Enlightenment to Go: Shantideva and the Power of Compassion to Transform Your Life by David Michie

The Dalai Lama always recommends a classic text by the Buddhist sage Shantideva as essential reading for those seeking a practical approach to Buddhism. With its life-changing psychological tools and transcendent wisdom, it is one of the world’s great spiritual treasures.

In Enlightenment to Go, David Michie provides a lively, accessible introduction to the ‘best of’ Shantideva. He shows how modern psychology confirms the insights of Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, and he unpacks its powerful antidotes to contemporary problems, including stress, anxiety and depression.

He also offers a structured meditation program to help readers integrate transformational insights at deeper levels of consciousness where genuine change becomes possible. Recounting stories from his own journey, Michie illustrates the relevance of Shantideva’s breakthrough teachings to a typically busy Westerner with warmth and humor. Whether you are a newcomer to Buddhism or a seasoned practitioner, Enlightenment to Go offers a glimpse of a radiantly different reality.
David Michie is the best-selling author of Buddhism for Busy People and Hurry Up and Meditate.

Buddhism for Busy People describes David’s encounter with Tibetan Buddhism, weaving an autobiographic narrative through a presentation of core concepts. Hurry Up and Meditate introduces the benefits and main types of meditation practice. Both books have been published internationally and translated into many languages.

Enlightenment to Go, published in August 2010, illuminates the world’s first self-help book – an 8th century text by the Buddhist sage Shantideva – which The Dalai Lama consistently recommends for its life-changing psychological tools and transcendent wisdom.

David has also written four thrillers, most recently The Magician of Lhasa, to bring the profoundly life-enhancing perspectives of Tibetan Buddhism to a wider audience of fiction readers.

David was born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, educated at Rhodes University, South Africa, and lived in London for ten years. He is married and is based in Perth, Australia.

With One Voice

With One Voice shares the eternal message and wisdom of the mystics. This illuminating documentary explores the unity of humanity, reveals our essential oneness and spreads the single message that binds all faiths together. The film features mystics from many of the great spiritual traditions around the world, whose lives have been dedicated to answering the mysteries of existence. For mystics, all of our problems stem from a loss of connection with the infinite source that sustains us all and their solution is simple; reconnect.

Featuring Swami Karunananda, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, A. Hameed Ali (A.H. Almaas), Ajahn Amaro, Rabbi David A. Cooper, Dr. Mohammad Faghfoory, Sheikha Fariha al Jerrahi, Gangaji, Joseph Goldstein, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Joan Halifax Roshi, Father Thomas Keating, Derek Lin, Wayne Liquourman (Ram Tzu), John Daido Loori (Roshi), Marcelle Martin, John P. Milton, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Grandmother Lillian Pitawanakwat, Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Dr. Malidoma Patrice Somé, and Brother David Steindl-Rast.

With One Voice film features mystics from many of the great spiritual traditions around the world, whose lives have been dedicated to answering the mysteries of existence.

Within each spiritual tradition there is a mystical thread that leads to the vision of ultimate truth. Each spiritual path has its own language, cognitive framework, and series of practices that act as guides along one’s inner journey. Whatever the tradition or spiritual path, however, the experience of ultimate truth is the same non-dual reality.

For thousands of years there have been misunderstandings between traditions, each claiming that their scriptures and teachings represent the true path to inner purification and spiritual freedom. However, these misunderstandings merely reflect the differences in world history, cultural milieu, belief systems, and thought processes that subtly influence those individuals who reveal mystical visions during their lifetime.

The purpose of this documentary is to show how the vision of non-dual truth is the same regardless of how it is described by the different religions and philosophies. Teachers from many spiritual traditions will share their insights and personal visions of the reality that transcends all words, concepts, and belief systems.

Miek Pot ‘Into The Great Silence’ Interview by Renate McNay

Spiritual Counsellor Tells About Living In Silence For 12 Years

By Armen Hareyan

Miek Pot is a spiritual counsellor, living in Bruges in Belgium. She came onto the State We’re In to explain why for 12 years she had lived in silence, far from the madding crowd, in a Belgian convent.

