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

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  1,920 ratings  ·  105 reviews
�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...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 2nd 2001 by Bantam (first published 2000)
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Robert Day
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 bo...more
Steve Woods
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 h...more
Rachel
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 the...more
Camilla Lombard
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.
gina
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 exam...more
Donnae
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...more
Kristen
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 som...more
Matimate
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...more
Nancy
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.
Angelica Taggart
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.

Caroline Crayons
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
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.
Joan
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!
Roger Williams
This is an excellent book and well worth your time regardless of your spiritual bent or background. Kornfield uses examples from all walks of life to illustrate his points. It is both accessible and deep.

My main takeaway from the book is best shown by the old adage "there are no enlightened people, only enlightened moments". Whether we are viewed as a spiritual master or shrug the whole thing off as a waste of time, there is no finish line. There is only each moment.

While I am not a Buddhist, I...more
Sue
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!
Lyz
I am enjoying my books on mindfulness and living in the moment (worrying less about the past and the future). This was in the same vein, but not quite as enjoyable or absorbing to me. I think, if I had read less on the subject, I would have enjoyed it more. Given the other books I've read recently, I found this to be redundant in some parts, and too deep (in an unrelatable way for me) in other places. That said, after reading this book, I can see why many, many people like Jack Kornfield. Given...more
Sidney Luckett
Profound on the ordinariness of insight meditation.
Summed up in a sentence in the final paragraph: May your journey lead you home
Alexis Pullen
Sep 28, 2012 Alexis Pullen marked it as to-read
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.
Nicolette Beard
I got so much out of this book that I'm starting immediately to re-read it.
Madelaine Standing
Ageless. Priceless. Necessary.
Mayra Correa e Castro
Dentro da literatura pra expansão da consciência, existem alguns clássicos: este livro do Jack Kornfield é um deles. Ex-monge budista, professor de meditação, autor de 14 livros traduzidos em 20 línguas, escreveu Depois do Êxtase, Lave a Roupa Suja em 2000 como forma de mostrar que o caminho da espiritualidade é cheio de derrapadas desastrosas, e que a iluminação da consciência não nos coloca automaticamente no nirvana nem é alcançado sem dor. Pra todos que já se estreparam nas mãos de mestres s...more
Jason
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...more
Liz
Mar 24, 2010 Liz marked it as to-read
Shelves: sevensisters
In After the Ecstasy, the Laundry--How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path, Dr. Jack Kornfield offers an excellent guide for those seeking spiritual understanding and spiritual growth. Kornfield's writing style, and the personal accounts of spiritual travelers in all religious faiths provide a compelling account of incorporating experiences of spiritual ecstasy into enlightenment. Spiritual enlightenment or wisdom makes bearable and even enriches the nitty-gritty everyday life in the tren...more
Skyrah Sparrow
I use to read jack kornfield all the time. I also listen to his dharma talks. jack is cool, but he is a trust fund boy. thus, really how could he not afford the time to jump on the circuit. also, the monk he studied under and the location was too much for him thus he could not hack it. i like his stories that he finds to recycle. i really dont think he understands as deeply as the ones that walk the entire path, and not just visit as a tourist and then pump out some books.
Ben
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...more
Jessica
I base my Goodreads ratings on how much I enjoyed the experience of reading the book, not the objective quality of the book. It seems important that I emphasize that in this case.

I think this is probably a perfectly nice and inspirational book about finding spirituality in every day life. It just turns I...don't want to find spirituality in every day life. I'm attracted to the idea of finding meaning and purpose in all the mundane little details of days, since those mundane little details add up...more
Jay
The enjoyment of Jack Kornfield is in listening to his stories, and this book is no exception. I listened on audio, and the stories really carried the weight of the book, even though I had previously heard many of them. Otherwise, I felt the book lacked organization -- I didn't feel flow from one story to the next. But it was interesting, mostly in the second half. A small nit on the audio, Kornfield does his own narration, and in other audio books he is often in front of an audience, and these...more
Jeffrey
Kornfield writes what is mostly a one note song, but it is a good note. We need to understand that even fully realized human beings still have to live a life. You don't just reach nirvana one day and then never reappear on Earth.

I learned a lot from the book, but the attempt to include all varieties of meditators and seekers from all religious backgrounds was a bit of a stretch. Jews know they have to live life. It is part of the schtick. Tikkun Olam (Heal the world) and all that. Some others c...more
Sally
"Sometimes it is necessary to march, sometimes it is necessary to sit, to pray. Each in turn can bring the heart and the world back to balance. For us to act wisely, our compassion must be balanced with equanimity, the ability to let things be as they are. Just as our passionate heart can be touched by the sorrows of the world, so too we must remember that it is not our responsibility to fix all the brokenness of our world— only to fix what we can. Otherwise we become grandiose, as if we were pu...more
Juergen
Wonderful book on the topic of awakening. If you come to a point where you have such an experience, how do you proceed with the rest of your life? As Kornfield intimates, "there's no enlightenment in retirement." Awakening is a process, just like the rest of life. You get there, you have some insight into the workings of your perception and experience of life, and you move on from there as best you can. This book gives many many testimonials through interviews that the author did with many of hi...more
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Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He began his training after graduating from Dartmouth College in Asian Studies in 1967. Then he joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to the Public Health Service in no...more
More about Jack Kornfield...
A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology Teachings of the Buddha Meditation for Beginners The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace

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“As surely as there is a voyage away, there is a journey home.” 35 likes
“Within the mystery of life there is the infinite darkness of the night sky lit by distant orbs of fire, the cobbled skin of an orange that releases its fragrance to our touch, the unfathomable depths of the eyes of our lover. No creation story, no religious system can fully describe or explain this richness and depth. Mystery is so every-present that no one can know for certain what will happen one hour from now. “

It does not matter whether you have religion or are an agnostic believe in nothing, You can only appreciate (without knowing or understanding) the mysteries of life.”
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