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Publisher's Summary

"How many hours did you meditate?" the monk asks Gustav.

"Five hours. I am finding meditation boring," he confesses.

"Accept, accept," the monk tells him.

I can't believe he shared this with the teacher. It makes me smile. I appreciate his honesty. I am slightly jealous because I don't think I would ever have the audacity to confess something like that. At the same time, I don't find the mediation practice boring. In fact, I find it anything but boring. It is challenging to sit with myself. To deal with my own insecurities. To not think. To not dream. That is the greatest challenge of all.

"How is your meditation?" the monk asks me.

"It was difficult today. I found myself worrying about my family today at mediation," I admit.

"Do you know about the non-self?" he asks.

Is that a trick question? I pause to think.

He doesn't wait for me to answer. "Non-self is about thinking and worrying about something or someone other than yourself. You have no control over others or what happens outside of yourself, so it is best if you do not focus on non-self."

He is so right. I can't control anything outside of myself. Not others' behaviors or feelings. All I have control over is myself.

"Impermanence means things are always changing," he continues. "We must accept it. We lose happiness when we worry about non-self, or dharma. Do you know Buddha?" he asks.

I am confused by his question. Do I know Buddha? Not personally! I look at the many Buddha statues lined up next to him.

"Dharma is something all humans have. Dharma is when we have goals or are thinking of the things we can not do. It makes us lose sight of the present moment. We lose happiness. Happiness is now," he continues.

©2016 Ella Eats (P)2017 Ella Eats

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Narrator made this book work imo.

I'm not likely to travel to Thailand to meditate with the monks - and I vastly prefer fiction over nonfiction in my books - but I was due for something different and thought I'd give this one a listen. The content itself was entertaining to me if not quite in line with my own practices and beliefs, which I think is part of the author's intent. But the voice work was what really made this narration sing, imo. The pacing, the rich resonance of her voice - Kathleen created the contemplative frame of mind the listener needs to appreciate this report on meditation and human existence. Overall, this was a pleasant, very calming listen.