No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are

No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are

by Jack Kornfield
No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are

No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are

by Jack Kornfield


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In this landmark work, internationally beloved teacher of meditation and “one of the great spiritual teachers of our time” (Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple) Jack Kornfield reveals that you can be instantly happy with the keys to inner freedom.

Through his signature warmhearted, poignant, often funny stories, with their a-ha moments and O. Henry-like outcomes, Jack Kornfield shows how we can free ourselves, wherever we are and whatever our circumstances. Renowned for his mindfulness practices and meditations, Jack provides keys for opening gateways to immediate shifts in perspective and clarity of vision, allowing us to “grapple with difficult emotions” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) and know how to change course, take action, or—when we shouldn’t act—just relax and trust.

Each chapter presents a path to a different kind of freedom—freedom from fear, freedom to start over, to love, to be yourself, and to be happy—and guides you into an active process that engages your mind and heart, awakens your spirit, and brings real joy, over and over again. Drawing from his own life as a son, brother, father, and partner, and on his forty years of face-to-face teaching of thousands of people across the country, Jack presents “a consommé of goodness, heart, laughter, tears, and breath, nourishing and delicious” (Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird). His keys to life will help us find hope, clarity, relief from past disappointments and guilt, and the courage to go forward.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451693706
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 06/12/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 151,827
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Jack Kornfield, PhD, is one of the best known, most respected meditation teachers in the world. A psychologist and founder of two of the largest Buddhist centers and communities in America, he is one of the key teachers to introduce mindfulness to the West. His books, which include A Path with Heart; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; and The Wise Heart, are classics, selling well over a million copies, and translated into twenty-one languages. Jack has taught at major universities and centers worldwide, including Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, and Berkeley; he teaches regular classes to four hundred at Spirit Rock in Marin County and to large crowds nationwide at retreats, conferences, and events. To learn more, please visit: or

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
Vastness Is Our Home
Sometimes I go about pitying myself, when all the while
I am being carried by great winds across the sky.
We are being carried on a luminous star, sharing in the dance of life with seven billion beings like us. Vastness is our home. When we recognize the spaciousness that is our universe, around us and within us, the door of freedom opens. Worries and conflicts fall into perspective, emotions are held with ease, and we act amid troubles of the world with peace and dignity.
The Dance of Life

Whitney was caught in midlife troubles. Her mother was scheduled for hip surgery, and her father was suffering from early-stage Alzheimer’s. She wanted her parents to continue living in their home in Illinois, but their disabilities made independent living challenging. Whitney’s brother in St. Louis was not involved and wanted his sister to “take care of it.” So, Whitney took a month’s leave from work and went to her parents’ home to help. When she arrived, the house was in shambles. Her mom needed time to heal from the surgery, and her father was unable to care for himself. They could not afford round-the-clock care, and it was clear they would have to move.

Whitney took a walk up a hillside she’d known since childhood. She didn’t want to lose the family home; she wanted her parents to stay there until the end—and she didn’t want to lose her parents. She wept as she walked, but when she reached the top of the hill, she sat quietly, calmed herself, and looked across the vast midwestern fields stretching to the horizon. The sky was filled with cumulus clouds bringing shade to the many small houses clustered at the edge of town and beyond.

Facing this unbounded vastness, she suddenly felt less alone. She could sense how everything has its rhythm—arriving and departing, flourishing and struggling, coming into being and fading away. How many people, she wondered, are in the same predicament we are in right now? As she breathed with more ease, her mind opened further. I am not the only person with aging parents. It is part of the human journey. And as the space within her opened, she felt more trust.

We can all see this way. We can gain a broader perspective. With a spacious heart, we can remember the bigger picture. Even when illness strikes, a parent is dying, or any other form of loss is upon us, we can recognize that it’s a part of life’s seasons.

What would it feel like to love the whole kit and caboodle—to make our love bigger than our sorrows? Among the multitudes of humans, many are experiencing loss and change. Many need renewal. And still the world keeps turning, farmers growing food, markets trading, musicians playing. We live in the midst of a great and ever-changing paradox.

