A message from the Lifeflow Librarian
Suggested readings and contemplations during a period of isolation and retreat from the outside world.
For many of us, and especially for those without young children at home, this time of isolation from the distractions and busyness of the outside world can be experienced as a time of retreat. During this unusual yet precious time you may find that you have more space in your life for contemplation, meditation and reading.
You might find that you have a pile of books borrowed from the Lifeflow Library that until now you have not managed to read. Perhaps this is an excellent time to catch up with this.
It might also be a good time to reread or choose selections from Lifeflow Director Graham William’s books on meditation. You may have a copy of “Insight and Love”. Chapter 2 entitled “The Gift of Solitude” speaks directly to this time.
Graham’s latest book “In the Flow: Moving Towards Love, Emotional Strength and Living Mindfully” also has several chapters that are particularly relevant at the moment including chapter 13 (Part 2) : Letting Go and chapter 14 (Part 3): The Dark Night of the Soul.
Some of you may also find it useful to reread “Life in Balance: The Lifeflow Guide to Meditation”. The Lifeflow Insight Newsletter has many great articles written by members and teachers that you might also find useful to reread if you have copies of the newsletters at home.
Also here on the Lifeflow blog you’ll find articles written by Lifeflow teachers and members of our community on aspects of meditation. You can find them under the Find out More tab, then Articles and News.
While the Lifeflow Library is closed, you can still borrow books online from the South Australian Library network by using the app “Libby”. It is very easy to use and you register by using your existing library card number. You can borrow ebooks and audio books this way and books by several of the authors mentioned below are available.
There are certain authors whose works are borrowed time and time again by Lifeflow members. The first of these is Pema Chodron who is widely known for her books “When Things Fall Apart”, “The Places that scare you” and “Comfortable with Uncertainty” along with many others. You might say this is exactly what has happened in the world recently…things have fallen apart.
The Pema Chodron Foundation website (https://pemachodronfoundation.org) provides free access to articles, videos, and teachings which you might find interesting if you have enjoyed Pema Chodron’s books.
The “Lion’s Roar” is another useful site (https://www.lionsroar.com/newsletters/). You can subscribe to their online newsletter free of charge to receive interesting and inspiring articles by teachers and writers that relate to what is happening in the world right now.
For example an excellent article released in March was entitled “Living in This Strange Moment Together” by Lama Willa B. Miller. Here is an excerpt:
“We are sitting with the unknown. The unknown is exactly what pulls back the veil. It offers a glimpse [of] the truth that nothing has ever been certain. This world with all its beauty and all its vibrancy is just so because it is not fixed, because everything is contingent. Life’s natural cousin is uncertainty.”
Another writer whose books are frequently borrowed from the Library is Jack Kornfield, a bestselling American author, and teacher in the Vipassana tradition of Burma and Thailand. You might have read his “A Path with Heart” or “After the ecstasy, the laundry”. The website www.jackkornfield.com provides access to videos, articles, and meditations with a section devoted to the pandemic.
The Lifeflow Library has a great collection of books by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh. These books are also popular with members. Several practice resources (dharma talks) relating to these times can be found at thichnhathanhfoundation.org. If you like this author, you will find plenty of online resources including videos by doing a simple a search with his name.
A fascinating online magazine, “Emergence Magazine”, links the environment and spirituality. You can read this journal and subscribe free of charge at the website https://emergencemagazine.org
Other websites include Sounds True (soundstrue.com) where free resources of teachings and tools are currently being offered through its “Resilience in Challenging Times” program. The Sounds True podcast “Insights from the Edge” offers interviews with leading meditation teachers.
Contact with the natural environment has always been important to Lifeflow students and is encouraged on retreats and in our everyday lives. At this moment you may not be able to visit your favourite places nor go on holidays as many national parks and conservation reserves are closed to the public and interstate and overseas travel is not possible. It has been shown that meditating on nature and/or viewing photographs and videos of the natural world can have a similar beneficial effect on the body and mind as actually being there in reality. There are many online resources that can take you away from the confines of suburbia into another world.
For example, a simple search on Tasmania photos can bring up a world of natural beauty. (cys-hiking-adventures.blogspot.com)
For many people reading or writing poetry can help to heal the body and mind. A favourite of many Lifeflow students is the 13th Century Persian mystical poet, Rumi. There are many beautiful videos of Rumi’s poems available online with inspiring nature scenes accompanying the words of the poet. An example is “15 Rumi Poems in English”.
Robyn Walden 22/4/20