Thursday, May 23, 2019

THIS (TOTR Podcast 2)

The Teacher On The Radio podcast is back. In this episode, we are joined by James Gribble Jr. to discuss the new book by Michael Gungor, called THIS. 

Listen to our audio:

Order the book:

Notes on the book in the context of this conversation, from our guest James:
A couple of notes for everyone else. Andrew and I spent more time talking about our reactions to "This" than talking about the book itself. There are a few things that I don’t know if we pointed out, but I want to make sure get said.

First, what is Michael even on about in “This”?
Michael has come to embrace the Buddha’s “Four Noble Truths”, which he articulates as:
1. Life Is Suffering
Suffering is inherent to life as a human.

2. Suffering Is the Attachment to Desire 
Neither desire nor pain are suffering. Suffering is aversion to pain (sweating is suffering on the factory floor, but not on the basketball court) and attachment to desire (not “I seek The Thing,” but “I will never be whole until The Thing”).

3. The End of Clinging Is the End of Suffering 
“What heights of love / What depths of peace / When fears are stilled / When strivings cease”

4. The Way
The path to “enlightenment” is to let go of attachment to desire, even the desire to be “enlightened”.

“This” is Michael’s story of coming to an awareness of each of these truths.

Second, the title “This”, comes from the contrast he draws between “This” and “that”. “This” is the present reality one is experiencing. Part of that reality is the fact that one is not an individual one, but part of a larger whole which includes everything that exists. Because of our perspective, we see ourselves as individual waves that exist separate from, but in relation to, an ocean. But in reality, we are ocean making waves and a wave without an ocean is just a puddle of water. Likewise, we experience life in the past and the future through our imaginations, but the only time we actually get to live is in the present. If we can accept those facts, then we can come to accept “This” for what it is and we won’t have to suffer through our attachments to desires that “This” be some other “that” which it is not.

Finally, I can't stress enough how great a job they did with both the Audible audio-book and with the paperback! I highly suggest both, or at least grabbing the audio-book and reading along on Kindle (It does it automatically with Amazon's "Whispersync" tool built in to Kindle). But the paperback is a real treat for the aesthetically sensitive among us.

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