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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

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,447 Ratings  ·  163 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 into our imp
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 2nd 2001 by Bantam (first published 2000)
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Robert Day
Oct 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: knowledge
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
Steve Woods
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
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
Johannes Bertus
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Enlightenment porn. I would estimate about 5% of serious meditators will experience the altered states of consciousness described in this book. For the rest these descriptions of fireworks in the mind and "everything dropping away" are just a hindrance and a distraction. Useful spiritual practice is about learning that the laundry is the ecstacy. The laundry is all there is! And that's great.
Camilla Lombard
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Bish Denham
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is not a "how-to" book on how to attain enlightenment, meditate, or become a Buddhist. What it is can best be described by what is written on the back cover. "Drawing on the experiences and insights of leaders and practitioners within the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Sufi traditions, this book offers a uniquely intimate and honest understanding of how the modern spiritual journey unfolds -- and how we can prepare our hearts for awaking. Through moving personal stories and traditi ...more
Angelica Taggart
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.

Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2010
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
Sep 27, 2010 rated it liked it
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
James R. C.
I'd shelve After the Ecstacy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield next to Shunryu Suzuki's Zen Mind Beginners Mind.

"Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there are only enlightened events" (Shunryu Suzuki, xx-xxi). "In awakening, our whole sense of identity shifts. We let go our small sense of self and enter the unbounded consciousness out of which we come. What becomes known with absolute certainty is that we are not and never have been separate from the world. . . . When our identity
Nov 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm rating this book which I only read 3/4. Some gems, in here of interest. But at some point
, it felt to me that most of the Seekers who basically stepped out of society to find themselves, had a reason to want to step out. Eventually, what they were put in a position to have to step back into the normal demands of life and face the challenges that caused them to look elsewhere. Life is a challenge, period. And we have to experience it no matter how much you retreat, physically, spiritually or
Feb 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Heidi The Hippie Reader
After the Ecstasy, the Laundry is a masterpiece. Kornfield outlines the shifts of consciousness that we all make each day and how even enlightened monks struggle with their spirituality and families. He brings examples from different religions to create a unified picture of enlightened spirituality and expresses the hope that by raising our own individual consciousness that we may in time change the world. May it be so.

This was the first book that I have read by Jack Kornfield. I may need to pic
Caroline Crayons
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
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.
Mar 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jos-Madelaine Standing
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ageless. Priceless. Necessary.
Nicolette V. Beard
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
I got so much out of this book that I'm starting immediately to re-read it.
Alexis Pullen
Jun 08, 2012 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.
Sidney Luckett
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Profound on the ordinariness of insight meditation.
Summed up in a sentence in the final paragraph: May your journey lead you home
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
My thoughts, on After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield.

Okay, first of all I only got to page 105 out of 305 and I renewed it once. So, I'm going to admit this wasn't my kind of book. I didn't look forward to reading it. In fact, I avoided it at times. That being said, I did try and I made quite a few notes.

On page 26, is the story of a girl being married to a fearsome dragon. She goes to a wise woman for advice. The wise woman tells her to wear ten beautiful wedding gowns. As she take
Dawn Saquin
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot of real-life examples that express the difficulties of a spiritual path. It made me more aware of how alike and human we all are. And that we all can succeed in living a happy and peaceful life as long as we begin to realize that there is nothing to attain, but everything to gain.

"All spiritual life is preparation for transition, from one state to another."

"Embodied enlightenment is about living wisely in your particular body, as it is, on this day, in this amazing life."

"The whole moon a
Isidro López
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality, budhism
AMAZING reading.

I wouldn't recommend it as an introductory reading, but only for people who are already "in the path", or let's say, have become familiar with certain practices (e.g. meditation) and mindset.

It gave me some perspectives that I hadn't found in any book before.

And as any "good" book about the Dharma, it gave me peace. And it made me cry. And laugh. And lots of "enlightenment" moments. I just finished it, but I will probably read it again in the future.

Thank you very much for this b
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book helped me a lot in reviewing my practice, recalibrate and continue to walk the path. It doesn't matter if you are a new to the topics or you heard or read it before. If you stay interested and open you will get something out of it and learn whatever you are ready to learn. That's why one can go back to these kind of books again and again and discover new insights. Just don't get hooked to your desire of understanding everything. Let it be and move on to the next anecdote or chapter.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best way to experience Jack Kornfield's books is to hear them!!! His voice is imperfectly perfect, so warm and genuine and so beautifully human. He is best when talking to an audience but his reading is nice too. If you listen to lots of them, you will hear his favorite stories repeated but that's fine with me.
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Books that change your life completely in a good way. 1 4 Apr 18, 2015 12:06AM  
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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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“As surely as there is a voyage away, there is a journey home.” 48 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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