There are so many gems in the book, Mindfulness in Plain English.  I read it last spring for the first time, in preparation for spending two months at Bhavana Society.

It begins:

Meditation: Why Bother?

Meditation is not easy. It takes time and it takes energy. It also takes grit, determination, and discipline. It requires a host of personal qualities…Meditation takes gumption. It is certainly a great deal easier just to sit back and watch television.  So why bother? Why waste all that time and energy when you could be out enjoying yourself? Why? Simple. Because you are human. Just because of the simple fact that you are human, you find yourself heir to an inherent unsatisfactoriness in life that simply will not go away. You can suppress it from your awareness for a time; you can distract yourself for hours on end, but it always comes back, and usually when you least expect it. All of a sudden, seemingly out of the blue, you sit up, take stock, and realize your actual situation in life. There you are, and you suddenly realize that you are spending your whole life just barely getting by. You keep up a good front. You manage to make ends meet somehow and look okay from the outside. But those periods of desperation, those times when you feel everything caving in on you—you keep those to yourself. You are a mess, and you know it. But you hide it beautifully. Meanwhile, way down under all of that, you just know that there has to be some other way to live, a better way to look at the world, a way to touch life more fully. You click into it by chance now and then: you get a good job.You fall in love.You win the game. For a while, things are different. Life takes on a richness and clarity that makes all the bad times and humdrum fade away.  The whole texture of your experience changes and you say to yourself, “Okay, now I’ve made it; now I will be happy.” But then that fades too, like smoke in the wind. You are left with just a memory—that, and the vague awareness that something is wrong…

The book is offered for sale by Better World Books and is available to be borrowed from the San Francisco Public Library or can be read on line at Urban Dharma.

Mindfulness in Plain English