We all encounter obstacles on a daily basis—from small inconveniences and nuisances to the really big hardships wreaking havoc with our lives. Sometimes just the small things are enough to set us reeling. Andrew Holecek offers us a progressive path beginning with common, easily understood hardships and moving on to more subtle and challenging ones that commonly arise on our spiritual journeys.
The first book from Bodhi magazine columnist Holecek is a demanding yet valuable take on the joys and challenges to be found on the Buddhist path. The author places particular emphasis on pain and strife, applying philosophy from Tibetan Buddhist practice to direct readers toward mastery of problematic emotions. Readers should have some understanding of the religion's basic practices because Holecek is concerned more with theory than mechanics. Discussions on meditation are lengthy, but with little instruction on actually how to meditate, newcomers may feel baffled. The challenges of this volume are due not only to the rigors of its content but also to the lengthy passages and poems from other authors that are included. The detours are long, indirectly related to the topic, and often muddy the waters. Some patience to plow through the extra sources should be enough for make apparent Holecek's keen understanding and frequent insights. Casual readers may find the author's emphasis on ego dissolution a bit unnerving. Others will enjoy the book for that very reason.