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Spring Reads: Five Books to Savor During the Pandemic and Beyond

May 13, 2020

Before COVID-19, the modern world had its noise, distraction and disconnection. Large pockets of humanity may have forgotten the subtle sounds and movements of the sacred that can arise within and around us. But then COVID-19 arrived and everything changed. Now that many of us adhere to shelter-in-place protocols, we turned to Esalen faculty Michael Sapiro, PsyD, for some insight through the written word.

Michael has made it his life mission to assist others to rest in spacious stillness where expressions of Spirit can be clearly felt and heard. He is a clinical psychologist, Dharma and meditation teacher, former Buddhist monk and a fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. He leads Stillness and Spirit: Playing in the Fields of Awareness, Sound and Movement, September 27 through October 2, at Esalen. Michael shares his Top Five Spring 2020 book picks with us here.

Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron “During this very unstable and unsettling time, Pema helps us find inner peace and freedom that comes with true acceptance of what is,” Michael says, adding that the best-seller author and teacher directs us back to the awakened heart that can, ‘hold all sorrows, fears and pains while still radiating love in all directions.”

The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield “This is such a loving and compassionate book for those of us seeking insight into and healing from our psychological wounds,” Michael says of fellow Esalen faculty Jack Kornfield’s book. "I ask all my patients to read this as a supplement to therapy.”

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen This is a "beautiful" account of Matthiessen's journey into grief, sadness and ultimate peace while searching for the elusive Himalayan snow leopard.

The Monkey and the Monk edited by Anthony C. Yu This “exciting and provocative” folk tale from China centered around the myth and allegorical pilgrimage of Sun Wukong the Monkey King, and Tripitaka, the monk he is serving on their journey to meet the Buddha.

The Unfolding Self by Ralph Metzner “As a teacher myself of the transformative experience, I deeply appreciate the map this book lays out to our own inner potential of awakening and transformation,” Michael says. “Metzner offers an integrated exploration of the many different spiritual and psychological paths we can take to transform ourselves and the world around us.”

Photo: Kyle Evans

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