Read After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path by Jack Kornfield Online


“Enlightenment does exist,” internationally renowned author and meditation master Jack Kornfield assures us. “Unbounded freedom and joy, oneness with the divine ... these experiences are more common than you know, and not far away.” But even after achieving such realization — after the ecstasy — we are faced with the day-to-day task of translating that freedom into our imp“Enlightenment does exist,” internationally renowned author and meditation master Jack Kornfield assures us. “Unbounded freedom and joy, oneness with the divine ... these experiences are more common than you know, and not far away.” But even after achieving such realization — after the ecstasy — we are faced with the day-to-day task of translating that freedom into our imperfect lives. We are faced with the laundry.Drawing on the experiences and insights of leaders and practitioners within the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Sufi traditions, this book offers a uniquely intimate and honest understanding of how the modern spiritual journey unfolds — and how we can prepare our hearts for awakening.Through moving personal stories and traditional tales, we learn how the enlightened heart navigates the real world of family relationships, emotional pain, earning a living, sickness, loss, and death....

Title : After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553378290
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path Reviews

  • Robert Day
    2019-02-18 06:31

    So, I started reading this about 5 years back and reached the end of chapter 13, then stopped. It was too deep and too fast for me to keep up, so back on the shelf it went.Then, about 2 years ago it came back off the shelf, and, because I enjoyed it so much the first time, I started reading from the beginning. I reached chapter 7, and back it went on the shelf. Can't remember why; I probably started reading something else instead knowing me.A couple of weeks ago I started to keep track of the books I have and have read using Goodreads, and I discovered several unfinished books; and because the website allows me to rank books according to the Average Rating, I started reading the unfinished books again by rating order - best rating first.I have really, really struggled to finish this book off, and I'm not sure why. I love the little stories and quotes the author uses to illustrate the various points he makes, but at the same time I find this method to be contrived and artificial. It's a bit like the way that statistics can be used to prove pretty much anything. The author picks the points that support his point of view.Who am I to criticise, not being as enlightened as the author must surely be, but at times I just simply didn't agree with some of his points of view. I found myself looking forward to the quotes and then wading my way painfully through the rest of the sticky, sickly sweet prose in-between them.Maybe I'll pick this book up in another 5 or 10 years time and 'get it', but for now.. I just don't - sorry.

  • Steve Woods
    2019-03-13 10:27

    This is a great book. Kornfield has written quite a lot and it's all quality. This book will mean most to those who have been on "the path" for a while; who have struggled with the sense of confusion and doubt from time to time, just not knowing where they are or what they are doing there. That the journey is consistent for all (though not exactly the same) no matter what their tradition is reassuring in many ways. The orientation this work provides and the relaxed way in which it is presented have been of great help to me. It came to me at yet another turning point and helped to push me forward into the place where divisions and differences are melting away. It has been timely.

  • Johannes Bertus
    2019-02-28 12:06

    Enlightenment porn. I would estimate about 5% of serious meditators will experience the altered states of consciousness described in this book. For the rest these descriptions of fireworks in the mind and "everything dropping away" are just a hindrance and a distraction. Useful spiritual practice is about learning that the laundry is the ecstacy. The laundry is all there is! And that's great.

  • Camilla Lombard
    2019-03-15 10:15

    I've read this book a few times and now I enjoy picking it up at random like an oracle: it is always spot on and devastatingly true (in a good way). Definitely a desert island book for me, and it continues to provide great perspective on this human experience. And Jack is funny! That always helps.

