Friday, December 16, 2011

Brazil 1982

and then there was the French midfield in 1982 with Platini, Girese, Tigana... Germany also had a good team (Breitner, Magath, Littbarski, Matthäus, Müller - Schuster had resigned), of course Italy. Still today IMHO the best midfield ever (individually and as a team) is the present Barca squad: Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, plus if you consider them midfielders, Messi+Sanchez...

A memory to Socrates and Co.

Brazil 1982 - A tribute to the art of football

Brasil 1982 - The 11 Greatest Goals

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Wake Up To Your Life Audio Book

The book Wake Up To Your Life by Ken McLeod explains the meditation techniques developed over hundreds of years by Tibetian Buddhist's. More over it is a practice guideline, a program, a roadmap, or a How To document. The book format is also very good to quickly skim through, to get an overview, and to look things up (and btw, for the recent paperback price at Amazon for USD 11.43 it is a real bargain for what you get!).

However there is also an audio version available, the whole book is red page by page by Ken McLeod himself.

It gives the content a whole new dimension. While I can read much faster than listening to the audio, it is much more emotional, personal, intense - overall a deeper experience, to listen to the text, content, speach. After all, text is just a codification to what we normally would hear. Actually it is images that we put into words, that we put onto paper. Each time we add a very complex layer to communicate in order to overcome time and distance. So if you like the book, you might give the audio book a chance as well. I am sure you will like it. Last not least, you might also like his podcasts. They are also qualitatively different from the audio book. The podcasts are interactive, more spontaneous, natural, and like a conversation, while the audio book is actually red from a fixed text, it is more structured, prepared, and concentrated. Both forms have their advantages and place.


BTW, I hope there will be an ebook version out at some point in time. It would be nice to carry the book around easily at most times.

Here is a review of the book by one of his students, George Draffan.

Review of Ken McLeod's "Wake Up To Your Life", March 21, 2001

By George L. Draffan

Originally published in the Northwest Dharma News

Hundreds of books on Buddhism have been published in recent years, but Wake Up To Your Life, a new book by Ken McLeod, is one of the first systematic curricula written by a Westerner thoroughly trained in traditional Tibetan ways. With deep insight, clear instructions, and entertaining stories, McLeod has given us a comprehensive manual for a lifetime of spiritual work.

Wake Up To Your Life begins as many books do, introducing the context and motivations for practicing meditation, and covering basic topics such as the four noble truths, the three disciplines of morality, meditation, and understanding, and the cultivation of mindfulness. It continues with contemplations on death and impermanence, karma, reactive emotions, and the four immeasurables, and ends with difficult practices for mind training, insight, and direct awareness.

McLeod breaks new ground from beginning to end. For example, the differences and synergies between mindfulness, awareness, and attention are clearly delineated, and active attention ("volitional, stable, and inclusive") is the central principle. That has practical implications, one of which is that ethical behavior becomes primarily a natural expression of attention, rather than a set of rules dictated by an authority or tradition.

Wake Up To Your Life is especially valuable in making explicit what has been hidden from or confusing to many practitioners. Those who have struggled to practice with insufficient instruction will benefit from McLeod's pragmatic approach. For example, he makes clear the important differences between the purpose, methods, effects, and results of meditation practice. Thus the meditator who has been instructed to "open your mind" or "be centered" will learn that being open and feeling centered (as well as distraction, clarity, sleepiness, and euphoria) are effects of meditation, and not methods. The book is packed with tools for choosing and working with a teacher, for cutting through confusion and self-deception, and for discriminating between genuine insight and passing mental states and energy surges.

Those who have been bewildered by Tibetan visualization and contemplative practices will see how they are rooted in basic Buddhist principles, and those who have been confused or put off by cosmology and deity practices will find clear explanations and a sensible approach. We see how the six realms are the worlds projected by our reactive emotions, and how an understanding of the five elements and five dakinis can help us transform the energies of our reactive emotions into pristine awareness.

The chapter on karma is a significant contribution to our understanding of meditation and of psychology. Detailed analysis of how our beliefs, reactive emotions, and habituated behaviors create and perpetuate the suffering in our lives is integrated with practical exercises for dismantling the components of those beliefs and behavioral patterns. McLeod has formulated the practices in terms directly relevant to modern audiences, and encourages the reader to rely on experience rather than belief. Waking up to your life does not depend on exchanging Western assumptions for Eastern ones; it depends on direct experience.

In the debate over whether teachers should transmit the Dharma just as it was received, or whether each culture and each generation must make the Dharma their own, McLeod is squarely in the second camp. He integrates age-old Buddhist methods with modern psychological sensibilities, and uses science and Sufi teaching stories to make his points, but the result is no sweet New Age concoction. Confusion is cut at every juncture, and no slack is given for wishful thinking. "You would probably prefer not to look at some parts of your life, but to ignore the areas of life that are uncomfortable to look at is not a good idea. If we protect any aspect of our life from the practice of attention, the habituated patterns connected with that part of our life absorb the energy of practice and gradually take over our lives. We become what we don't dismantle."

While Wake Up To Your Life is intellectually challenging and satisfying, it is ultimately a manual for spiritual practice, and not an exercise in cultural reeducation, religious history, or philosophical doctrine. Its only purpose is to provide a set of tools to deal with the challenges we encounter while engaging the work of "waking up from the sleep in which we dream that we are separate from what we experience."

Both beginning and experienced students and teachers of Buddhist meditation will benefit from using the methods in Wake Up To Your Life, but McLeod's pragmatic and integrated approach applies the power of attention to social, work, and personal relationships as well as to formal meditation practice. The book will be valuable to psychologists, mediators, managers, parents, and anyone else who deals with people and their reactive emotions. It's for anyone who has felt the suffering and confinement caused by their habitual patterns, and is serious about cultivating presence and freedom.