Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Words of Wisdom: A Review of A Gradual Awakening by Stephen Levine

Every once in a while you come across a book that strikes you as a fount of real wisdom. This is such a book

Stephen Levine writes about mindfulness meditation and the practical application of Buddhism in a more inviting and compelling manner than perhaps any other book that I've encountered. Levine bases his practice in the Theravada tradition, but he draws in other sources as well. But it's not his sources that make this book extraordinary, it's his wisdom. As I read these pages, I feel that I'm soaking up the words of a genuine sage. And this perception of his wisdom comes from the fact that his personality never gets in the way of his message, which, I suspect, is perhaps as good a measure of true sage as I can think of.

This isn't the first time that I've read this book. I read it many years ago. But good fortune allowed me to find a copy on the shelves of Prairie Lights this summer, although it's been out since 1979. (My original copy is stashed in a box somewhere in our storage locker.) It was like finding an old friend to sit down and read it again. Indeed, after my meditation retreat, I have an even better appreciation of its gentle wisdom.

I won't go on. I feel inadequate to the task. But if you want a book of genuine wisdom and insight, then I highly recommend this book.