Breathe. Relax. Live each day one at a time.

Table of Contents

Invitation to Freedom 1

Part 1 Freedom of Spirit

l Vastness Is Our Home 9

The Dance of Life

The One Who Knows

Sacred Stillness

Loving Awareness

Running from Hyenas

Rest in Love

Practice: Opening to Spacious Awareness

Practice: Mind Like the Sky

2 Free to Love 21

The Beloved

Love's Many Faces

Grace and Angst

Respond with Love

The Sparkle in Your Eyes

Encounter with the Gods

Embodying Love

Love Baked Fresh

Blessing of Respect

Practice: Lovingkindness Meditation

3 Trusting the Living Universe 41

Tending Our Garden

The Dance of Life

Wise Trust

Beyond Despair

Embraced by a Living Universe

Aging with Trust

Practice: Trust in the Big Picture

Practice: Trust Your Inner Knowing

Practice: Be Inspired by Trust

4 The Eternal Present 59

Touching the Eternal Present

Notice Now

Moral Mathematics of the Moment

Beginner's Mind

How Then Shall We Live?

Finding Sanctuary a Timelessness of the Natural World

Lover of the Moment

That's for You

Practice: Open to Timelessness

Part 2 Obstacles to Freedom

5 Fear of Freedom 79

Trauma, Fear, and Freedom


Trying to Please

Fear of Falling

Acting Flawlessly

Lean into the Wind

Practice: Entering Difficulties with an Open Mind and an Open Heart

6 Forgiveness 97

Forgiving Yourself and Another

Your Spirit Is Not Bound by Your History

Honoring the Past

Heart of Forgiveness

Courage and Clarity

True Release

I'm Going to Kill You

Letting Go: The Chord That Completes the Song

Practice: Forgiveness Meditation

7 Freedom from Troubled Emotions 115

Praying for Our Enemies

Powerful Inner Forces

Befriending the Trouble

Resolving Conflicts

Facing Demons

Dawn of Compassion

Practice: Compassion

Practice: Practice with Troubled Emotions

Part 3 Realizing Freedom

8 Elegance of Imperfection 135

Invitation to Care

Tyranny of Perfection

Wild, Uncharted, Imperfect Glory

Eyes of Love

What You Have Left


It's Already Broken

Practice: I See You, Mara

Practice: Practicing Imperfection

9 The Gift of an Open Mind 153

Zen and the Art of Openness

Prejudice and Perspective

Breaking Barriers

Are You Sure?

Actually See Her

The Healing Power of Words

Heartfelt Communication

Practice: Is This True?

10 The Gift of Authenticity 169

You Were Born to Do This

Staying True

To Whom Are You Faithful?

Start Where You Are

Aware Inside, Calm Outside

Honoring Your Feelings


Free to Be Human

Practice: Being True

11 Free to Dream 185

Express Your Heart

"Bird Got My Wings"

They're Your Dreams

Crafting Your Life

Conscious and True

The Currents of Life

Dream Big and Dance

Practice: You Are an Artist

Part 4 Living Freedom

12 Deliver Your Gifts 201

Free to Act

Try Again

Vision and Action

Bring Your Gift

Selfless Service

The World Needs You

Your Very Flesh Shall Be a Poem

Practice: Deliver Your Gifts

13 Freedom in Challenging Times 219

Our Challenge

Listen with Your Heart

Join the Web of Care

Blessed Unrest

Lead with Humanity

Strategic and Strong

You Have Been Training for This

Practice: Stand Up

14 Live in Mystery 241

Not Far Away

The Mystery of Incarnation

The Earth Is Breathing You

Beyond History and Self

Interbeing: You Are Not Alone

Everyone Gains

Outer and Inner Freedom

Emptiness Is Our Home


"I Told You So"

Practice: Open to Mystery

Practice: just Like Me

15 The Joy of Being Alive 267

Happiness for No Cause

Bouncing for Joy


Pure Heart

You Deserve Happiness


It's in Your Hands

Coursing in Gratitude

Acknowledgments and Bows of Gratitude 283

Index 285

Credits 299

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