Books Category

From ancient times communities of the practice of the Way of Awake Awareness have had six office holders who, as disciples of the Buddha, guide the activities of Awakening the community. Amongst these, the tenzo bears the responsibility of caring for the community’s meals. The Zen Monastic Standards states, “The tenzo functions as the one who makes offerings with reverence to the monks.” Since ancient times this office has been held by realized monks who have the mind of the Way or by senior disciples who have roused the Way-seekingRead More
Where does creativity and imagination fit into our lives? In the article “Can Imagination be Trained? A Crucial Question for Schools Today”, published in the Journal of Anthroposophy and featured in the book, Waldorf Education, author Christy Barnes looks at the value imagination plays in our schools and tackling the challenges we see in our world today. For most, it is common to value how accurate or efficient something may be – whether we are determining what new product to buy or in talks around large-scale issues such as transportationRead More
Recently, the Toronto Star profiled an author’s visit to Toronto to hype a weight loss book called “Weight Loss For People Who Feel Too Much” which contends that some overweight people may be overweight because of poor boundaries and taking on the energies of others. It’s an interesting enough thesis that I wanted to investigate the book further. Colette Baron-Reid already has a significant following in the New Age community as an intuitive counsellor and life coach. She’s chosen to share her own journey with weight loss and what she’sRead More
Lama Surya Das, of the same generation of Westerners who made Eastern philosophy available in the West as Sharon Salzberg and Ram Dass, has lived with enlightened beings in Nepal in tough, monastic conditions. In “Awakening The Buddha Within”, he brings back to the West a clear understanding of the teachings of Buddhism that relate to the fast-paced modern Western lifestyle. The premise of the title is that everyone is, in fact, a Buddha – primordially pure and perfect. We only have to awaken to that Buddha nature. Lama SuryaRead More
A twenty-nine-year-old man lived in almost continuous anxiety and times of suicidal depression. He experienced dread, alienation and self-loathing to a point that became entirely unbearable and said to himself, “I cannot live with myself any longer.” Then he suddenly became aware that this was a peculiar thought. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with. Maybe only one of them is real.” This realization stopped his mind entirely and heRead More
Perhaps the biggest turning point in my life took place in July 2005. But it happened at least in part because of a bookstore gift card from Christmas 2004. I was new to Toronto, working as a temp, and rarely spent money on new books. The gift card brought me into a bookstore where I found a book entitled “Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita”, by Ram Dass (the teacher and writer better known for his book “Be Here Now”). “Paths to God” is based on a series ofRead More
We live in an increasingly difficult time on the planet, as well as for many people on an individual level. What we do with these difficulties – or don’t do – marks how much we are willing to grow and learn from the places that scare us, and how much we can continue to serve and heal a suffering planet. As Pema Chodron explains in her book “When Things Fall Apart”, when something unexpected happens – abandonment, loss of a job, bereavement, betrayal, or even smaller things like a badRead More
Benedictine monk, writer and speaker Brother David Steindl-Rast has become known to many for his books “A Listening Heart” and “Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer” over the two decades since they were published. His work on gratefulness has been so powerful that there is now a Network for Grateful Living, which “provides education and support for the practice of grateful living as a global ethic, inspired by the teachings of Br. David Steindl-Rast and colleagues.” The Network goes on to explain, “Gratefulness – the full response to a given momentRead More
In November 2006, researcher and social worker Brené Brown took a look at the data she was gathering, put a hand over her mouth, and said to herself, “No. No. No. How can this be?” The pattern she saw was so shocking and so transformative that she experienced a breakdown (or spiritual awakening) that has since galvanized her work and catapulted it into the public eye via TED talks, PBS specials, and her book “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go Of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be And EmbraceRead More
For many whose lives are affected by the rhythm of “back to school” in September (whether as students, teachers, parents or support staff), the beginning of an academic year can feel like even more of a new year than January 1. The fresh pens and blank notebooks bring a sense of potential for making positive changes, resolving to do things differently this year, setting goals for the year to come. I certainly felt this way about each new school or university year I undertook. As a student, I wanted toRead More