REVIEW: Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo

27-May-2013 Contributed by: Andie Antoine

Today is a gift.

Andy Antoine

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein.


Buddhist philosophy is underpinned by a practice of gratitude for our presence on earth as humans – a ‘precious unrepeatable’ experience. Gratitude comes to light when we take a minute to mediate on our presence within the moment – our mere ability to exist as we do is enough to overwhelm a reflective individual with thanks. Once we are able to fill our minds with appreciation for our existence we immediately sense relief, as though a burden is lifted from our shoulders – we instantaneously become lighter. Writer, Mark Nepo, implores us to exude gratitude for our lives and suggests that from gratitude follows better living.

It is important to remind ourselves each morning of our presence among others and nature; our ability to effect change and grow; our ability help others; and our ability to be self-determined individuals. Nepo asks us to consider ourselves as precious, and rare, and awake beings; “whatever our path, the secret of life somehow always has to do with the awakening and freeing of what has been asleep”.  As we progress through life we encounter events, people or mere day-to-day circumstances that leave us worn out. If we do not seek to find our moments of satori (a Zen term reflecting consciousness and presence), we will forever lose our sense of self and deprive ourselves of complete Oneness.

In order to be our best, we need to seek a constant Oneness within ourselves. Oneness mirrors a state of satori – when we find a constant connection between our minds and bodies we are better able to be consciously present and experience life with clarity of mind and peace.  We often disregard oneness, it is either lost through the course of our day, or, it is stripped away from us through our interaction with the world. Only through the practice of continuing to restore our original Oneness are we able to find peace. As a state of being that is inextricably tied to a peaceful mind and heart, we must prioritise achieving a state of Oneness above all else in order experience the best of life.

In order to facilitate a state of Satori or Oneness, Nepo suggests we incorporate meditation into each day.  Begin each meditation with Part One and change the focus of Part Two to a thought or feeling that may need your attention each day- take for example, forgiveness and patience.

Part one:

·       Before your day begins, sit quietly for a few undisturbed moments.

·       Close your eyes and be still.

·       Breathe slowly.

·       Centre yourself.

·       Feel the air on your closed lids.

Part two:

·       Let your love wash through your heart up your chest.

·       Let your love breeze up your throat and behinds your eyes.

·       When you open your eyes, stretch and focus on the first thing you see.

·       If it is a bench, say I believe in bench. If it is a tree, say I believe in tree.

·       Rise with a simple belief in what you feel and see, and touch what is before you, giving your love a way out.[1]

Andie Antoine

A 22 year old Sydney sider. A student. A human. A believer in the beauty of the imperfect individual and the power of learning. Creating her own path in life @andie_antoine
Meditation, Zen, Books
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