delight in itself is the approach of sanity. Delight is to open our eyes to the reality of the situation rather than siding with this or that point of view.”
After the Ecstasy, The Laundry, by Jack Kornfield
Another classic of the dharma world, about what happens ‘after’ the enlightenment experience. What does it mean to go on living in our complex, ordinary, chaotic world, having touched the depths of spiritual experience–Oneness, bliss, nirvana?
“Within the mystery of life there is the infinite darkness of the night sky lit by distant orbs of fire, the cobbled skin of an orange that releases its fragrance to our touch, the unfathomable depths of the eyes of our lover. No creation story, no religious system can fully describe or explain this richness and depth. Mystery is so every-present that no one can know for certain what will happen one hour from now.”
The Posture of Meditation, by Will Johnson
A small but powerful companion to the practice of meditation. This book addresses the oft-neglected physical or somatic dimension of meditation. It provides key principles that guide us into the discovery of our own embodied sitting posture.
“The posture of meditation could be viewed as a mudra of transformation, a bodily gesture or attitude through which the process of transformation has no choice but to begin. Whatever personal postural habits of body and mind serve to obscure the truth of our enlightened nature are gradually dissolved through the assumption of this posture…”
Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl
A powerful book based on the author’s experiences in the Nazi concentration camps, and his philosophy and psychological method based on finding meaning and fulfilment in life.
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”
We would love to hear your feedback and recommendations too. Please get in touch via the contact us page if you have comments. In the meantime, happy reading!