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A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  476 ratings  ·  41 reviews
When the path ahead is dark, how can we keep from stumbling? How do we make our way with courage and dignity? "Inside each of us is an eternal light that I call 'the One Who Knows, ' writes Jack Kornfield. "Awakening to this wisdom can help us fin dour way through pain and suffering with grace and tenderness." For anyone seeking answer during a trying time, he offers "A La ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published August 28th 2011 by Sounds True (first published September 28th 2010)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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Steven Lurie
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend the audio book version of "Guided Meditations for Difficult Times: A Lamp in the Darkness" by Jack Kornfield.

Having read a good deal of his work, Kornfield has emerged as one of my favorite writers and speakers in the Buddhism/mindfulness genre. Based on my experience listening to Guided Meditations, I signed up for a five day JK retreat which I completed two weeks ago at “Kripalu” in Lenox, Ma.

The meditations that make up this short book are designed to help listeners face l
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
This is exactly what I needed right now....

"The real tragedy is when we refuse to acknowledge and respect our own suffering and instead spread it unconsciously to others."

"If you judge yourself against some impossible ideal of how you think you "should" be feeling and acting as you struggle, you'll only add to your suffering"

"But how can we find this "one who knows" in the midst of our overwhelming difficulties? Go to the mirror. Look at your face. You will see someone who looks older than you l
Artemisia Hunt
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-a-copy
I had the privilege of attending a meditation retreat led by Jack Kornfield a few years back and I've always been impressed with his wisdom, humility and kindness. And in this book, the depth of experience in his own spiritual study and longtime meditation practice are apparent in the authenticity and value of his teachings. In a time when so many profess to be spiritual teachers or gurus, this man is the real thing; though of course, he'd be the last to say that.
I expected more from Jack Kornfield. The CD at the end of the book is more valuable than the book.
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely little book that focuses on alternative ways to look at difficult times in our lives, encouraging us to "connect to the lamp of wisdom you carry deep within." (p. 31) It includes eight focused, guided meditations to help us to become more grounded, aware, compassionate, guided through painful or difficult experiences, forgiving, healed, whole, restored, balanced, peaceful, reflective, intentional, mindful, and joyful.

My favorite meditation is found on p. 31, in which you visuali
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There should be a warning label on the audiobook: keep hankies and a counselor handy when operating these guided meditations.

I found some strong and helpful ideas in these meditations, but I won't be repeating them right away. Kornfield asks us to remember our most painful and traumatic moments, to go through them again towards healing. That's great, maybe -- he does it well -- but for some traumas, in some people, it shouldn't be undertaken with a mere virtual coach.

Maybe best to read the pri
Diana Raab
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jack Kornfield, one of my favorite spiritual leaders, is a gem of a book for anyone enduring difficult times. This book is not only enlightening, but offers concrete techniques and meditations for those who have either gotten off their spiritual path or those who are enduring turbulent times and need to find the light. Buddhists like Kornfield know that the best way to navigate difficult times is to turn toward the pain and embrace it as a lesson leading to transformation. Kornfield reminds the ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield is one of my all time favorite books. Kornfield did not disappoint with A Lamp in the Darkness. This little gem is filled with great wisdom about accepting and facing the many difficulties we encounter in life with compassion. Every life is filled with change and insecurity. Often it is our own state of mind that causes us the most difficulty. By learning to cultivate mindfulness, forgiveness, wisdom, healing, compassion, equanimity and peace we can face our diff ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
Concise, and with a compassionate manner, this book is self-billed “super food for the soul,” written by a clinical psychologist who is also a Buddhist meditation counselor. This book has the model (short, direct and practical) for what I am sensing is needed; however his answers, though sounding good are ultimately deadly. My Pocket Guide will not get all rave reviews his does, for my book will have the courage to tell the truth as the One who claimed to be the truth tells it. Biblical answers ...more
Randy Lyback
No real meditation

