by Joe Loizzo

With summer here, we invite you to make more space and time to practice unwinding, whether in your favorite natural refuge—seaside or mountainside, lake or forest—on the cushion in your meditation space or in your choice reading chair or coffee nook in whatever spare minutes or hours you can clear in your day. Turn off your devices, wishing all life well, and reconnect with your own body and mind.

As you reconnect with yourself, tuning in to the natural rhythms of your body and mind, feel how precious such reflective moments are in your life. Especially invite and savor any memories that evoke a felt sense of being fully whole and alive—in harmony with yourself, nature, and the extended family of all life.

Leaning into that harmonious state, pick up a book you wouldn’t normally have the space or time to read. Or focus your attention on an uplifting image or aspect of nature you might normally overlook. Slowly drink in the text, image, or aspect until it softens and warms the core of your being. Then welcome any reflections that warmth stirs and offer them to your felt sense of harmony, dedicating the moment to reengaging with the world refreshed by a spirit of deeper and wider connection to all life.

One such moment that comes up for me this time of year goes back fifty years, to when I first encountered the American bodhisattva-poet Walt Whitman at sixteen. I hope you won’t mind if I share some of the opening lines of his “Song of Myself” to whet your appetite for the summer reading list suggested with care by fellow members of our Nalanda Institute community. View the list »

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass…

Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the earth much?
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.

I wish you a harmonious and reflective summer. 

May all beings be free,

Nalanda Institute’s Summer Reading List

Be sure to check out Nalanda Institute’s wide-ranging Summer Reading List with thoughtful recommendations by members of our community. View the list »

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