Jack Kornfield is one of the foremost meditation teachers in the world. As a psychologist and founder of two of the largest Buddhist communities in America, he has helped spread the word about mindfulness. His books, including A Path with Heart and The Wise Heart have sold over a million copies and been translated into 21 languages. He speaks at retreats, conferences, and events around the world. Our profile of his work is included in the Living Spiritual Teachers Project.
Kornfield is a believer in trust as an empowering force in our lives. Despite our suffering and being overwhelmed by problems, we have within us the capacity to be renewed. Or as he puts it: "Hardship and loss are the graduate school of trust; they teach us survival and a freedom that is unshakable."
Kornfield presents many simple spiritual practices, adding in teachings to help you find this experience in your everyday life. Here is an example:
"Take inspiration from those who live with trust, those with a positive spirit even in hard times.
"Here's how: bring to mind a few people you know who inspire you with their trust.
"Notice what it is like when a person lives with trust instead of anxiety. See how they carry themselves. Sense the uplifting effect they have on others. Envision yourself becoming more trusting like them. Picture moving through your day with confidence and trust, relaxed and present.
"Now, remember the times you have felt your own healthy sense of trust, confidence and strength, a love that was not afraid. This trust is within you. Wise trust is not naïve, it sees clearly that some people are not trustworthy, but this does not destroy the overall spirit of trust. It is trust in yourself and life itself.
"Invite your trust to grow, live with it.
"Trust is the gateway to happiness."
Living in the here and now offers a gateway to freedom, peace, and mystery. Kornfield quotes a Tibetan poet:
"One hand on the beauty of the world,
One hand on the suffering of all beings,
And two feet grounded in the present moment."
Making the most of freedom is one of the great challenges of life, and it can lead to following our heart's values and leaning into the wind, or it can result in a close encounter with mistakes that can tutor us in greater self-tenderness. Kornfield states that every life is "a visionary journey, a creative palette."
No Time Like the Present opens our hearts and minds to the glorious freedom that is our birthright and which animates us to service. Near the end of the book, the author quotes Clarissa Pinkola Estes: "Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching to mend the part that is within our reach."