Amy Quinn-Suplina: Ethan Nichtern, himself, mentioned it on social media and I was drawn to the book because he integrates and elevates the thinking of two of my favorite writers, Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön, and political activist Arundhati Roy.
YCNYC: Describe it in 5 words.
AQS: Buddhist primer for engaged living.
YCNYC: Favorite quote(s)?
AQS: "The path of awakening is not about objectifying certain emotions as worthy and others of unworthy...if we do this, we will spend most of our life rejecting what we are actually experiencing, pretending we are on some holy path while we're really on an evasive journey away from our own humanity."
"The road home is a human journey through feelings, not a way to sanitize them."
Nichtern debunks the myth that a path of mindfulness is about isolating oneself from the world and finding bliss all the time.
YCNYC: Who would you recommend to?
AQS: I would love to see yogis who shy away from social action dive into this book. Likewise, my friends in political organizing who view yoga and meditation as self-indulgent might also gain a fresh perspective from The Road Home.
There is often an unfortunate dichotomy between those who are on paths that explore the workings of their own minds, and those who do work for justice in the world. Political organizers need wellness practices to help sustain them in their work, and meditation also helps us understand our own conditioning, our interpersonal habits, and our power.
YCNYC: What part resonates with you the most?
AQS: Nichtern's focus is on how self-awareness impacts relationships, communities, and society. Towards the end of the book, he explores how choosing the path of mindfullness is ultimately a political act. As we tune into our own minds, we get to understand, intimately, the fundamental interdependence of humanity, and our own power to impact change.
You can purchase The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Pathhere.