Miek Pot has always been a person of extremes. In Leiden, as a student, this meant she threw herself into the usual student things: smoking, drinking, regularly rolling into bed at five or six in the morning and neglecting her studies

With exam failure imminent, a friend suggested she go away to a monastery to study, and so, aged 21, she did, spending a week in a retreat, studying in complete silence, because the inhabitants of the order take a vow of silence.

Isolation In The Convent

This lack of noise made a great impression on her. Miek felt refreshed, in a way that she hadn’t felt for many years. She realised that, in the noise and activity of her hectic student life, she had lost herself. But in the solitude, she had glimpsed something of what she had lost. Miek was deeply touched but couldn’t give a name to the experience.

She needed to name it, to isolate what had struck her and this longing led her into travels – to India, to the Greek Orthodox Church and finally back to her own religion, Catholicism and the monastery. After a few consultations, at the age of 27, she ended up in a French order in French-speaking Belgium, a place she was to call home for the next 12 years.

Daily life

Emphasis was placed on solitude, so each person had their own dwelling. They would rise at 3 a.m. (something Miek found a real struggle for the first two years because this was normally her bed time) and each person would have an hour and a half of meditation. This was followed by the morning service. And breakfast.

Then study, then the first proper meal at about 11 a.m. Then they would study, meditate and work, which involved painting crockery that was sold in a small shop on site, to make a bit of money. At 4 p.m. they’d have their second meal – vegetables and maybe a cookie, then another service and bed by 7.30 p.m. They ate, meditated and worked in silence and solitude wherever possible.

On Sundays they were allowed to talk to each other at recreation point, when they would go for a walk in the woods. The trouble, Miek says, is that they were all out of practise: “The thing is that nobody has spoken all week, so no one speaks for the first half hour. We just about warm up and then it’s time to go back to silence again!”

Emotional distance

Her friends and family missed her terribly and her parents could only visit her twice a year. Did Miek make new friends inside the retreat? “No. Not at all. The distance from other people was very important. The silence is necessary to form a distance from your emotions, and it is hard to maintain friendships without breaking the silence. There was a life-coach. Once a week there was someone we could talk to about our problems.”

Miek’s lifestyle doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs. She agrees: “It’s not fun, not like going down to the shops with your friends and buying clothes.” But there were moments of meditation where she found herself and that made her happy. As she says, “Being happy made it all worthwhile.”

After the hermitage

Miek knew it was time to leave when she had a ‘strong experience’. She struggles for the right words to describe it, but enlightenment or epiphany probably hit close to the mark.

Miek uses the analogy of having a coat that suddenly doesn’t fit. Her external frame of reference, her life in the monastery was that coat. And she knew it was time to leave. That was eight years ago.

She took a job in education to pay the bills but didn’t love it. At the same time she had this urge to share her convent years in some way. She studied Neuro Linguistic Programming, which gave her the terminology to communicate a spiritual experience without using religious terminology, and since then she has become a spiritual counsellor.

Miek thinks it is really important that young people have the chance to go through what she went through, although probably not for 12 years! She thinks silence is important for young people to help them mentally dissociate from outside pressures and discover what makes them happy. “At the moment, their lives are so busy and often full of ambition that they’ll get to 30 and suddenly realise that this isn’t what they want to do to make themselves happy. My great dream is to found a monastery that young people can go to for a few months to help them realise what they want a decade or two earlier.”

You can find out more about Miek Pot via her website: http://www.miekpot.com

Miek Pot ‘Into The Great Silence’ Interview by Renate McNay
Miek was living a full life when she spontaneously decided to enter one of the strictest Monasteries within the Catholic Church – the Carthusian Order – where life was lived in SILENCE according to the “Desert Fathers”. In the Solitude of her Hermitage Miek lived her life ..

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