  • Bish Denham
    2019-02-20 07:32

    This is not a "how-to" book on how to attain enlightenment, meditate, or become a Buddhist. What it is can best be described by what is written on the back cover. "Drawing on the experiences and insights of leaders and practitioners within the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Sufi traditions, this book offers a uniquely intimate and honest understanding of how the modern spiritual journey unfolds -- and how we can prepare our hearts for awaking. Through moving personal stories and traditional tales, we learn how the enlightened heart navigates the real world of family relationships, emotional pain, earning a living, sickness, loss and death."What became abundantly and wonderfully clear to me as I read this book is that we are all the same. How we choose to make the journey (whether as Buddhist, Christian, Jew, Hindu, etc.) is not important. What is important is that we make the journey. There is no SINGLE way, there is no WRONG way for, it seems, that ALL ways lead us to the same place where we discover we are all ONE and where we have a very similar experience (whether it's called enlightenment, Buddha nature, Christ consciousness, God etc.) If each of us came to understand this single basic truth there would be peace on earth.

  • Angelica Taggart
    2019-03-12 06:20

    This is my current spiritual book circle read ... and the first time I've read Kornfield. We've gotten lots of discussion from each of the chapters. I really like it!Today we finished the book -- excellent!! (Took us 17 weeks as we did a chapter a week - each one was meaty!) I'm going to find some of Kornfield's other works ... loved the simplicity and the stories.

  • Nancy
    2019-03-02 05:24

    This book has been a constant go-to for strength and inspiration since I first read it years ago. It's filled with countless stories and examples of patience, perseverance and grace through the eyes of a man owning his spiritual path. I must read for anyone that is exploring buddhism or just merely a more spiritual way to life without dogma of a Religion and the social stigmas that go with it.

  • Matimate
    2019-03-10 08:08

    Meditation and recognition of inner self can be the basic stone of every religion and every philosophical movement. The book is just about that. Finding inner self, calm and the satori or whatever you call it in different ways from Hindu, Jewish to Christianity way. The author put synthesis of the movements and religions only to show how one can reach the ecstasy but also that after touching the peak, there is always the day after which is demanding in the same ways as reaching. However when you know bliss of your awaking there is always some craving to touch it again. The book of calm, I would call it. It was interesting to read.

  • Rachel
    2019-03-06 12:13

    I didn't like the beginning of the book where Kornfield provides many different accounts of enlightenment. I am not going to reach enlightenment, or go on a week-long meditation retreat, or join a monastery for years. I am just trying to meditate regularly and be here now and see the world for what it is, rather than what I want it to be. The second half of the book was better, but I found that the first person narratives interspersed throughout the book took away from the lesson as often as they added. I think I'll try another of the author's books, and see if I like them better.

  • James R. C.
    2019-03-19 07:21

    I'd shelve After the Ecstacy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield next to Shunryu Suzuki's Zen Mind Beginners Mind. "Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there are only enlightened events" (Shunryu Suzuki, xx-xxi). "In awakening, our whole sense of identity shifts. We let go our small sense of self and enter the unbounded consciousness out of which we come. What becomes known with absolute certainty is that we are not and never have been separate from the world. . . . When our identity expands to include everything, we find peace with the dance of the world. The ocean of life rises and falls within us--birth and death, joy and pain, it is all ours, and our heart is full and empty, large enough to embrace it all" (92-3). "Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity. . . . What we are speaking about is moment-to-moment enlightenment, one enlightenment after another" (Shunryu Suzuki, 122) "Since everything is none other than exactly as it is, one may well just break out in laughter" Long Chen Pa, (281).

