The air has cooled and the days have become cloud-filled and moody. The leaves are starting to change colors and the winds have been blowing harder than usual. Autumn in Oslo has arrived. I'm happy to share a new book list with you.
If you have loved any of the book club recommendations, I always love to hear about it! Just drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org!
By B. Alan Wallace
Non-specialists may be surprised to learn that Tibetan Buddhism views the difference between our daily waking state of consciousness and the dream state we inhabit every night as not so radically different. Buddhist sages assert that indeed, these states of being are so similar that we can use our nightly dreamscape to help train our waking minds for enlightenment (a.k.a. Buddhahood). To do so requires that we learn to become a lucid dreamer, one who can become "conscious" that one is dreaming. The book explores how we can actively determine the dream-state experience as a conscious creator, not as a mere witness responding to stimuli. Through this process we gain tools to become lucid in our waking life, and maybe, just maybe, glimpse a true awakened mind.
By Christine Toomey
If you have any preconceived notions surrounding who becomes a Buddhist nun, this book will provide an amusing (and captivating) course correction. This generous volume explores the lives of Buddhist nuns before and after taking their vows. Toomey meets nuns in India, Burma, Nepal, Japan, and the U.S., Britain, and France. This mix of stories is particularly fun as she meets several nuns who lived quite unique pre-monastic lives such as a Bollywood star, a concert violinist, and a policewoman. I'm always fascinated by those who choose to make contemplative and spiritual training a major part of their life. I think you'll enjoy this eye-opening series of true stories.
By Steven Glazer
The book contains a series of penetrating essays by professional educators (and diverse spiritual leaders that also take on educational roles) detailing the theories, practices, and reports of their work in contemplative education. I was quite moved by several of the essays, one in particular by Rachel Naomi Ramen M.D. stands out in my mind. In this essay, she discusses what occurs in her course at University of California San Francisco called The Healer's Art, a course for medical students and practicing physicians. The general crux of the book looks at how we can imbue education with tools to support the holistic well-being and evolution of a student: mental, physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual, and contemplative/spiritual. This view pushes education beyond the quest to consume information by honoring other modes of knowing and placing human well-being in a place of prime importance.
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Before Elizabeth Gilbert became mega famous from her book Eat, Pray, Love, I discovered her via her 2002 book, The Last American Man. This fascinating biography explores the life and mind of Eustace Conway, a man who consciously chose to leave contemporary society at the young age of 17 years old to live off the land in the Appalachian Mountains, and I mean off the land. At the time of writing, he'd been living off the land (i.e., trapping animals, wearing skins, etc.) and living by his own hand, for twenty years. It's an incredible study of his history, psychology, and the relationships he has had along the way. Inside this story there are also larger questions that probe how humans should live in relationship with the natural world for a sustainable future.
I now have my own little bookshop through Bookshop.org! Bookshop centrally stocks, sells, and distributes books and donates a significant portion of their sales to America’s independent bookstores! I jumped at the opportunity to be an affiliate with this company and wholeheartedly support this mission! For every book you buy in my little shop or via my web link, I receive a 10% commission.