Books Category

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
“When I argue with reality, I lose–but only 100 percent of the time. How do I know the wind should blow? It’s blowing!” –Byron Katie, Loving What Is When Byron Katie woke up in a halfway house in 1986 with her longstanding depression gone, her heart full of joy and everything around her clear and “unrecognizable,” she had no idea that the healing process that took place overnight within her would be something that she could share. Today, over twenty years later, Katie’s loving model of “inquiry” or “The Work”Read More
It’s safe to say that in 1995, few people thought of hiking 1100 gruelling miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, alone, with no prior backpacking experience, as a way to turn their life around. But some may do so today, because one woman in 1995 did: Cheryl Strayed. In 1995, Cheryl Strayed was 26 years old. Her mother had been dead four years. In the wake of that loss, her life had spiralled out of control. Her marriage had fallen apart (she chose the surname “Strayed” for herself at theRead More
Sometimes we go through life like a person who is carrying a heavy burden all the time, to the point where he is no longer even aware that he is carrying it or that he could set it down. The burden of our egoic attachments, our fears and doubts and wanting and stuckness, is a heavy weight that we carry for years or even lifetimes before it occurs to us that we could drop the weight and live more lightly, celebrating the freedom to be our true selves. This lightnessRead More