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After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

by Jack Kornfield

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield

This classic book explores the experience of meditation and spirituality through quotes and stories from nearly a hundred very experienced practitioners, ranging from nuns and priests to Zen masters and Tibetan Buddhist lamas. They’re all anonymous, so that they could speak freely, and they talk about the highs and lows of their journey. The title tells the story: we might spend hours, days, or even months at the highest spiritual plane, but in the end we still need to clean our teeth and wash our smalls. Even though this may feel like we’ve fallen, in fact we are just living, right here right now in the moment, and that’s the highest achievement we can hope for.

There are so many beautiful quotes and passages in here. Even though in the end I couldn’t quite give it five stars because sometimes I just plain lost the thread through the chapter, there are some lines that are just heartbreakingly beautiful, and capture the human condition to a tee:

Underneath all the wanting and grasping, underneath the need to understand is what we have called “the body of fear”. At the root of suffering is a small heart, frightened to be here, afraid to trust in the river of change, to let go in this changing world. This small unopened heart grasps and needs and struggles to control what is unpredictable and unpossessable. But we can never know what will happen.

Just so. Four and a half stars, and a massive hug to you all.

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