  • Jason
    2019-03-09 05:28

    Jack Kornfield has a great knack for writing in a meaningful, pleasant way. You don't get the feeling that he is arrogant or pretentious despite having great knowledge in an assortment of different spiritual disciplines, primarily Buddhism. The basic premise of this book is that even though it's possible to obtain a fantastic sense of enlightenment and bliss on the spiritual path, we eventually have to come back down to our day-to-day lives. After the Ecstasy the Laundry. This book has numerous snippets from spiritual masters that pertain to the current subject. It's refreshing to hear stories from people experienced not only in Zen, but Judaism, Sufi, and Christian mysticism. As you read this you'll get the sense and depth of Kornfield's skill as a story teller. Not only does he interject these snippets that he obtained from interviewing several teachers, but he also inserts several quotes from mystics like Rumi and Kabir. One of the things that touched me the most in this book was how human even the wisest of sages turn out to be. Yes, they have experienced profound levels of enlightenment and yes they are wise. However, they still have to deal with family life, children, bills, stress etc. Many have also suffered relationship difficulties as they tried to juggle their spiritual lives with the compromising you have to do in a committed relationship. Kornfield does a good job of offering practical advice on how to get over spiritual humps in the road. He suggests that we need to look at things with an open heart, an enhanced sense of compassion, and tolerance for others. This is especially poignant considering the fact that so many other people share different opinions than the ones we do. He also admonishes us to enjoy the mystery of life and to live in the present moment. Only by living in the present can we truly experience life and realize the wonder of it all. What I have described above remains just a glimpse of the things covered in this book. I feel anyone, regardless of religious persuasion, can gain benefit by reading and contemplating the timeless advice contained within it. Read it for yourself and see if you don't agree.

  • gina
    2019-02-20 08:25

    A well read audio that definitely would do me good to listen to more than once. I've recommended it to at least one friend who follows the sort of principles outlined in the book. At first I thought this was some sort of "this book is only for people who have reached enlightenment and now what do I do" book, but it isn't. It is for anyone seeking spiritual growth but does focus a lot on those who have reached enlightenment and realized "hey, not much has changed" lol. Which serves as a good example for those of us who merely seek but aren't gurus or leading conferences on the topic. Highly recommended for people who want to encourage love and kindness in their lives. As I try to get rid of the nasty people who surround me in places I can't escape (work, extended family, hell, even everyday events like shopping!) this book made me realize that you can't get rid of these people. No matter how bad or wrong their behavior is, you can only love and accept them. It is very hard not to let them affect you though. I am striving more and more to be who I am on the surface and also inside. (what you see is what you get). And books like this help create that balance. It also makes me really want to go to a retreat lol!

  • Ben
    2019-02-22 11:25

    There seems to be a sincere attempt to reconcile the world's various spiritual traditions, but in so doing there is a dilution of the messages of each tradition. In trying to find common ground, there is a sense of groundlessness. In his previous book, "A Path With Heart", Kornfield makes the argument that if one is to achieve fruit in any spiritual practice they must dig one deep whole and stick with their practice; rather than digging a multitude of shallow wholes. Well, in this book he seems to contradict this message, picking from various traditions without providing a sense of cohesiveness. Although the goal of vanilla-izing all of the world's great spiritual traditions into one mega-spirituality is noble; it seems to only dilute the potential for genuine transformation found in sticking with one path, rather than meandering about from one path to another.

  • Karen
    2019-02-28 08:10

    I'm rating this book which I only read 3/4. Some gems, in here of interest. But at some point , it felt to me that most of the Seekers who basically stepped out of society to find themselves, had a reason to want to step out. Eventually, what they were put in a position to have to step back into the normal demands of life and face the challenges that caused them to look elsewhere. Life is a challenge, period. And we have to experience it no matter how much you retreat, physically, spiritually or emotionally. I felt the book sad in some ways, that the quest was only partially or temporarily fulfilling. It was an honest perspective. But I did not feel inspired to want to follow their journeys.

  • Kristen
    2019-03-14 13:11

    Took awhile for me to get through, because it was so thought provoking. I found it, for lack of a better word, enlightening. I loved the comparison of different religious and philosophical teachings, and I very much liked how it delved into the "real life" aspect of each person's spiritual journey. We can't all go living in monestaries, convents or retreat houses....most of us live in the real world and have to balance spirituality and secularism. The only difficulty I had with this book was some of the terminology. I have never studied Eastern Philosophy so some of the jargon was lost on me, but I do plan to read more and learn more about the Eastern Religions. I did get a lot out of reading this and recommend it highly!

