Jeanne bought us our first item to pack for Nepal…. and I believe it is the most important purchase of all: our journals! Considering the fact that my journal from Baron Baptiste teacher training in Mexico was stolen and my notebook from India was nearly damaged – I am looking forward to another attempt at documenting my journey. Jeanne found the perfect journal and bought one for me as well. Thank you, Jeanne! I will be supplying the pens for our writing. Next on dock is choosing what books to bring for reading. I just updated my book list and can’t decide between some fascinating books I have found lately. So far I have chosen the following and will have to settle on just two for packing purposes. Right? OK, let’s make that three – if they are thin enough. The only time I anticipate I will be reading is on the flights and during my stay at Kopan Monastery when the two week program is over.
First book I picked is by Michael Stone, whom I love so much. He wrote one of the first yoga books I read (The Inner Tradition of Yoga) and I was lucky enough to also participate in a workshop with him when he came to New York City. I will never forget his creative description of how to fold forward from Tadasana. He said to think of the space in front of you and to pretend you have to use your face to iron out the wrinkles in that space as you slowly bend down. I always think of this now as I fold forward and it helps me keep my spine straight! Michael is a psychotherapist and cofounder of Center of Gravity in Toronto.
The next book I found is by Mary Paterson, a woman who went to stay in the French Monastery where Thich Nhat Hanh lives. She writes about her 40 days living among the monks after she traveled there when her father passed away. Too bad she stole my idea for a book! No, just kidding. I do hope to write a book someday, and would love to spend 40 days in a French monastery! Kudos to her for embarking on such an interesting journey and then writing about it for the rest of us to enjoy. I also picked a book by Wendy Doniger but have been reading some not so favorable reviews. You certainly have to be careful when picking out books that offer a historical compilation of a specific topic. This book is an “alternative” history on the Hindus. Nepal is 80% Hindu so I thought this would make for good reading while I am there. Also grabbed The Buddha Said by Osho which I have heard is a fantastic little book on Buddhism.
Lastly, a book on Tantra, which is a system of yoga that is also widely practiced in Nepal. I already started reading this one and the author clears up immediately how incorrect the Western view of tantra is… it is not about sex at all and it is a huge mistake for us to categorize it in such a manner. Tantra is a very interesting and deep concept which begins with the idea that everything is innately good and holy. It encourages acceptance, awareness, and union with the divine. It encourages you to “say yes” to the universe and to let go of wanting things to be any differently then how they are. It is a powerful practice that encourages desire and sees it as a vehicle to becoming more in tune with the world and its incredibly delicious spontaneity.
Not many books have been published on the Tantric philosophy, because there aren’t many western scholars that are well-learned in the field; at least not many people like Douglas Brooks whom I was lucky enough to study with in school and travel to India with. 🙂 Do you have any recommendations for my travels? Let me know ! I always like to hear what is moving you and and inspiring you to do great things.