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The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be

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As a poet, philosopher, and cancer survivor, Mark Nepo has been breaking a path of spiritual inquiry for more than thirty years. In his new book, the #1 New York Times bestselling author explores how the soul works in the world.

Called "one of the finest spiritual guides of our time," this beloved teacher explores what it means to become our truest self through the ongoing and timeless journey of awakening to the dynamic wholeness of life, which is messy and unpredictable.

Nepo navigates some of the soul's deepest and most ancient questions, such as: What does it mean to inhabit the world? How do we stay vital and buoyant amid the storms of life? What is the secret to coming alive? Nepo affirms that not only is the soul's journey inevitable, it is essential to our survival. The human journey is how the force of life grows us, and no matter where we go we can't escape this foundational truth: What's in the way is the way. As Nepo writes, "The point of experience is not to escape life but to live it."

Featured on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday program, Nepo's Seven Thousand Ways to Listen has inspired millions of people to redefine themselves in the face of life's challenges. Comforting, moving, and spiritually practical, The Endless Practice is filled with universal insights and stories woven with guidance and practice, which will bring the reader closer to living life to the fullest.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published August 19, 2014

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Mark Nepo

60 books492 followers

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5 stars
111 (44%)
4 stars
85 (34%)
3 stars
37 (14%)
2 stars
13 (5%)
1 star
2 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 39 reviews
Profile Image for Maggie.
1,628 reviews38 followers
July 30, 2015
sometimes this book seems too long YET as soon as i think of putting it down i am startled by another passage that i am so grateful not to have missed. well worth the time to read, this book will support what you know deep within yourself because it captures the silent or quiet awareness of the human condition. highly recommended.
Profile Image for Nicole Taylor.
Author 1 book9 followers
August 25, 2015
This book is a great reminder that juice of life is in living it fully and meeting it face to face, and that there will be moments when that comes naturally and others when it doesn't, yet we can ride these waves of expansion and contraction without adding judgment. This book came to me at a time when I really needed its message and for that I am grateful.
Profile Image for Noelle.
168 reviews1 follower
April 7, 2015
Mark Nepo is divine. DIVINE I tell you.
1 review
June 20, 2016
Author clearly put a lot of time and effort into writing this book but too poetic for me to boil-down any insights. It was more an appreciation for the crafting of poetic wording than an opportunity that I was able to garner any new wisdom from. Usually I like to take concrete thoughts on a book to mull over for the day, but I just couldn't distill the content down to something for this purpose from the first 35 pages. I do have extreme appreciation for the authors way with words.
Profile Image for Mary K.
481 reviews23 followers
October 4, 2018
I’m a huge fan of Nepo and 5-starred his other books but I had a tough time with this one, probably because it’s the only one I’ve picked up and put down so many times. I simply never caught the continuity or theme. The book seemed disjointed and meandering. It could at times get repetitive, even sappy. But as with everything Nepo writes, it’s gorgeous and there are gems throughout that I underlined and asterisk’d and stopped to reflect upon. The book goes on my little shelf of books I always want to refer back to and reread.
Profile Image for Robin.
48 reviews1 follower
July 9, 2020
I have been savoring this book, bits at a time, for nearly six months. Soulful, thought-provoking, eerily on point with life at times, I appreciate Mark Nepo's insight and poetic voice so much. My favorite way to read his work is first thing in the morning before the day really unfolds. I'm so grateful I had this book to enjoy during staycation this week. As it joins other books of his on my shelf, I'm also grateful I have another of his books waiting in the wings. :-)
Profile Image for Lisa Marie.
73 reviews1 follower
September 26, 2022
Such a beautiful gifted writer. So many insightful passages. One of the best books I have ever read. I marked so many pages. I will be revisiting for a lifetime.
Profile Image for Holly Weiss.
Author 3 books120 followers
January 13, 2017
An eloquent examination into living life fully with whatever comes your way. I took my time and enjoyed Nepo's insights for 10 months. Highly recommended by my friend Henry.
4 reviews
February 5, 2021
As others have mentioned the book weaves and winds so there is a hanging on to the reading as it flows...I had a pencil and rule to underline and anchor passages that resonated, if which there were so many.... poignant, profound and true, for me.