  • Donnae
    2019-03-15 05:14

    I have a complicated relationship with laundry. I have been thwarted from clean clothing by power outages, a literal bus load of youth campers and the need for one last quarter. The guys at my laundromat duck and laugh when they see me walk through the door. So when I was looking at a list of Jack Kornfield's books and saw this title I knew that I had to read it.In the book Kornfield discusses the process of spiritual enlightenment and how to return to the world as part of the cycle. I like how he does not get in the way of his subject matter. In several of the books about meditation and spirituality I have read recently the author talks more about themselves then the subject at hand. I also appreciated the myriad stories and quotes Kornfield uses to illustrate his topic.

  • Heidi The Hippie Reader
    2019-03-18 13:15

    After the Ecstasy, the Laundry is a masterpiece. Kornfield outlines the shifts of consciousness that we all make each day and how even enlightened monks struggle with their spirituality and families. He brings examples from different religions to create a unified picture of enlightened spirituality and expresses the hope that by raising our own individual consciousness that we may in time change the world. May it be so.This was the first book that I have read by Jack Kornfield. I may need to pick up A Path with Heart now because I enjoyed this one so much.

  • Caroline Crayons
    2019-02-26 09:07

    Jack Kornfield is one of my ....I was going to say "heros" -- role models and teachers. The best thing about him is his humility. There is so much of him in this book, but also so much of other leaders and teachers. I've read a lot of Buddhist writings already. This book touched me deeply. I want to read it again as soon as I have digested the first reading.

  • Rose
    2019-03-13 08:06

    The book I needed at exactly the right time. His description of the spiritual life meshed with real life was so accurate for western life. I can't take time out to practice full time. Spiritual growth happens in fits and starts and in the meantime the kids have melt downs and bills roll in. It's all in divine order. Thank you, Jack.

  • Sue
    2019-03-14 08:04

    I loved this book because of the down-to-earth humanity Jack Kornfield reveals about people much further along the spiritual path than me .... it brought me great comfort, lots of laughs and spoke to me in many ways!

  • Joan
    2019-02-20 12:03

    This book, along with everything I've ever read or listened to by Pema Chodron, has added so much to my serenity! Thank goodness for these gentle and fearless souls who attempt to make the philosophy of Buddhism available to the western mind and heart!

  • Jos-Madelaine Standing
    2019-02-18 09:24

    Ageless. Priceless. Necessary.

  • Nicolette V. Beard
    2019-03-12 13:32

    I got so much out of this book that I'm starting immediately to re-read it.

  • Alexis Pullen
    2019-03-14 08:30

    I am not ready for this book. Hope to find my way back to it, as Kornfield really speaks to me. Most of the time anyway.

  • Sidney Luckett
    2019-03-02 07:12

    Profound on the ordinariness of insight meditation.Summed up in a sentence in the final paragraph: May your journey lead you home

