Awake Mind, Open Heart: The Power of Courage and Dignity in Everyday Life

Awake Mind, Open Heart: The Power of Courage and Dignity in Everyday Life

by Cynthia Kneen, David Schneider
     
 

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Twenty-five years ago renowned Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche introduced teachings of the Shambhala warrior tradition—teachings that show how we could live as enlightened citizens and help create an advanced society based on fearlessness and non-aggression. Now Awake Mind, Open Heart makes these teachings accessible to the widest

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Overview

Twenty-five years ago renowned Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche introduced teachings of the Shambhala warrior tradition—teachings that show how we could live as enlightened citizens and help create an advanced society based on fearlessness and non-aggression. Now Awake Mind, Open Heart makes these teachings accessible to the widest possible audience. Author Cynthia Kneen, who has conducted Shambhala Training workshops for more than twenty years, shows us how to develop personal power through direct, genuine experience and how to cultivate natural bravery, authenticity, and gentleness. Directed especially to readers new to Shambhala Buddhism, she also teaches how to develop genuine dignity by connecting to the strength and wisdom of the world as it is, and how to transform fear into fearlessness. This is an invaluable introduction to these ancient Tibetan teachings.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Shambhala is both a legendary, quasi-mythical kingdom loosely akin to Shangri-la, and also a system of teachings on "how to manifest dignity and human power in everyday life." Kneen, a teacher of meditation programs, asserts that Shambhala has existed through the centuries as a kind of gnostic, secret knowledge within elite Buddhist circles. Shambhala does not, however, emphasize traditional Buddhist tenets such as impermanence, interconnectedness or even the teachings of the historical Buddha himself. As Kneen outlines in the first several chapters, Shambhala instead revolves around recognizing and trusting the basic goodness of the world and of oneself. This process is aided by meditation, and Kneen provides some practical tips on how to meditate. Next, she describes how daunting obstacles, both internal and external, can be faced with a warrior spirit by rousing a special inner vitality called "windhorse," which leads to intense personal power and dignity regardless of outside circumstances. This, in turn, allows one to open up to the world and to begin building a better society. Kneen provides many personal examples of her own experiences with Shambhala, and these are often amusing and memorable. The writing, however, is frequently longwinded, and later chapters tend toward a vague assertion of spiritual principles rather than the specificity that makes the earlier chapters focused and accessible. This is an informative introduction to Shambhala, though many readers will find it falls short of the author's stated goal of allowing them to make a personal connection with Shambhala's teachings. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
These three authors made lemonade when life gave them lemons; all insist that the answer to life's riddle lies inside you. A former editor at Essence magazine, Cole (How To Be: Contemporary Etiquette for African Americans) hopes to "inspire you to continue forward on your path to you." If that sounds vague, it is. Readers must find their true identity via personal transformation, she argues; this requires active participation, delving, probing, and a lot of hard work, none of which is spelled out here. Chapters titled like Boy Scout maxims (e.g., do your best, work wisely) gently explore different aspects of changing one's life (e.g., have fun, take time to focus) in order to identify one's personal truth. Overall, this book has some nice ideas, as when it endorses journaling to "track your life's evolution," but the lack of concrete steps makes it useful only for determined self-starters. Libraries should instead consider Martha Beck's worthwhile Finding Your Own North Star. Sussman's Images of Desire applied the concepts of eidetic imagery to sensuality, but her latest book is more general. Eventually labeled the science of our emotions, "doing" images is a process that unearths lucid, visual sensations from one's subconscious to unravel objectively the "composite of inner emotions." Through this process, readers get in touch with their true feelings, achieve peace, and eventually radiate joy. The book contains more than 40 exercises to help "find the source of our greatest strengths and weaknesses" on a variety of topics (e.g., career, parenting). Sussman, though, wastes considerable space preaching (e.g., about the sanctity of marriage) instead of guiding, and while many consider therapeutic fantasy one of various tools, here it supposedly cures all. Ellen Curran's Guided Imagery for Healing Children and Teens: Wellness Through Visualization is a better bet. First-time author Kneen makes no bones about her devotion to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the late Buddhist meditation master who introduced many Buddhist teachings to the West. Here she shares her "understanding of Trungpa's...original teachings" so that readers can make a "personal connection to their meaning." Perhaps unwittingly, this quickly degenerates into channeling his shtick. With a goal somewhat similar to Cole's, Kneen urges readers to attain "inner authority [and] gain full presence in the world." Opening one's heart means unearthing treasure inside you (e.g., internal strength, peace) via meditation. Such a courageous and energetic process will take much more illumination than Kneen provides; while noble, this book is often indistinct. Determined readers could squeeze something from this, but libraries would get more bang for their buck with Jonathan Landow's clear, no-nonsense Buddhism for Dummies and should also consider Sylvia Boorstein's Pay Attention, for Goodness' Sake or Joan Borysenko's results-oriented Inner Peace for Busy People. Buy by demand for all three. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781569245514
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
11/28/2002
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,087,246
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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