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Broken Open

How difficult Times Can Help Us Grow
Paperback Book
Random House
June, 2005
$22.00 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

In Broken Open, Omega Institute cofounder Elizabeth Lesser brings years of experience and heart as a teacher, counselor, and cultural observer to a deeply personal exploration of the journey from darkness into light. In stories that run the gamut of the human experience, and in a style that is genuine, funny, often heartbreaking, and quite inspiring, she shows us how we too can allow the pain of adversity to break us open instead of breaking us down, making us bitter, or closing our hearts. Lesser shares penetrating tales from her own life, the lives of those she has taught and counseled, and the lives of colleagues, like Ram Dass—tales that explore the big challenges of death, illness, and divorce, as well as the daily roller-coaster rides of relationships, parenting, making a living, and growing older. By sharing her own most human traits, Lesser helps us feel less lonely in our own struggles and more optimistic about the possibility of transformation.

Woven into these stories are quotations from great poets, philosophers, and lovers of life. And following them is a toolbox of some time-honoured methods for engaging the learning curves of “being broken open.” These methods—like meditation, psychological inquiry, and spiritual practice—form an introduction to some of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers, both ancient and living, and share wisdom from various traditions, from Buddhist meditation to Sufi dance, from Christian prayer to contemporary psychotherapy.

Something bigger and brighter always calls to shine through us. We are continually challenged to change and grow, to break down and break through.

 “Elizabeth Lesser bravely and beautifully explores one of the most compelling questions of life: how do we emerge from suffering and challenge with real, encompassing wisdom and love? Broken Open is personal, pragmatic and enlightening.” —Sharon Salzberg, author of Faith: Trusting Our Deepest Experience

“Rich in food for philosophical mastication, and sparking in their stylistic clarity, the true-life stories in Broken Open are both entertaining and enlightening.” —Tom Robbins, author of Villa Incognito

Also by Elizabeth Lesser is The Seeker’s Guide, one of the best books on understanding and choosing a spiritual path or school of study or healing.

Publisher’s Description: 

In the more than twenty-five years since she co-founded Omega Institute - now the world's largest center for spiritual retreat and personal growth -Elizabeth Lesser has been an intimate witness to the ways in which people weather change and transition. In a beautifully crafted blend of moving stories, humorous insights, practical guidance, and personal memoir, she offers tools to help us make the choice we all face in times of challenge: Will we be broken down and defeated, or broken open and transformed? Lesser shares tales of ordinary people who have risen from the ashes of illness, divorce, loss of a job or a loved one - stronger, wiser, and more in touch with their purpose and passion. And she draws on the world's great spiritual and psychological traditions to support us as we too learn to break open and blossom into who we were meant to be.In the 25 years since she co-founded Omega Institute - now the world’s largest personal-growth and spiritual retreat center - Lesser has learned to embrace what she calls the Phoenix Process: allowing herself to be broken open by changes in her life in order to rise like the mythical bird from the ashes of the past. In this beautifully written book, she collects true stories about ordinary people who by design or disaster decided to step boldly into a fuller life.

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