May 1, 2006

“A Path with Heart”

A Guide Through
the Perils and Promises
of Spiritual Life
by Jack Kornfield

Publisher Comments:
Perhaps the most important book yet written on meditation, the process of inner transformation, and the integration of spiritual practice into our American way of life, A Path with Heart brings alive one by one the challenges of spiritual living in the modern world. Written by a teacher, psychologist, and meditation master of international renown, this warm, inspiring, and expert book touches on a wide range of essential issues including many rarely addressed in spiritual books. From compassion, addiction, and psychological and emotional healing, to dealing with problems involving relationships and sexuality, to the creation of a Zen-like simplicity and balance in all facets of life, it speaks to the concerns of many modern spiritual seekers, both those beginning on the path and those with years of experience.

A Path with Heart is filled with practial techniques, guided meditations, stories, koans, and other gems of wisdom that can help ease your journey through the world. The author's own profound — and sometimes humorous — experiences and gentle assistance will skillfully guide you through the obstacles and trials of spiritual and contemporary life to bring clarity of perception and a sense of the sacred into your everyday experience. Reading this book will touch your heart and remind you of the promises inherent in meditation and in a life of the spirit: the blossoming of inner peace, wholeness, and understanding, and the achievement of a happiness that is not dependent on external conditions.

A Path with Heart shows us how we can bring our spirituality to flower every day of our lives. It is a wise and gentle guidebook for an odyssey into the soul that enables us to achieve a deper, more satisfying life in the world.

Meaningful Quotes:
Spiritual joy and wisdom do not come through possession but rather through our capacity to open, to love more fully, and to move and be free in life.

Our love is the source of all energy to create and connect.

“In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the spirit.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

In sitting on the meditation cushion and assuming the meditation posture, we connect ourselves with the present moment in this body and on this earth. We sit in this physical body halfway between heaven and earth...

“Our hearts can grow strong at the broken places.” anonymous

“The mind creates the abyss, and the heart crosses it.”
Sri Nisarzadatta

To live life is to make a succession of errors.

“What we need is a cup of understanding, a barrel of love, and an ocean of patience.” St Francis de Sales

To undertake a genuine spiritual path is not to avoid difficulties but to learn the art of making mistakes wakefully, to bring to them the transformative power of our heart.

Boredom comes from lack of attention.

“Only a spiritual warrior can withstand the path of knowledge. A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges. The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.” Don Juan

Even the most exacted states and the most exceptional spiritual accomplishments are unimportant if we cannot be happy in the most basic and ordinary ways. If we cannot touch one another and the life we have been given with our hearts.

“The spirit and the body carry different loads and require different attentions. Too often we put saddlebags on Jesus and let the donkey run loose in the pasture.” Rumi

“Those who enter the gates of heaven are not beings who have no passions or who have curbed the passions, but those who have cultivated an understanding of them.” William Blake

Restlessness is only the surface level of a beautiful wellspring of energy within us, an unrestricted flow of creativity.

“True enlightenment and wholeness arise when we are without anxiety about nonperfection. “ Third Zen Patriarch

“(True men and women of old) slept without dreams and woke without worries. Easy come, easy go, they took life as it came gladly.” Chuang Tyn

“The first thing you learn in life is you're a fool. The last thing you learn is you're the same fool. Sometimes I think I understand everything, then I regain consciousness.” unknown

...when these qualities of Buddha nature and personal self are combined with a deep realization of the emptiness of self, we can be said to have fully discovered the nature of self. This true self is both unique and universal, both empty and full.

True compassion arises from a healthy sense of self, from an awareness of who we are that honors our won capacities and fears, our own feelings and integrity, along with those of others.

Compassion for ourselves gives rise to the power to transform resentment into forgiveness, hatred into friendliness, and fear into respect for all beings.

“As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapons of love.” Martin Luther King Jr

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.
  Thus the wise man residing in the Tao sets an example for all beings. Because he doesn't display himself, people can see his light. Because he has nothing to prove, people can trust his words. Because he doesn't know who he is, people recognize themselves in him. Because he has no goal in mind, everything he does succeeds.” Tao Te Ching

“Keep yourself at peace first, and then you will be able to bring peace to others.” Thomas a Kempis

Other books by Jack Kornfield:
After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace
Teachings of the Buddha