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The Must-Read Book Club

Elizabeth Neuse Flint: This book first found me in the guest room of my meditation teacher's house. I was there for my first silent weekend retreat. In my silence, this book spoke to me like a whisper from The Divine.

YCNYC: Describe it in five words.

ENF: Simple, honest, gentle mindfulness instruction.

YCNYC: Favorite quote?

ENF: "As we begin to awaken we see within us something opening like a flower...We discover that we are not so bent on always knowing who we are. It's the experience that seems to matter most, the being, that we find of value. It seems as we let go of possessing experience and just let experience unfold, the flower opens more and more, the heart opens more and more. And we somehow feel that everything will be alright, that things are working out just as they are supposed to. It's painful sometimes, it's ecstatic sometimes, but somehow always perfect."

To me, this is the essence of life's journey, and is such a relief. When we let go of defining ourselves by our experiences, we can become fully present to them and experience both the highs and lows as perfection.

YCNYC: Who would you recommend this book to?

ENF: This book is required reading for all my meditation series students and all my 300-hour teacher training mentees. I would recommend it to anyone with a genuine desire to live fully in the perfection of the present moment.

YCNYC: What moment/part resonates with you the most?

ENF: I was drawn in by the preface written by Ram Dass. He says, "When my guru wanted to compliment me he called me simple; when he wished to chide me, he called me clever. This book about vipassana meditation is simple...It just is what is."

You can purchase A Gradual Awakening here.

—Interview by Allison Richard

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