jkphA wonderful book for anyone starting out with meditation, anyone new to yoga wondering how meditation fits in, or for anyone who is already regularly meditating, this is a really accessible resource for deepening understanding of practice.

Jack Kornfield was one of the founders of Insight Meditation in the US, which is based on the mindfulness practices of the Theravada Buddhist tradition of South-east Asia. It is also called the heart of Buddhist meditation and offers “a systematic training and awakening of body, heart and mind that is integrated with the world around us.” Fundamental to Jack’s approach is the view that, ”an integrated sense of spirituality understands that if we are to bring light or wisdom or compassion into the world, we must first begin with ourselves.” And the starting point of this book is that any spiritual practice  or ‘path’  must be connected to our hearts, so that the great failures of our modern society, its materialism and individual isolation are not repeated in our lives.

As Don Juan put it in his teachings to Carlos Casteneda. “Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone one question…..Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good. If it does not, it is of no use.”

Kornfield asks, “When we ask about our current path, we must look at the values we have chosen to live by. Where do we put our strength, our creativity, our love? We must look at our life without sentimentality, exaggeration or idealism. Does what we are choosing reflect what we value most deeply?”