Mark's poetic writings speak as though the come from me.

My only gloss over would be the constancy of his reference to cancer in his life, this is the only time I flip a page, I want to say, ok ok we know we know... though that could be a me thing not a Mark thing.

Otherwise, the books mt heart has longed for where I no longer berate myself for somehow bringing pain and suffering in my life.

I try, as we all do to accept that it is a part of life...a challenge for those of of Canadian and American born....

37 reviews
April 27, 2023
"I could sense he'd been drawn to attend this retreat, knowing that I speak in metaphor and that I bow to the mystery and the indecipherable logic of paradox" (page 24)

I so very much wish he'd put this quote on the first page of his book, i.e., before I'd already spent 30 minutes reading through this. I'm not even sure what he meant by the "indecipherable logic of paradox". The irony is that this STATEMENT is indecipherable.

One can be spiritual without being so enigmatic and obscure...

He pretty much writes in this way throughout, with metaphorical stories stuck here and there without any sort of theme materializing. It was so jumbled in thoughts, it seems more akin to the ramblings of a person who went weeks without sleeping.
Profile Image for Deryn Tang.
Author 6 books12 followers
August 11, 2020
I found this an interesting discourse on life. Mark Nepo clearly set out the rhythms and patterns of life, that we so easily dismiss as something out of the ordinary when something hard or difficult happens to us. He shows us how we are being spiritually attuned to the patterns of our Creator in the pulse of life, its ups and downs, the continuum of generations and the endless rhythm of the ocean.
I would recommend this book for anyone who seeks to understand the deeper meaning of life, it is not a quick easy read.
Profile Image for Cindy.
994 reviews3 followers
August 25, 2019
This is a workbook, a meditation, a path to understanding. As Melinda Gates suggests (in her own excellent biography), it is a book for the nightstand, to be dipped into again and again for inspiration. I listened to the audiobook and did not stop to do the exercises, but could see the value if one is in the right mindset. Will likely buy a copy, as there are many sections that are worth a second (and third) look.
Profile Image for Karen.
461 reviews22 followers
March 14, 2020
I’ve read lots of Mark Nepo. He writes beautifully and shares some incredibly profound insights. I had more trouble with this book than with many of his others. There were many times where this one felt too poetic, too sappy, and more than a little disjointed. There’s enough that’s worthwhile to make it a three star book for me, but I think I’ll have to wait a while before reading any others by this author.
Profile Image for Kristi.
68 reviews
July 22, 2017
I discovered Mark Nepo a few months ago, and I am so grateful. His eloquent insights about life and this spiritual journey we're all on spoke right to my heart. I read it slowly, a chapter or so at a time, and was often struck by a sentence that would knock me over with its truth. Will definitely be reading more by him.
19 reviews1 follower
March 21, 2020
"...I remain a student of things as they are and this has led me to the astonishing guidance that all things are true. I simply have to keep my heart open long enough to keep discovering how."

