150 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After the Ecstasy the Laundry
This is a book primarily about the experience of persons who have traveled the spiritual adventure. They are presented as very human and not like gods at all. This gives hope and encouragement to the rest of us who often after a weekend seminar or month long retreat on returning to the frustrations of the "real" world pause to wonder whether or not the time...
Published on June 11, 2000 by Grant Thompson
39 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Jack kornfield lapses into new age coma
Even though I admire jack's skill as a vipassana teacher, He seems to becoming progressivly warm and fuzzy. His writing style is grating and over sweet and he doesn't seem to have an ounce of critical thought to contribute. This book just seem to continue his slide from vipassana teacher into wayne dyer style new age teacher. I can't recommed this book, But I did like the...
Published on May 9, 2001 by whovian222
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150 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After the Ecstasy the Laundry,
This review is from: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path (Hardcover)This is a book primarily about the experience of persons who have traveled the spiritual adventure. They are presented as very human and not like gods at all. This gives hope and encouragement to the rest of us who often after a weekend seminar or month long retreat on returning to the frustrations of the "real" world pause to wonder whether or not the time spent silently studying, listening,visualizing or meditating really produced any meaningful change. I found the book did not put mystics, spiritual masters and the like on a pedestal, rather it showed us that these people have similar reactions to the day to day events of everyday life like the rest of us with perhaps more understanding and tolerance. The many quotations and poetry from esteemed persons such as Rumi,Ryokan and others are worth the price of the book itself. Although dealing with a very serious topic Kornfield weaves a sense of humor throughout the book and gives us a sense of what it is like to seriously undertake a spiritual journey. Go and buy this book.
70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take this book seriously,
This review is from: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path (Hardcover)Jack Kornfield is one of the few thinkers who writes about the intersection of traditional, academic thought and personal, faith-based spirituality. The result is an astonishingly successful blend of philosophy, memoir, and literary commentary. While Kornfield's spiritual background is Buddhist, he is aware of and receptive to the theories of enlightenments in all major religions and even the more secular Emersonian beliefs that have helped shape American spirituality.
The book is not tightly organized, but is written in a series of short sections, which variously touch on Kornfield's personal history, his current belief system, and his favorite authors, blending them into a coherent whole. I found the sections on T.S. Eliot and Walt Whitman to be among the most insightful commentaries on their work available to the lay reader.
At the same time that Kornfield is astonishingly well-read and deeply wise, he is never scolding or pedantic. As his title suggests, he is well aware of our human foibles and failings, and he displays a deep understanding and tolerance of the ways in which most of his readers will fall short of the example he sets.
This is Kornfield's finest work, and a book that be read for decades to come by those interested in exploring their spirituality.
85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mountain Climbing Is Not Easy,
This review is from: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path (Audio Cassette)One of the stories relayed in this book is that of a spiritual seeker who goes to find a master who lives on the mountain. He tracks down this master while he is carring a heavy burden to his home higher on the mountain. The seeker asks "What is the way of Enlightenment?" and the master puts his burden down. The seeker instantly understands, and thanks the master asking "Now what?" and the master picks up his burden and continues walking up the mountain.
Life is not easy. I don't think entering a spiritual practice will make it any easier. Work will still be work, family will still be family, and bills will still be bills. What we can hope to change is the constant chatter of our minds, and the worry of what tomorrow will bring.
I always thought that a spiritual life meant escaping the world and living in a monestary, or a small mountain community where I would meditate and live simply. I thought it meant giving up all of my earthly wants and desires. Now I'm faced with the odd realization that my life is perfect just the way it is. That I need only to slow down and appreciate what is around me.
I also thought a spiritual life would end suffering for me - the anxiety, and the avoidance of discomfort. That life would become stress free because I would be unattached to everything. That I would have no neurosis, and that I would be able to let everything slide off my back. Now I realize that that too isn't the purpose of spiritual practice. Spiritual practice doesn't help you escape your life, but helps you face it head on. The analogy I've begun to use is that enlightenment is like living with a great insult. The refusal to run away from that which is painful or cling to that which is comforting is what spirituality has become for me.
This book helped put spirituality within my reach. I no longer had to run away to the mountains, or give up my life. I could engage in spiritual practice in my living room, at my job, in my relationships. I could simply be who I am and where I am, and more honestly than I had been willing to before.
Shortly after finishing this book I started to experience tremendous anxiety. I was unhappy at my job, I wasn't performing well, and I was looking for a way out. It took me a few weeks to realize that I was identifying with the stress and looking for a way to solve it. I tried noticing the stress as something "outside of myself", a feeling like hunger, or the pain of a scraped knee, and not who I am. This went a great way towards releiving the stress, but more importantly, I began to accept the stress, and my job, and the responsibilities of my life.
This book also did a lot to dispell the illusions I may have had (even though I knew they were wrong) about what a spiritual life is. The Dalai Lama says that the meaning of life is to be happy. Until now I viewed spirituality as an escape from pain. I thought that that was the path to happiness. But as the story goes, the Buddha became friends with anger and envy. So must I become friends with my life. "Ah, my old friend pain. I see you've come to keep me company again."
