Close to the Ground
After the bliss and emptiness we might be lucky enough to experience along our spiritual path, what’s left are the karmic knots of conditioning that still need to be undone if we are going to be of any genuine help to anybody. Untying them is the work of spiritual warriors: that is, all of us. The seven factors of enlightenment are a means to loosen these knots, all the while keeping us upright in our efforts. The seven factors include mindfulness, investigation of phenomena, energetic effort, ease, joy, concentration, and equanimity.
In Close to the Ground, longtime Buddhist teacher Geri Larkin tells stories from her own life to illuminate some of the gifts that these factors bring. Because she refuses to be anything special, Larkin's stories are all of our stories—her humor, all of our humor, her heartbreaks, all of our heartbreaks. In reading this book, you may discover that you have many more tools that can help with this work of life and death than you thought.
"Part memoir, part philosophy, Geri Larkin's new book invites us all to explore the seven factors of enlightenment from the ground of our own splendid lives. Larkin's storytelling sparkles with the down-to-earth honesty, wisdom, and good humor that can only come from a lifetime of committed practice." —Charlotte Bell, author of Yoga for Meditators and Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life
"With humor and warmth grounded in decades of Zen Buddhist practice, Geri Larkin offers a fresh perspective on this timeless core teaching of Buddhism. Close to the Ground invites readers to discover the awakened heart that's available in each and every moment of our often wonderfully chaotic lives. Highly recommended." —Vince Cousino Anila, Guiding Teacher at Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple
"This wonderful book can serve as a great encouragement to one's practice. Geri Larkin, a longtime Zen practitioner and teacher, seamlessly weaves together various strands of Buddhist teaching. Using as chapter headings the seven factors of enlightenment, a practice schema usually associated with the Theravadin Vipassana tradition, she skillfully integrates Zen stories, anecdotes from the Buddha's life, and examples from her own training and practice to clearly reveal what spiritual practice is about. Highly recommended!" —Richard Shrobe, author of Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans
"When I studied Zen under Geri Larkin at Still Point in Detroit, I often thought that books couldn't do what a real teacher does. A book doesn't correct your posture when you're slouching; a book doesn't notice when you get lazy and remind you to get up in the morning; a book doesn't correct you when you speak carelessly. But now she has written a book that accepts no excuses, that tells you tirelessly why the world needs the dharma, and why the practice will change the world if we are committed to it. This book can be the angel on your shoulder, giving you the reminders you need." —Bija Andrew Wright, Buddhist teacher and blogger at www.zenbija.com