• About This Booklist

    People often ask me for guidance about books to read, particularly those that would enhance the curriculum outlined in Wake Up To Your Life.

    I will post new titles each week, along with brief comments outlining the main topic, level of practice for which it is appropriate, and how you might use the book. Each entry is also categorized according to the chapter of Wake Up To Your Life it might relate to.

    If you are familiar with a given title and have something to say about it, please add your comments as they will help other viewers find books that will be helpful to them.
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Heart Lamp (Tsele Natsok Rangdrol)

Lamp of MahamudraFull Title: Heart Lamp: The Heart of the Matter and Lamp of Mahamudra
Major Topic: Mahamudra, direct awareness practice
Level: experienced and advanced

Two concise, comprehensive treatments of Mahamudra meditation have just be republished together. This is a practice manual. Study the fundamentals and let the richness of the teachings unfold in your practice.

Learning How to Learn (Idries Shah)

Learning How to LearnFull Title: Learning How to Learn: A Practical Philosophy in the Sufi Tradition
Major Topic: what constitutes learning
Level: all levels
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Sufi insights into basic human processes such as knowing and learning define very clearly what works and doesn’t work in each of these areas. Read and study carefully and then look at your own life with “new eyes”.

As It Is (Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche)

As It IsFull Title: As It Is: Volumes 1 and 2
Major Topic: Using traditional practices and methods to know mind nature directly.
Level: all levels
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Urgyen Tulku, even among Tibetans, had a special gift for leading people into the experience of mind and explaining in simple language how to practice deeply. In these two volumes, he describes traditional vajrayana teachings in terms of mind and mind nature. Read a chapter or a few pages carefully and then do some meditation. Experiment with the methods and find the ones that work for you. (Note: It can be hard to find without the ISBN: for Volume 1 is 9627341355; for Volume 2 it is 9627341398)

Unfettered Mind (Takuan Soho)

Unfettered MindFull Title: Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master
Major Topic: presence
Level: experienced and advanced
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Using the context of martial arts, Takuan describes how to live awake and present. A subtle book, to be read with care. It may take time to appreciate exactly what Takuin is pointing to in each section.

Little Book on the Human Shadow (Robert Bly)

Little Book on the Human ShadowFull Title: Little Book on the Human Shadow
Major Topic: a commentary on Wallace Steven’s poetry, illuminated by Bly’s articulation of Jungian approaches
Level: all levels
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Contemporary view on how to recognize, neutralize, and step out of the operations of projection. The section on retrieving the shadow is an excellent guide to working with projections.

Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin (Idries Shah)

Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla NasrudinFull Title: Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin
Major Topic: amusing stories that can be interpreted on many levels
Level: all levels

This Middle Eastern folk hero consistently confounds and delights the reader as he presents one conundrum after another. Find a story that speaks to you and sit with it. They may appear nonsensical, but each story points at an aspect of reaction or awakening.

Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

Alice in WonderlandFull Title: Alice in Wonderland
Major Topic: A fantasy world constructed by the author.
Level: all levels

This classic children’s book is a virtual must for anyone who goes to any depth in Buddhist meditation. Lewis Carroll’s logical absurdities create a dreamlike atmosphere in which anything and everything is possible. From the nonsensical Jabberwocky, which nevertheless moves one emotionally, to the need to walk away from where one is intending to go, Carroll time again points (albeit inadvertently) to the kinds of paradox and mystery one encounters in practice. The principal theme is the mind training instruction “regard all experience as a dream”. The logic puzzles and the play of language frequently create gaps in the conceptual mind and one can rest in those gaps.