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The Lost Art of Good Conversation – Book Review

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

In his new book, The Lost Art of Good Conversation, Sakyong Mipham uses the basic principles of the Shambhala tradition – meditation and an authentic belief in the inherent wisdom, compassion, and courage of all beings. At a time when noise and technology fills our days, Mipham offers us a new lens of connecting. The Lost Art of Good Conversation provides a map to help us to listen and speak more mindfully with loved ones, co-workers, strangers, and even ourselves. Providing guidance grounded in his spiritual traditions (he is head of a worldwide Shambhala community), Mipham explores effective and intentional aspects of conversation

Most of our days are spent cutting through all the noise, cell phone distractions, and social media. Rather than connect deeper with these tools, we have disconnected from ourselves and those we love. Mipham offers practical advice to help us increase our attentions spans, become better listeners, and strive to appreciate the people around us. In a world of digital resources and connectivity to social media and email, we are all in constant connection with one another. Then why are so many people feeling burned out, distant from loved ones, and experiencing deep loneliness? The path starts with recognizing our own goodness and cultivating meaningful conversations. As Mipham says, “Mindfulness is the act of noticing. It is not engaging in like or dislike; it is paying attention to be alive. Mindfulness begins with awareness of feeling.”

Good conversation starts with kindness and compassion. It is the experience of syncing our mind to our heart (rather than a computer). What if the truth we are seeking, the connection we are longing for, and the wisdom that exists in our relationships starts with recognizing our own goodness? If we are willing to look at the deeper truth of ourselves – it starts with a good conversation. Sakyong Mipham provides inspiring ideas and practical tips on how to be more present in your day-to-day life, helping us to communicate in ways that elevates the dignity of everyone involved.

“When we are gentle with ourselves, we can open our hearts to others.”

What is quite powerful in this book is how Mipham gives examples of how to share words as a meeting place. We can stay in the place of what connects us rather than fear the unknown and perhaps areas of what we view differently. “Finally, what makes good conversation great is wisdom – the wisdom to see your world.”

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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All Are Waves Are Water – Book Review

Friday, August 18th, 2017

All Are Waves Are Water by Jaimal Yogis is an expansion of his previous memoir (Saltwater Buddha) about his spiritual journey. Yogis, a surfer, journalist, and spiritual seeker, revisits his quest that blends his search for surf and enlightenment. Descriptions of surf sessions in Indonesia, Mexico, and San Francisco are beautiful pauses into the insight of the beauty of water and lessons of waves.

The depth and power of the book comes in Yogis’s description of “the seeking mind” caught in its own currents—and occasionally transcending them—in places such as the Himalayas, a Franciscan friary in New York, and the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Yogis lets us in on his personal struggles of relationships and spiritual doubts all while weaving together connections to the mystic, the magical, and the ordinary moments we all experience. Yogis shares scientific research, thoughts from religious scholars and poets, and the wisdom of surfers and monks. Each one has a lesson. From a Tibetan monk he learns how to reside in his own sadness. Later, he discovers that even a “tropical beach in Mexico with a beautiful woman, nothing much to do except surf, be creative, meditate, and eat tacos” won’t bring him lasting peace. On Ocean Beach, he seeks balance between life as a journalist and his spiritual path. Through all the struggles, doubts, and uncertainties, Yogis is able to find wisdom everywhere. Yogis reveals that the search for enlightenment is not much different from the search for the perfect wave.

The deeper you get into the book, the more you may find yourself asking some of Yogis’s deeper questions. Are waves deeply connected to both universal waves and the ones we surf daily within our mind? Ultimately, we discover that surfing proves a powerful metaphor for a Buddhist worldview, showing that life’s most turbulent waves are part of nature—and that wisdom means learning to ride the waves in each present moment.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living (Book Review)

Monday, May 16th, 2016

tippettPeabody Award-winning broadcaster, Krista Tippett, has spent years interviewing some of the most fascinating voices of humanity. Her style is one of asking deep spiritual questions and then creating space for deep listening. Tippett’s work on her national public radio program and podcast, On Being, has been share a conversation with people who inspire a sense of wonder and curiosity. Tippett has spent her career interviewing scientists, theologians from several faiths, poets, activists, philosophers, historians, artists, and many more. Within moments of listening to the podcast, it becomes clear that these are more than interviews – they are moments of deep intimacy through the mastery of genuine conversation.

In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills many of the insights she has learned to appreciate from her numerous conversations. Throughout the pages, it becomes clear that the book is a deep meditation and journey on meaning. The chapters are organized around the themes of language, love, faith and hope. Through her years of conversations, Tippett and her conversation partners advocate mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness, humility and cooperation.

Tippett’s book embodies the open question – the deep desire for connection, conversation, and belonging. The wisdom we seek emerges from the everyday experiences. Real connections with one another happen in the ordinary moments of acts of kindness and generosity. Becoming Wise is our journey of asking the powerful questions of who we are to each other.

“I’m a person who listens for a living. I listen for wisdom, and beauty, and for voices not shouting to be heard. ”

This book offers a fiercely hopeful vision of humanity. Tippett sees hope as a force and a resource. For Tippett, “hope” sees and experiences the darkness, and the possibility for good, and makes a choice. Hope is something you put into practice through actions. Tippett reminds us that choosing to be hopeful is far more courageous than being cynical. Hope insists on the possibility of a life of resilience and redemption.

One powerful theme that Tippett reminds us is the gift of presence. Presence is the engagement with life and one another. Becoming Wise reminds us that presence does not mean passivity or acceptance of the status quo. In a world of sound bites, Becoming Wise is a reminder of the longer and deeper conversations needed for change. This book is a practical guide about life’s spiritual beauty through deep reflections. Tippett sheds a light on what it means to be human.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

 

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