~ Mark Nepo

No matter how many times you read Nepo's books, the threads of understanding continually unravel anew
Profile Image for Yoko.
5 reviews1 follower
January 20, 2019
I've read several Mark Nepo's books and by far, this is my favorite.
I received warm message from the author that it's okay to be who you are and be truly authentic.
It's also a good reminder that life is an endless learning process.
He's also a poet and so beautifully written.
Profile Image for Gemm.
20 reviews1 follower
Currently reading
January 8, 2020
It’s a long read indeed but it’s the kind of book that needs to be put down to give yourself the time to internalize. Words are deep but it’s worth it - letting you understand fully how Life on Earth can be fully lived.
Profile Image for Jonny Andres.
117 reviews2 followers
March 5, 2020
I have a friend to thank for this book. What a gift this was. One of the best reads I've had in the past couple years. Nepo is both insightful and inspirational. I will continue to read and learn from this for years to come. It has already impacted my heart and mind.
Profile Image for Darien.
46 reviews
August 13, 2021
great for introspection and especially for group discussion.....it's a philosophical book that makes you think deeply about the live you have lived and are living....it is an experience and not something to be plowed through but rather to read, discuss, journal and ruminate on.
Profile Image for Allison D..
12 reviews1 follower
September 30, 2022
I read this wonderful book slowly over 9 months, a few pages each morning as part of my morning practice. I can’t count how often Nepo’s work sunk right into my soul and I was moved to share excerpts with friends by text. A beautiful, heart opening book of truths. Highly recommend this book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kathy.
42 reviews10 followers
November 28, 2020
I found this book really inspiring. I will read it again and again, for “endless practice”!
Profile Image for Stef Garvin.
Author 1 book19 followers
March 26, 2022
A beautiful and perspective-expanding read. Mark Nepo is a master of making words sing with deep significance.
20 reviews1 follower
June 12, 2023
Gonna give it 4 stars because sometimes he goes off, too far off, into numerous metaphors that you lose track of what the point is. Otherwise, a beautiful person, beautiful work!
Profile Image for Jackie Law.
370 reviews23 followers
January 27, 2018
"...universe presents you with an opportunity to rise to your potential." p. 8
"Accepting what we’re given is a practice in being present to everything beyond us that lets us
Become intimate with the nature of life."
"Gift of wakeful effort allows us to find our way back to what is heartening and affirming." p. 30
"Honest company can lead us back to our own possibility." p. 45
"Our stories remain and ever-present medicine. They are mysterious cups of remedy that carry the choices each person has to face." p. 30
"Quarantining our involvement in the world, we run the risk of letting our soul sleep..." p. 42

"We blossom and outgrow selves the way butterflies emerge from cocoons. Except that being human, we have the chance to emerge from many cocoons."
saXifrage : from the Latin, means stone breaker. saying yes is the way the flower of the soul breaks through the stone of the world." p. 57

"Living with an open heart shifts our inner geography. The heart no longer widens or closes, but stays open like an inlet. It assumes a permanent edge of receiving."

"Let the wisdom of ending ground the intoxication of beginning and let the freshness of beginning soften the poignancy of ending." p. 108

"I believe everyone we ever love has a place in the garden of our heart. I believe all past loves and friendships are tangled in our roots." (117).

"Do we meet our moment of undoing as a crisis to sew up like a wound or as a path opened in the mountain of time?"


Wakefulness is not a destination but a song the human heart keeps singing, the way birds keep singing at the first sign of light."

"... Keeps us fully alive and connected to life itself." ~ Paul Tillich qtd. Mark Nepo p. 192

SO many bits of this book were poignant, powerful, and beautiful. I've xeroxed, scanned, printed, quoted, shared, mediated, and listened on audio while driving...

Here is another blog post:http://lunawings.blogspot.com/2017/03...
I just checked and it appears I've quoted from this book in about 30 different blog posts :) so I'll just let you search in whatever way you are led to do so: http://lunawings.blogspot.com/
But here is the link to the one in which I included quotes nearest to my finishing this book :)
Enjoy! http://lunawings.blogspot.com/2018/01...
20 reviews10 followers
June 4, 2020
Good book to dip into, more enjoyable that way than reading at once.
Profile Image for Victoria Murata.
Author 3 books15 followers
January 19, 2015
"This book is an inquiry into how the soul works in the world." Beautifully written with many personal anecdotes in Mark's poetic style. I loved reading it, and you don't have to read it in any kind of order (although I did). Now that I've read it through, I'll enjoy reading specific parts over again. Mark puts so much into a single sentence, it's sometimes hard to digest in just one reading. Ex: "It takes more than one life to grow a hand back after oppression has cut it off, more than one generation to grow a soul that can love the world again."
I like this book better than The Book of Awakening, and I love that one also.
Highly recommended.
73 reviews
January 18, 2015
I read this book because I saw Mark on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. I liked his interview with her very much. I liked a lot of his book. My favorite line is "What's in the way is the way." This helps me have patience with myself.
The non-structured feel of the book really impacted my feeling overall of the book. In the back, he notes all references to previous publications that parts of the book were drawn from. Maybe that's why the book had a happenstance feel to it. Maybe his editor could have brought more clear structure to this book. From the other reviews I've read, it looks like I'm the only one who felt his style of writing got in the way of enjoyment of the book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 39 reviews

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