  • Lisa
    2019-02-21 05:13

    My thoughts, on After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield.Okay, first of all I only got to page 105 out of 305 and I renewed it once. So, I'm going to admit this wasn't my kind of book. I didn't look forward to reading it. In fact, I avoided it at times. That being said, I did try and I made quite a few notes.On page 26, is the story of a girl being married to a fearsome dragon. She goes to a wise woman for advice. The wise woman tells her to wear ten beautiful wedding gowns. As she takes off a layer, she must insist the dragon does as well. The first layer is easy but each layer after that hurts more and more. At the end, the scales and fearsomeness of the dragon is gone and she has a human prince groom. I like this story. It's pretty cool, IMO.On page 36, the author uses Carlos Castaneda's work as a reference. My issue with this is that Castanda's work is considered fiction. To me that's a bit "off" to do for a "truth seeker."On page 43, talks about the difficult question of forgiveness. I'm not into forgiving. I don't buy into the idea that it's poison to not forgive at all. However, I do like the idea and term of "making peace" with the past. That is something I do very well and find healthy.On pages 52 and 53, it talks about achieving "clarity for days", this, to me is not meditation at all but rather being sheep like and seeking an altered state.On pages 54 and 55, the book talks about "who am I" being the core. I think it's a useless searching. The book goes on to ask, "Is to become nothing the true state what we need and seek?" I'd have to say no. It might be a ridiculous trip not unlike one that drugs produce. The book continues, "All the stories we tell ourselves can be over written if they are not useful to us." Now THIS I do agree with. It's simple but very difficult to overwrite and at times, essential. Often people think they are lying to themselves in doing this. No. You are more likely lying to yourself NOW with your limitations that you falsely placed on yourself.On page 61, "Awakened from our usual dreamlike state to a sacred way of being?" Okay I don't think that I live in a dreamlike state and I don't believe in the sacred at all. "Eternal wisdom of the heart." I don't believe in the "eternal wisdom of anything." Is this supposed to be some kind of sacred thing? Or is it supposed to be about genetic memories?On page 64, Tara the Goddess of Compassion? I had to look that one up. Cool. Love the story about the tears of the Buddha springing to life and making Tara.On page 79, Trying not to move or react to anything isn't my way. Action is needed while inner peace is maintained. When you allow yourself to be affected by the being of others what they have said and felt, it can consume you. Long ago, even as a child I sought balance by projecting the opposite emotions. Even now while I am touched by others I don't let them flood me.On page 92, "Even within the great openness, the limitations must absolutely be respected." This I agree with. "Everything is alright just as it is." Yes! "I didn't need to do anything. I didn't need to try so hard." Exactly! "My whole body dropped away . . ." Yeah. Not so much. This is going overboard IMO. The body is important and should be well taken care of, not denied.

  • Karen
    2019-03-12 09:23

    This is a lovely book of essays that share insights about the Buddhist path. They are far ranging, but Kornfield attempts to shape them around the issue of how we can live in the world while striving for holiness. The Buddhist greatest hits are discussed: letting go of attachments, finding the middle way, recognizing that peace and divinity already exist all around us, unknowing / unthinking, embracing Interbeing, etc. As with many books on Buddhism, Kornfield shares a mix of principles, quotes from Buddhist nuns/monks (ancients to contemporaries; Easterners and Westerners), personal experience (with an appropriate self-deprecating stance), and anecdotes about practitioners. I foolishly tried to read it over three days, but I had to slow down to read it over a month. It's not that the writing style is difficult; it's that the principles challenge present states of thinking/being. But that's not to say that reading it in a month led to Enlightenment! But the time was well spent witnessing to the process of Enlightenment.

  • Dawn Saquin
    2019-03-01 08:10

    A lot of real-life examples that express the difficulties of a spiritual path. It made me more aware of how alike and human we all are. And that we all can succeed in living a happy and peaceful life as long as we begin to realize that there is nothing to attain, but everything to gain. "All spiritual life is preparation for transition, from one state to another.""Embodied enlightenment is about living wisely in your particular body, as it is, on this day, in this amazing life.""The whole moon and sky are reflected in a drop of dew on the grass. Each small thing, each moment is a contribution to and a reflection of the whole.""Only our own search from happiness prevents us from seeing it.""Whoever we are is the right person; wherever we are is the right place to awaken, the place we have been given to serve."Thoreau - "One world at a time.""We practice to express our awakening, not to attain it."

  • Isidro López
    2019-03-13 09:31

    AMAZING reading.I wouldn't recommend it as an introductory reading, but only for people who are already "in the path", or let's say, have become familiar with certain practices (e.g. meditation) and mindset.It gave me some perspectives that I hadn't found in any book before.And as any "good" book about the Dharma, it gave me peace. And it made me cry. And laugh. And lots of "enlightenment" moments. I just finished it, but I will probably read it again in the future.Thank you very much for this book, Jack ^___^

  • Adi
    2019-03-02 10:31

    This book helped me a lot in reviewing my practice, recalibrate and continue to walk the path. It doesn't matter if you are a new to the topics or you heard or read it before. If you stay interested and open you will get something out of it and learn whatever you are ready to learn. That's why one can go back to these kind of books again and again and discover new insights. Just don't get hooked to your desire of understanding everything. Let it be and move on to the next anecdote or chapter.