“Whatever truth we feel compelled to withhold, no matter how unthinkable it is to imagine ourselves telling it, not to is a way of spiritually holding our breath. You can only do it for so long.” Mark Nepo
After experiencing cancer Mark awoke to the magic of life. He shares his awakening in this book – a spiritual story that found Mark living into all that already existed rather than being carried away the chaos of modern life. In sharing, Mark will not only inspire you but teach you how to live the life you want by merely being present and waking up to the beauty of life surrounds us all.
You often hear stories of tragedy and near death experiences leading to people’s awakenings. It was Chuck Palahniuk that said in his book Fight Club, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” It appears that Mark’s bout with cancer was his ticket to self-liberation or liberation from Self.
I cannot relate however I can understand why this happens. The best way to explain it is that when everything in life seems like it’s at an end that only then do we start to care and take notice of what truly matters. The most important things in our life. The most critical components of what it means to live fully.
Death is my ambition. I think death is the ambition of life. It is what motivates many of us to get out of bed and seek truth in search of deeper meaning. However, I also believe that too many of us fall asleep. The reason, perhaps, is because what we do has no significant meaning.
We live busy lives, consuming each and every moment only in efforts to flee the past as we chase the future. We forget about right now. Mark’s poetic writing style will teach and remind us how to become more present with the wonders of every moment regardless of the specific conditions that may be present. It’s about finding joy in both the celebration and hardship of life.
In this book, Mark pulls life apart day by day. Each chapter is reading on how to live more fully. The book comprises 365 stories – one for each day. You can consume it as it’s intended, by listening to one meditation per day, or you could shrink it into a few weeks or months, as I did. There is value to be had in his reflections.
Each day shares a quote, verse or thought from wise voices, historic spiritual leaders or religious texts. Mark than elaborates each point of wisdom in a way that contextualises the key messages that inspires and encourages the reader to see how the beauty exists in every moment. He ends each session with a short meditation. A chance for us to reflect on the lesson more deeply and more personally.
Many of the thoughts Mark shares are enlightening. Some are repetitive, and some pass by me. However, I think it would be challenging and require some skill to capture my attention the entire way through any such reading. My mind likes to wander. There are many moments when I wasn’t present – a good reason to consume each thought as part of your daily routine, in meditation or while you sip your morning coffee.
There are stories of wonder and curiosity. Stories to remind us of all the intrigue, beauty and love that exists all around us. These are stories to spark our interest and also stories to slow us down to appreciate the little things, to appreciate life.
There are stories about compassion and forgiveness. Thoughts and inspiration to tap into our fundamental nature and being that are at the core compassion and of love. In doing so, we can better fight anger and thoughts of ill will that often brought about by the struggles we face due to the many elements that result from an unhealthy obsession with self.
There are stories about gratitude. How to be appreciative for everything we have rather than having an underlying agitation or displeasure for everything we don’t have. It’s about removing the desires or cravings of wanting more or wishing to avoid the conditions that we are in. They are not stories of stagnation but stories of beautiful ambition – that is ambition that is without suffering or displeasure.
This book may be too deep for many people. A little bit “woo-woo,” as such. It is profoundly spiritual but also aligned with the sound philosophy of life. Messages that will allow one to find a more profound sense of peace in how they live, how they operate, and how they maximise the use of their time.
I thoroughly enjoyed it! It has been the inspiration for many of my thoughts over the last few months as I listened to each entry and will likely continue to influence my writing. But more importantly, it is my hope that Marks messages and stories will continue to inspire my presence and awareness.
It was Buddha who said, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
If this book sounds of interest you can purchase The Book of Awakening here.
Please leave your thoughts, comments & questions below.
Peace, passion and purpose…
Other books by Mark Nepo
Further Reading and Resources