A handbook for those of us who wish to lessen our suffering. --"Wise Brain Bulletin" By Rick Hanson
From the Author
Even under the best of circumstances, life is challenging, and much of the time it is difficult. It is always uncertain, constantly changing, and mostly out of your control. Whether it is taking you on a wonderful ride or stepping on your toes, life will move you with the rhythm and in the direction of its own unfolding, regardless of your best intentions. Life dances and you must dance with it. This is the necessary price and mysterious gift of being alive.
If life is going to dance with you, then what kind of dance partner do you wish to be? Finding a way to be at ease with the dance itself is a crucial skill in finding freedom and meaning in life. Dancing with Life teaches you how to move from suffering to joy in your life.
This book does not offer academic theories or vague promises of finding happiness. Rather it presents a practical approach for dealing with pain and hardship based on the Buddha's teaching of the Four Noble Truths. It leads you along the path of exploring suffering--all suffering, but yours in particular--in order to reach a destination where you can experience what is called a "direct" or intuitive knowledge of the meaning of suffering in your own life. Through this intuitive knowledge, you can find a new relationship with your suffering that will bring you increased meaning, joy, and liberation, no matter how difficult your life may be.
Other spiritual teachers have offered advice on how to deal with pain and hardship, but it was the Buddha who specifically focused on liberation from suffering as the path to liberation in life. In order to take the Buddhist approach, it is not necessary for you to adopt a creed, sacrifice your religion, or transform yourself into some new person. You simply must have faith in the possibility that understanding your suffering can bring about a radical change in how you experience life.
I feel confident that the Buddha's wisdom provides a way--not the way, mind you, but a way--into a more meaningful relationship to life. I base this judgment on my own life experiences, as well as the experiences of my students. May this book help you learn to dance with life--your life just as it is.