Jack Kornfield is one of the most beloved, most respected meditation teachers in the world, and has brought the wisdom of Buddhist teachings and practices to the West through his books, retreats, classes and conferences for almost fifty years.
His latest book, No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are, is another masterful gem of stories, insights, practices that help us learn: we can deepen our clarity, compassion, and joy no matter how difficult our circumstances and no matter how chaotic the times we are living in.
I’ve excerpted one practice from the chapter “Deliver Your Gifts.” Having just taught a 3-day non-residential retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, which Jack co-founded 27 years ago, I know the power of these practices to help people learn to bounce back from disappointment, difficulty, even disaster. May they prove useful to you and yours.
DELIVER YOUR GIFTS
Sit quietly for a time, allowing your body to settle and your mind to quiet.
You, like all humans, have strengths, gifts, capacities that you bring to this world. Honor the fact that you are unique and idiosyncratic and one of a kind. Let these questions resonate and guide you:
What brings you most alive?
What do you love to share?
What makes you feel most creative?
When do you feel most connected to yourself?
When do you feel most connected to others?
What concern on this earth do you most want to change?
What do you like to work with?
What do you like to play with?
What do you enjoy?
What brings you the most ease?
What do others appreciate about you?
What are your passions?
What have been your most blessed times?
Do you love: Stillness? Tending? Organizing? Moving? Connecting? Social Justice? Planting? Solitude? Building? Helping? Listening? Leading? Finance? Cooking? Feeding? Dancing? Figuring? Sports? Engineering? Experimenting? Traveling? Art? Children?
If you were to list three strengths, what would they be?
How can you develop and express these gifts?