Books At My Bedside ~ What I’m Reading Now: Part 1

Dear Reader,

I don’t know about you, but I never used to read more than one book at a time. I remember hearing from friends that they were reading several books at once, and I just didn’t get it. Funny, considering the multi-tasker that I once was. (OK, I confess that may be a premature statement, but I AM breaking the multi-tasking habit and I think it is more positive and encouraging to phrase it in the past.)

I would read assigned textbooks and the like, but when I read for pleasure I just read one book until it was done and then would move on to the next. Admittedly this was easier to do before children – when I could read all day if I wanted to, or stay up as late as I wanted to with no harm done to anyone other than myself. Those days are long gone and college and an “empty nest” are far, far away. I no longer have the luxury of long days spent reading, or pulling an all-nighter just to finish a compelling book.

I don’t know if that explains why I am currently reading THREE books at once. Total mayhem! I thought it would be fun to share them with you.

In this inaugural installment, however, I begin by sharing a book that I just finished:

1) Buddhism for Busy People by David Michie
Originally, I checked this book out from the library over a year ago. I wanted to read it, but never got around to it. However, I really wanted to, so I optimistically bought it…and it has been in my “to read” pile ever since.

The timing must have been right, because I picked it up again and really enjoyed it. It was a relaxing read and I was able to take my time, reflect on what I was reading, and actually think about the concepts brought up. The book, of course, is about Buddhism.

I would say it is a very readable introduction to Tibetan Buddhism told by a Westerner – one who is still working in the “real world” and not a Westerner who has been on retreat for several years, as many authors of this type of book frequently are. For that reason, among many others, I found it very accessible and readable.

I have dog-eared several pages, but one of the quotes that particularly resonated with me was this one, regarding a woman who had spoken with a priest about her difficulty, as a mother, to go away on retreat. His reply? “Your children are your retreat. You should relate to each of them as though they are a Buddha, because you never know who they are.”

The thought is that, through samsara (the universal cycle of birth, death and rebirth caused by a mind grasping at a false sense of self through karma and delusion) we are continually reborn and at any given time we may be interacting with someone who is a Buddha – because they will be in another life, or perhaps they were in the past and they came back to help others reach enlightenment.

I like this idea – I find it helps me stay a little calmer when someone is rude, or cuts me off in traffic, or honks because I drive the speed limit. Not only are they giving me an opportunity to further develop my patience (which you all know I need!), or practice non-attachment, but they just might be giving me the chance to help a Buddha out. That’s pretty good karma.

Write on and Namaste,
jessica

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