Acceptance of these truths, and the courage to live honestly are the most difficult lessons I've ever had to learn. I reccomend this book to anyone who wishes to dispell the illusions, the comforting ones as well as the difficult ones, and begin to face life honestly. For those who wish to maintain their illusions (and I can't blame you for wanting this) do not read this book. To quote Carolyn Myss (who was quoting someone else) "I was not ready for the way that that man would have changed my life."
73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book,
This review is from: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path (Hardcover)Jack Kornfield, the man, gives me hope that we can transform our lives a little bit at a time with some rushing moments of grace. And, we can help to change the world around us. He makes me want to try.
"A Path With Heart" (1993) helped me to commit to a spiritual practice. "After the Ectasy, the Laundry" reminded me that my practice is at the core of my life and that so many others are aspiring for wholeness, and yes, enlightenment (there is actually such a thing).
I recommend it highly.
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A maturing author just gets better and better,
By A Customer
Some of us get depressed when we have "enlightening" experiences, but then find ourselves reverting to type shortly afterwards. Kornfield explains why and gives us a feeling of tremendous relief and continued hope. This book is uplifting, unique, and sorely needed for all seekers on all paths. A perfect blending of spiritual depth and psychological maturity.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What happens after awakening?,
After the Ecstasy is generously sprinkled with the actual words, sometimes half a page or a page long, of people who have been meditating 15, 30, even 40 years. You'll find out what brought them to the meditative path to begin with, and what they've learned along the way. It's fascinating.
There are lots of good anecdotes in this book; interesting and illuminating anecdotes (most of them are true stories). In many Buddhist and Zen books, you read the same stories again and again in different books, but here you find fresh stories, some ancient, some modern, and all very good.
Jack Kornfield is first and foremost a meditation teacher, so woven throughout the book is plenty of good coaching. The meditative path is difficult, and good teaching is vital. I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, so I've specialized in knowing the difference between teachings that help and those that are merely interesting. In After the Ecstasy, you'll find interesting reading material AND coaching that will truly help you in your practice.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and inspirational,
Jack's latest book examines the lifecycle of individual spiritual growth through the eyes and words of modern spiritual masters in a variety of wisdom traditions. His book is peppered with interviews with some of the most important teachers of Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Sufi and Jewish traditions. Most interesting, and the central theme of this book, is his assertion that all of us human beings, even 'enlightened' masters must deal with the mundane and difficult aspects of life, including relationships with family, jobs, and yes - laundry. Not only must everyone deal with these, but Jack believes that one's spiritual path/person growth is deeply grounded in an subsists on these everyday matters.
His interviews with modern masters is especially moving in the sections where he describes how these ordinary folks were drawn into a spiritual path, and the multitude of ways in which this occurs.
For anyone who has read his previous book "A Path With Heart", this is a natural and well-done follow-on. Although he is a Buddhist, in this book (and his others as well) Jack is inclusive: he extracts the common and most fundamental elements of many wisdom traditions and offers them in their simplicity for us to consider.
Like a fine wine, for the 'ultimate' experience this book should be consumed slowly, with plenty of time between sips.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone does laundry...,
This review is from: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path (Paperback)I loved this book. I have read many books on philosophy, religion, and spirituality, but this one stands out as one of my all time favorites. I too have been blessed with many moments of grace and insight throughout my life, but was unsure if these epiphanies were getting me "anywhere", as I sometimes tended to grumble about the laundry. It was wonderful to know that others, even those who are highly regarded spiritual teachers, also grumble about their laundry (and maybe wonder about the missing socks?). I have dropped the unrealistic expectations of enlightenment for its own sake, and continue as before, slowly applying the knowledge and insight that I am gaining to all aspects of my life. Jack Kornfield's anecdotes and poems made me laugh and cry with the joy and pain of the human condition. Make this book part of your library!
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired and Real,
By A Customer
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What no other book does,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path (Paperback)In any of Kornfield's work may be found great wisdom and a heart that knows deeply the folly of attaching strongly to anything, especially to this or that single Dharma style (I distinguish here between PRACTICING in a single tradition, and ATTACHING to that tradition as though it were THE traditon). There are trappings in any practice -- namely the often unnoticed thought that if I do all of these things, if I pass all the koans, or get all the proper empowerments, or do enough hundred-day retreats like my teacher, I'll finally get the Diploma of Enlightenment. AFTER THE ECSTACY is the only book that I know of to completely investigate from almost any possible angle what is often thought of as the "endpoint" of practice, and thus helps free us to simply (to quote Ven. Ajahn Sumedho from the book) "let go, let go, let go" forever. As Kornfield writes, "There is no enlightened retirement."
Uniquely important, AFTER THE ECSTACY was immediately upon its publication required reading for the seminary at our temple. Highly recommended.
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After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path by Jack Kornfield (Paperback - October 2, 2001)