I should start this post with admitting that I am not a practicing Buddhist so my recommendations may appeal more to the uninitiated or the newly initiated souls seeking enlightenment in their lives. I have read these books as a part of my own journey to find a balance in my spiritual life and to understand the teachings of the Buddha. I find the teachings of Buddhism very similar to the messages of the Grandfathers of my ancestry. Living a life of respect for others, loving all living things on the earth, and being a peaceful example of humanity.
|Healing Anger: The Power Of Patience From A Buddhist Perspective
If it were possible, I would love to see this book made a required reading of all adults. Anger is the root of so much of what is wrong in this world. Anger drives us humans to do awful things to each other and it is difficult to be a loving person to others if there is anger in our hearts. Anger and hatred become obstacles in our lives that are sometimes difficult to overcome. His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches how to use patience and tolerance in order to have a better life for ourselves. We learn that one does not have to be meek and passive in order to deal with our anger but instead we need to practice self-discipline in ways that help us to have more patience, better tolerance and compassion.
|Work: How to Find Joy and Meaning in Each Hour of the Day
As humans we can read and even hear the messages of our faith and tell ourselves that we are going to follow the teachings and be a better person and we mean it. The problem arises when we go to work the following day and are exposed to toxic situations and people. The teachings go out the window and we become a part of the problem. Most of us can not give up our daily jobs in order to live a more peaceful life. I love the simple explanations that Thich Nhat Hanh uses to show us a way to become aware of the nature of Buddha that resides in all of us so that we can become a blossom of hope in the quagmire of nastiness that surrounds us.
|Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears (Shambhala Library)
I think most of us have people in our lives that are able to “hook” us into feeling negative about ourselves, our jobs or our families. They seem to know how to push the right buttons to call up our fears and disappoints and cause us to fall into the habits of reacting badly. Pema Chodron writes to us in her warm and encouraging style with recommendations of using the four “R”s to overcome these habits. By recognizing, refraining, relaxing and resolving we can free ourselves to a more peaceful existence.
|The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology
I was drawn to this book from the title, The Wise Heart. I was pleasantly surprised with the gentleness in the stories and anecdotes and the humor of the author. The concepts are new but are told in a modern way and should resonate with the masses. I was reminded of a wise Grandfather sharing his insights of life and how to embrace the love and joy that resides in all of us but is often times stifled and kept pushed down. Kornfield shows us in story and application how to let the love and joy rise to the top.
|Buddha in Blue Jeans: An Extremely Short Simple Zen Guide to Sitting Quietly
Sometimes you don’t need to read a tome to get good information. This book is really short, 30 pages but it gives some great advice on a practice that is so beneficial to all humans. People of any faith or culture can benefit from the act of sitting quietly and reflecting on life situations. A good little book with practical application.
Beverly Owens is a free lance writer and blogger who was raised in a Christian household. Her natural curiosity inspired her to learn about all of the world’s religions to better understand her own faith. Her journey brought her into following the teachings of her Native American ancestors. She also discovered that although there are differences in each of the world faith systems, there are many more similarities. She draws from what she feels are the best of all of them. You can read her spiritual blog at: native-american-totems.com.