Monday, June 28, 2021

When the 'wellness' industry doesn't get it


I saw this in the supermarket aisle example of how the wellness industry doesn't always align with the dharma.

Wellbeing? Yes.
Mindfulness? Yes.
Creativity? Yes.
Escaping? Nup. Well... not when it comes to our response to difficulty anyway.

The dharma is about confrontation with the reality of life, not consolation - escaping or transcending it. The latter is the business of religion. The Buddha was on about how to flourish in THIS life, here now.

Of course, sometimes in the moment, if we're in the grip of a strong reaction, or if we're in a toxic situation, removing ourselves can be skillful. So a temporary escape can be part of good practice, while we self-soothe or muster our resilience and energy.

Or 'escaping' from the everyday occasionally for some quiet time, a retreat perhaps, some joy, fun or regeneration. But these things are very transient (anyone remember the post-holiday blues?) Even meditation retreats 'wear off' soon enough.

Other than some temporary regeneration, escaping doesn't have much to offer wellbeing in any kind of structural way. Instead, we can learn to meet everything that comes with curiousity and courage.

The dharma offers us the challenge of dismantling our reactive habits which is a hugely powerful tactic to increase our wellbeing. But we need to reverse our habit of escaping unpleasant experiences in order to do that so that we can get to know them and disempower them.

What role does 'escape' play in your life?

(Click here for my just-launched book - The Buddha for Modern Minds: A non-religious guide to the Buddha and his teachings. )

Monday, June 7, 2021

I didn't tell you about my book!


Today a friend pointed out to me that I hadn't actually posted about my new book on this website. I'd done so on the Facebook Page, but not here! Those of you who've subscribed to emails from the website are likely to be JUST the people who'd want to read it!! 


So..... in March this year I finally published the book I started writing no less than NINE years ago! It's called The Buddha for Modern Minds: A non-religious guide to the Buddha and his teachings.

The first half is like an FAQ - all of the questions that people (like me) tend to ask when they're first exploring the dharma (teachings of the Buddha). 

In here you'll also find some really succinct summaries of the teachings, who the Buddha was (not a prince!) and answers to many of the questions and confusions you might have.

The second half covers the key planks of the Buddha's teachings in more depth. The conventional Buddhisms call these the Four Noble Truths, but it's highly unlikely that this is what the Buddha called them. They're more usefully called the Four Tasks, or as I call them, the Four Great Tasks (because they're both challenging and noble, if not in name, definitely in nature).

You can check out a quick summary of it here on my website, or there's a more detailed summary on amazon where you can also buy it (as well as other good online bookstores, or if you're in Sydney, from Windhorse Books in Newtown).

If you know anyone else who's a bit curious about the dharma, please do recommend them to it. This is not a commercial exercise for me - I'll never so much as break even on the cost of producing it - it's my gift to others wanting to live a more conscious and fulfilling life. I've been getting fabulous feedback about it - a really easy read apparently. 

I hope you like it!