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Publisher's Summary

Discover the deep purpose hidden at the very core of your being

To know your true calling - your dharma, as the yogis say - is perhaps the greatest desire within each of us. And yet, few can say we know our purpose with absolute certainty. Fortunately, there is a time-tested guide - an ancient map - for discovering and fulfilling your unique calling. In The Great Work of Your Life, Stephen Cope walks you through each step of the journey.

Cope teaches that the secrets to unlocking the mystery of your dharma can be found in the spiritual classic the Bhagavad Gita - a timeless tale about the path to dharma, told through an instructive dialogue between the fabled archer Arjuna and his divine mentor, Krishna. In The Great Work of Your Life, Cope uses Arjuna's journey as a framework for each of us to discover our own dharma, masterfully weaving together stories of both well-known and ordinary Western lives. Throughout the book, Cope explores the "Four Pillars of Dharma", or the stages we move through as we fulfill our own true callings. Each pillar is illustrated with riveting true stories, including:

  • Jane Goodall's ability to follow her heart without question
  • The little-known tale of Walt Whitman's dharma discovery in the second half of life
  • How living your purpose can be like training for the Olympics in the story of Susan B. Anthony
  • Ludwig van Beethoven's triumphs over childhood abuse, depression, and going deaf
  • Gandhi's transformation from tongue-tied youth to leader of the Indian independence movement
  • Understanding how divine guidance works with the life of Harriet Tubman
  • Additional insights and tales from the lives of both famous luminaries and everyday people

"We feel the happiest and most fulfilled when we bring highly concentrated effort to our true calling", teaches Cope. Moving and inspiring, The Great Work of Your Life is a call to action and step-by-step guide for each of us to discover and embrace our dharma.

©2017 Stephen Cope (P)2017 Sounds True

Critic Reviews

" The Great Work of Your Life is itself a great work. This is a wonderfully passionate book about finding your true calling. The stories within are inspiring and moving. I believe it will be of great benefit to all who read it." (Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness)
"Stephen Cope is a national treasure. He is an incredibly rare combination of brilliant spiritual thinker, elegant prose stylist, and empathic, grounded teacher. The dharma stories throughout The Great Work of Your Life are moving and instructive. Keep a pen and paper handy as you read this remarkable book: It's like an owner's manual for the soul." (Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion)

What listeners say about The Great Work of Your Life

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Jungian Zen Psychoanalytical Retired Meditation Teacher

I worked and studied with some super mentors like Dr. Ira Progoff, Sylvano Arrietti, Victor Frankyl...and my Zen teacher is a Jesuit priest who studied in Japanese Zen monasteries, and I am a long term student of Ghandi, The Bhagavad Gita, and Yogananda, Rumi and Gerard Manly Hopkins, Whitman, Faulkner, and author of seven books! All that to say I found this book so plain and clear on how to live your true vocation that I recommend everyone read it, especially therapists, poets and writers, and anyone who wants their life to matter to humanity.

7 people found this helpful

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Sophisticated and inspiring spirituality

One brings their own beliefs to any reading (listening) experience. However you will walk away from this one with a clear belief that you must (re-)discover your sacred work (dharma), go all in, and decide to let everything else go—even the Freudian ego that haunts you. Some of this presentation is wanting for its lack of authority around loss and death however again, you may rely on other texts, experiences, and your belief system while adding an “immortal diamond” of what it means to live your work to the finish.

6 people found this helpful

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eye opener

changed my view on life and its meaning. easy to follow and understand. will read again.

4 people found this helpful

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A true guidance on searching for a meaningful life!

Stephen Cope uses beautiful examples of great and ordinary people struggling to find their path in life. Well researched book. I learned a lot. Thank you

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interesting read...

I'm hoping I find the thing that catches my soul on fire. Enjoyable and easy to listen to. :)

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Inspirational and Thought-Provoking

Was not familiar with the Gita before this, and now I'd like to read it too! Seeing the principles here play out in the lives of historical figures like Thoreau, Beethoven, and Gandhi and also of the author's friends really brings them to life.

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Thr great work of your life

Enlightening and inspiring. Easy to follow. Left me wanting to know more. Nicely read as usual.

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I recommend.

This book was inspiring and informative. Well-read also. A surprising number of historical figures were also inspired by the Bhagavad Gita.

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Wish I hadn't finished listening and requested money back

Usually I don’t finish a book if I am not grabbed within the first 30 pages. Somehow I kept listening to this and hoping. I think perhaps, the chief problem with this experience was the narration was absolutely horrible! The narrator acted like he was a galloping horse going downhill.

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This book is a Great Work. I will listen again!

I loved this book by Stephen Cope. The Bhagavad Gita is my lifetime favorite book and the author harnessed its wisdom in such creative and impactful ways. His words and voice were clear and ringing with the subject of the book - dharma. Thank you, thank you, thank you Steven Cope. I will listen again and possibly again.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-17-20

Sublime

Eye-opening. if you've ever had the feeling you've discovered some inexplicable passion or talent within you but somehow life took you a different way, I believe this is a book that can lead to your reconnection.

2 people found this helpful

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  • karol
  • 03-11-18

transforming experience

this book has a power to transform! No need to force our willpower. The stories of this book touch something deeper than our personal will. the change happens by itself only by our focused and deep listening.

2 people found this helpful

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  • J. Still
  • 09-06-21

Disappointing

I was convinced by the hugely positive reviews of this book to think that it was going to better than it was, so maybe it's a question of having too high expectations. I found it hard to see the connection between the Bhagavad Gita and the story of my life, and at times, I felt there was something bordering on grandiose about the way the author encourages people to think that there is some big plan out there for your life. That is, I was hoping for a book that might help me with living my life as the person I am, rather than if I'd been born as Keats or Ghandi. By halfway through, I was sick of hearing the word dharma, and the slightly guilt-inducing subtext that if you didn't suss this out in time, you might miss the opportunity to save the world or be a famous poet. Having said all that, it wasn't terrible, and maybe you'll get something out of it, but it wasn't anything like as good as I had expected.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-09-21

Loved this book

I absolutely loved how this was written, the wonderful examples & the lessons it taught. Fantastic!