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The Wisdom of Solitude: A Zen Retreat in the Woods Hardcover – Jan 2004

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THE TINY CABIN is in a small clearing in the middle of the woods. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The Source of Joy 21 Jan. 2004
By Steven R. Cohen, MD - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the spirit of Emerson, the example of Thoreau, Jane Dobisz offers thoroughly remarkable and instructive impressions of a 100 days solo retreat in the Maine woods. The spare quality of her writing is invested with the ineffable substance of experience itself. So much of this writing remains imprinted in my consciousness. From the naive excitement of setting up her tiny cabin for the retreat, to the moments of despair about fatigue, uncertainty, loneliness, hunger, yearning, and fear; from the ecstasy of feeding a bird, splitting a log, taking a bath, wrestling with a chamber pot, to the indelible image that follows a night of rain when the world was "dripping peacefully." Brutally and tenderly honest, I wept as Ms. Dobisz recalled her father's untimely death in Viet Nam when she was a child of six. This infinitely expressive work reveals the human condition as refracted through the lens of Zen meditation, the insights of Jane Dobisz' Zen teacher, and the literature of this ancient and modern spiritual tradition. The "Wisdom of Solitude" gives a new meaning to the genre of inspirational literature.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Spiritual Joy 19 Jan. 2004
By Gail McMeekin - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In this book, Jane invites us to share her compelling journey of courage and contemplation, and ultimately lessons of life along the way. Her story is captivating as she tackles both inner and outer gremlins and emerges with the power of joyfulness and a vision for a better world. Jane's 100 days alone illustrate the potential offerings of the spirit. Her humor and her humanity light up the pages as she humbly chops wood and does her daily practice. A must read for the stressed out and souls on the spiritual and creative journey.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great intro to Zen; richly personal yet understandable. 2 Jan. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Very easy to understand how this kind of focus and activity can produce happiness and peace, as Jane whittles life down to its barest essentials and puts her obviously keen intellect to work understanding and explaining this experience to her audience. Hard to put down, I could not wait to see what experience or observation she would next describe, beautifully and clearly. I was almost there in that cabin, in the woods, in the cold, in the darkness and also in the light, in the deprivation as well as in the luxury of her weekly bath. Most of all, in the solitude, something many of us wish for more of in today's busy life. The book's format, the spareness of its words, the brevity of its episodes, match well the type of time she spent there. It's a great introduction to Zen as well, understandable to one who is a complete novice. Earthy self-deprecation, mixed with poignant scenes of magnificent nature, all extremely well-written, make reading this book a great occupation for anyone, anytime.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The heart of meditation practice 29 Dec. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A clear, lucid and honest account of what it is like to do serious meditation practice. No bull, no pretense. With no fuss and utter simplicity, Dobisz points directly to the heart of meditation practice. It is going on my very short list (only 4 other titles) of books I recommend to people interested in or just beginning Buddhist meditation practice. But it is also a useful reminder to experienced practitioners of the basic and elemental nature of what we are doing.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
the real thing 31 Dec. 2003
By local zen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Not many people have actually gone off and done this kind of arduous Zen retreat. What I appreciated most about this account was the author's honesty about what it is like to sit for days on end doing zen meditation. Clearly she has synthesized ancient techniques into her own practice. Excellent quotes at the chapter headings from great masters of days gone by. Poetic and funny at the same time -- this is good "zen" stuff!
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