Monday, January 25, 2016

#Collaboreads: The Buddhist Walks Into a Bar

BOOKS. Books, books, books. Books and more books with a side of books. That is what we're talking about today. Because what is good in life if there isn't a book about it? Nothing. Welcome back for another month of #Collaboreads! Rachel and I are thrilled you're here, but first:

If you missed what #Collaboreads is, you can familiarize yourself here.

Short version: Rachel and I pick a random criteria for the book (i.e. Takes Place in Summertime). You pick your book and read it. Then the last Monday of the month we meet up and talk about our choices.

There's a R.E.A.D.S. review format that we've shared for suggestion's sake (shared in this post), but feel free to review however you're comfortable!

So, I've started to realize that I allow #Collaboreads books to serendipitously fall into my lap each month. I somehow believe there's some part of God that cares enough about me to hear what Rachel and I randomly decide on for the criteria and then BOOM, my book just falls from the sky (or from Audible) into my life (or my email).

Either way, The Buddha Walks Into a Bar was a random daily deal on on a day I happened upon their site and I bought it for $1.97. I decided nothing like learning about meditation and Buddhism for a month. And, quite honestly, I'm thankful I did.

I did a report on Buddhism when I was in sixth grade. My dad happened to have an employee who used to be a monk in a Buddhist temple and was now working concrete while learning to tattoo. He was fascinating (to be very casual with words) and I was intimidated beyond belief to interview him. He loaned me his saffron robes, let me see his Buddhsit tattoos, and shared with me about alms. I loved every second of it.

This reminded me of those preteen years, where I sat in the conference room with David and asked awkward questions about meditation and reincarnation. Rinzler couldn't be a more unassuming, humble narrator. He was just what I imagined of a very interesting meditation master while reminding me of a few guys from my freshman year dorm. He was easy to listen to, to relate with, and to wish I could sit down to interview.

The "relationship" this time around was different because Rinzler is a person -real and walking the earth- unlike so much of the fiction I enjoy and read. I guess, I found myself fascinated by him because he seems young like someone I'd recognize as a part of my own age group by looks, but who is wise in a way only a strong spirit can be. I wanted to interview him, to ask him more about the particulars of Buddhism, to get into the nitty gritty in a way that would be entirely too boring for a book.

And this is where I have to admit, parts of the book were boring. There were pieces that I just wanted to fast forward through because I just couldn't this time. Instead, I shut him down for a while and let myself decompress. I'd always be thankful to welcome Rinzler and his wisdom back the next time.

This is where I'm going to be controversial.

I think Christians need this book. I think we won't agree with everything (specifically the conversation about sex), but we need the meditative techniques for our prayer lives. We need to examine our motivations and intentions and emotions in the ways that Rinzler outlines -not because Buddhism is smarter than us, but because the conversation about such examinations is rich and plentiful. I have found my prayer life restored in a different, new, beautiful way as a result of Rinzler's meditation tips.

And, then, this SO OBVIOUSLY correlates with Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. I'd be highly questionable if I didn't make the connection. But, after reading about Gilbert's adventures in India, I found myself fascinated by meditation and the way it might be helpful to our American culture because of the way it requires a slowness about our minds.


I mean, loved the cover. Simple, sleek, and sassy with the Buddha on a bar shelf. Red and yellow were perfect matches for one another and, well, yes. 



And now, it's your turn to talk about all the books that filled your month!

Next month, we're linking up on February 29th and we're reading 
A Literary Classic
Whoa, this shall be a challenge for me! Here's a list of approved classics for you!
See you in a month!

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