Jack Kornfield, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and The Spirit Rock Center, starts this profound and richly developed resource with the following metaphor: "We all know that after the honeymoon comes the marriage, after the election comes the hard task of governance. In spiritual life it is the same: After the ecstasy comes the laundry." Once we've been to the mountaintop, once we've experienced satori, once we've tasted mystical union with the Holy One, what's next?
Kornfield, the author of A Path with Heart, has interviewed Western meditation masters, lamas, rabbis, abbots, nuns, yogis, teachers, and their most senior students and come up with a series of soul-expanding activities and exercises to do in the everyday world of work, family, and community relationships. Or, as Zen Master Dainan Katagiri once observed: "The important point of spiritual practice is not to try to escape your life, but to face it exactly and completely."
Kornfield discusses what he calls the four gates of awakening sorrow, emptiness, oneness, and eternal presence. He looks at "the slow way of initiation, putting yourself over and over into the condition of attention and respect, baking yourself in the oven repeatedly until your whole being is cooked, matured, transformed." And he makes it clear that there is no "enlightenment retirement." Kornfield tells a story to illustrate what he means: "When a proud mother once announced to Mullah Nasruddin, 'My son has finished his studies,' Nasruddin replied, 'No doubt God will send him more.' "
The author is especially insightful in his overview of the four dangers in spiritual community and of the day-by-day battles those on the path of enlightenment must wage with their demons. Shining with wisdom from all the religious traditions, this book is an invaluable resource for all those traveling the exciting journey of everyday spirituality.