I wish I realized the Meditation did not come with this version of the book. You can read the meditation but what’s the point of that? I can’t read and meditate simultaneously.
Karen Trench
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A small, simple, insightful gem of a book! When my heartlight went out after the death of my husband, Jack Kornfield's words of profound compassion, love, and wisdom helped turn it back on. He is a beautiful soul and teacher.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is going to sit by my bedside so I can refer to its teachings indefinitely. A necessary companion for difficult trials.
Herve Tunga
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I like the various templates for diverse kind of meditations
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Love it. A great balance between wisdom, stories and exercises in meditation.
Fiona O'Neill
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Clear and resonant. Link contained to six MP3 practices to cultivate kind awareness, forgiveness and equanimity in times of difficulty and discomfort.
Steve Woods
This is a great course of meditations for anyone who is experiencing difficulties in life or rough going as emotions from past trauma arise in their life. For anyone who has had a traumatic childhood, or experienced severe trauma later in life in ways that may have led to ptsd, following these meditations through for a few months will undoubtedly help. They will provide some valuable insight into how our sense of self conditions our experience of our life and how we can untangle the knots wrough ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, buddhism
This is designed to help someone through the dark times of life and I think, if that person is ready for help this might a good book for them. It has some nice gentle reminders without being overly preachy that life is filled with both light and dark. I liked the quotations and the stories within.

I went through it once. I need to go back and really work the meditations which I haven't done yet. They sound like they will be very helpful. It also (at least my version) comes with an audio disc to h
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first studied this text 8 years ago, and thought it was pretty good. During the recent pandemic, I found myself on a roller coaster of emotions that was driving me crazy. I am happy to say I was wise enough to pull this book off the shelf and study it once again. It has saved me! I am no longer suffering the ups and downs and feel much calmer about everything.

Highly recommend to anyone who needs to light some darkness.
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Challenged hearts
Recommended to Donna by: Rev. Michelle Wadleigh
I have not yet gone thru this entire book...and that is very telling. The meditations I did participate in we're excellent. However, I'm not taking the time I "should be" taking. I 'm thinking with a more convenient area to meditate, I'd be more proactive, here....but it is excuses.

I was successful with meditation this summer, and with time, one can be, yes...

My friend Kim and I have been sharing about mindfulness...

I'll be back ;-)
Jenny Davidow
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book, which is classic Jack Kornfield, reduced to a very pithy series of topics and meditations to help you through life's challenges and the emotions that can get us stuck in misery.
Best of all, there's a CD of his meditations that comes with the book, which now is part of my morning meditation practice. Whether you're new to meditating or experienced, these meditations reach deep levels of emotion and guide you to a more spacious way to meet the challenges that inevitably come.
Rebecca J. Stone
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read several of Jack Kornfield's books over the years. I admire him as a teacher and writer. This book seemed simplistic at first but after completing it i decided that he is once again writing quite effectively about the very difficult topic of impermanence and grief. I have recommended it to my study group and we are currently using it as the focus of our weekly discussion. The guided meditations are a bit long but good.
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the fact that the book comes with a CD with guided meditations to support the healing process the author describes in the book. It's a great read for anyone dealing with a life challenge that is proving to require some additional support. The messaging is quite lovely, and would be beneficial for most of us to hear even if life is going swimmingly along...
Sandy Peckinpah
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely book, easy to read book with some profound insights. I found I was reading it with a highlighter in hand. Although it's a short book, I didn't rush through it, and I found myself really studying the message and doing the exercises at the end of each chapter. I ordered a few more books to give as gifts.
Sigrun Hodne
So good! Kornfield is my favorite guide into the vast field of mindfulness. I have quoted a little piece from this cd her:
Michael Chin
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Jack Kornfield has a way of saying soothing words such that any problems you may have in life are not nearly as large as they appear, rather they only seem that way because our mind perceives it as such. It draws from Buddhist teachings, but it is not proselytizing in the slightest.
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent mediation/lecture sessions.
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
appropriate for people who have never meditated/ beginners. Great anecdotes.
Oct 20, 2011 is currently reading it
Excellent beginners-guide-to meditation. Totally helps to direct your energy in a more positive direction when you are feeling overwhelmed
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved ,loved this book....recommend it to anyone going through a difficult time.
Judith Schrauder
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Comes with a CD of 6 of the meditations.
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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

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