Bare Bones Meditation: Waking Up from the Story of My Life (Paperback)

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This exuberant and amazing testament is the story of a woman born with only one hand. She grows up feeling different, discovers her lesbianism and bisexuality amid the tumultuous sixties, sinks into alcoholism and drug addiction, and eventually bottoms out. She finds meaning as a political and disability rights activist, and eventually embraces first Zen Buddhism and then a very bare-bones form of spirituality which indeed has no form. Joan Tollifson describes meditation as "moment-to-moment presence that excludes nothing and sticks to nothing." Here is spiritual work happening right in the middle of everyday American life with all its complexity and ambiguities - ordinary, messy, and accessible to everyone. Bare-Bones Meditation reveals the inner process of the mind in a way that hasn't been done before, and Tollifson's account is beautifully written - unbuttoned, intense, and from the heart.

Praise For…

"An exquisitely honest book about an unconventional woman's search for truth in an age of doubt and anxiety--raucous, painful, and serene. I recommend it highly to every skeptic looking for companionship on his own rocky path--a wry voice of hard-earned wisdom to urgehim along the way."
--Mark Matousek, author of Sex Death Enlightenment

"I loved Joan's book. She's there on every page. Lively, ravishingly honest, funny, deeply serious, totally disarming. Her own foibles and obsessions are as transparently and tenderly rendered as her hard-won insights. She so precisely captures the ups and downs, the taste and texture of meditation practice, and the muddles we all get ourselves into. And the love."
--Lenore Friedman, author of Meetings with Remarkable Women

"Joan Tollifson gives us an unvarnished, exhilarating account of her struggle to make sense of her life. We can watch her muddy waters slowly settle into the 'right now, just as it is' understanding in which nothing is solved and nothing needs to be. Useful for all of us!"
-- Charlotte Joko Beck, author of Everyday Zen

"A wonderful piece of writing and meditation tetaching. Joan Tollifson moves decisively from self-preoccupation to self-knowing. She takes us with her, in writing that is simple, straightforward, and honest--at times excruciatingly so. The tenacity of certain stubborn forms of conditioning is treated brilliantly. Al who practice awareness must sooner or later face and see through such habit-energy.

This book also provides us with a rare and invaluable record of the teaching of Joan's remarkable teacher, Toni Packer. Joan shows us how she learns and tests these guidelines in the fire of her own life. It documents one person's courageous commitment to self discovery--to 'come-what-may' seeing. I was very moved.

I recommend this book to Zen, Vipassana, and nontraditional practitioners of mindfulness meditation. When the book ends, Joan Tollifson is in a strong and hard-earned position to take herself and all of us even deeper into the world of mind. She has the rest of her life to do that."
--Larry Rosenberg, Guiding Teacher, Cambridge Insight Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society

Product Details
ISBN: 9780517887929
ISBN-10: 0517887924
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY)
Publication Date: October 1st, 1996
Pages: 239
Language: English