Sunday, January 21, 2018

Book of the year

Looking through my books and posts from last year, I didn't read any great books that were published in 2017, so I can't give out a best book of the year award. There are so many books that are out there free, so many talks that are free. I know the writers who teach the dharma and sell their books don't make a killing. I'm sure they fund their various philanthropies.

I did read Psychotherapy East and West, and that's an interesting book, but I guess I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who wasn't a Buddhist psychotherapist or liked Alan Watts. I like his writings and that is why I'm reading his collected letters. I find his rhetorical style interesting, I study him as a writer.

I'm reading books on love, like Big Love, but I don't know if you would call it Dharma. I do read books as Dharma whether they are or not, but that's a personal decision.

The books that might be under consideration, Sharon Salzberg and Robin Wright's Why Buddhism Is True, I didn't finish. Salzberg's book seemed like a repeat of a past one. And I don't need scientific confirmation that the Dharma is good for me. True for me is good enough.

I wanted to Mark Epstein's new one but that's published this year. I wouldn't mind taking a gander at Unsubscribe. And I wouldn't mind looking at The Lost Art of Good Conversation. There's a new translation of Milarepa's songs I wouldn't mind reading. And Joan Halifax's new book isn't out yet. The Best Buddhist Writing series ended in 2012. I am enjoying Meditation Saved My Life but that was published in 2016.

The above books haven't come to my library last time I checked. Anyone have any good book suggestions?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

spoiler alert

I've had glimpses of insight, a connection to everything, I've felt a weird kind of hallucinatory love. At the time, I didn't think much of it. I guess I've been trained to think peak experiences are distracting, not to be aimed for, just enjoy and then keep moving forward. I didn't even tell anyone when I was on retreat and I was the wind, the leaves, the trees, the roots, the ground, everything.

I go the other way with that now. I think I needed to take them more seriously. That I could descend into a negative place, and forget these things, was not good. I need to remember them, and act on them.

Spoiler alert! Do not read forward if you care about seeing Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams (Amazon Prime). It's kind of like Black Mirror (Netflix), they are episodic scifi, but just amazing.

The first episode is about going on a holiday. Some computer thingy reads your mind and sends you on a vacation. A woman who is leading a lovely life, goes on one out of stress. She ends up in a guilt fantasy--she can't believe her luck, so her holiday is a worse life, but she can get off on suffering for what she feels guilty about in real life. But in the course of things, it becomes confusing which is her real life. She imagines that the suffering life can't be her holiday and gets stuck in the suffering life.

I feel the same way about the spiritual life. It can't be as awesome as it seems. But it is. There's a phrase from the big book, "rocketing into a fourth dimension." I need to remember that. I don't need to choose the suffering life.