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Lions Roar : January 2015
YOUR BODY KNOWS THE ANSWER Using Your Felt Sense to Solve Problems, Effect Change, and Liberate Creativity By David I. Rome Shambhala Publications 2014; 150 pp., $16.95 (paper) Meditation is an excellent tool for step- ping away from the speed and complexi- ties of everyday life and discovering a calmer, more spacious quality of mind. But what should you do when your work is not fulfilling, or when you’re frequently in conflict with someone close to you, or when something inside simply feels off? What do you do when you experi- ence sudden, critical thoughts about your own intelligence, appearance, or ability, or when you’ve made a good start on a creative project but you’re now stuck? David Rome believes that meditation alone is not sufficient to deal with challenges such as these, which require pragmatic problem solving and inner change. So he also recommends Focusing, a technique to become aware of subtle physical sensations that was developed in the 1950s by psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin. In Your Body Knows the Answer, Rome—a dedicated Buddhist practitioner since 1971—integrates Gendlin’s method with Buddhist mindfulness practice. LISTENING TO THE HEART A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism By Kittisaro and Thanissara North Atlantic Books 2014; 296 pp., $22.95 (paper) Kittisaro (Harry Randolph Weinberg) was an American high school wrestling champion and a Rhodes scholar who was looking forward to a promising career in medicine. He suddenly switched gears, however, and became a Buddhist monk in Thailand, where he was stung by a poisonous centipede, contracted typhoid, and—even more challenging— confronted his own mind. Then there’s Thanissara (Linda Mary Peacock) who broke the mold of her British working-class family just by going to art school. Though she traversed a field of stinging nettles in an attempt to escape her first meditation retreat, she eventually became one of the first women in the West to take robes as a Theravada nun. For more than a decade, Kittisaro and Thanissara lived as monastics, but ultimately they chose to renounce their vows when they fell in love. Married since 1992, the couple spent seven years as guiding teachers of the Buddhist Retreat Centre KwaZulu South Africa. They also cofounded several HIV/AIDS outreach programs, as well as Dharmagiri Hermitage on the border of Lesotho and shambhala sun january 2015 76