A Spacious Life
‘Meditation and mindfulness are tools for working with the mind, but where they have led me is to a blossoming of the heart . . .’
What does a spiritual seeker look like? Could you pick one in a lineup? If you said yes,chances are you weren’t imagining this meditating model.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Narissa Doumani grew up well loved, well educated, and (reasonably) well dressed, but for years grappled with what she admits is ‘the ultimate first world problem’: how to be truly, deeply happy in any lasting way. In this intimate memoir, she explores the creative process, traverses the heights of romantic love and the despair of self-doubt, and comes face to face with her own fragile mortality. But it’s in a cave in a Thai forest, where she meets the Buddhist yogi who will become her spiritual guide, that she learns to unravel the messy states of mind and heart that had kept her from living a spacious life—and thereby begins to uncover the happiness, meaning, and connection for which she always yearned.
A Spacious Life is a heart-warming, honest, and at times surprisingly humorous look into the quest for meaning beyond materialism—and its relevance as an essential condition for well-being and fulfilment within modern-day life.
When Narissa Doumani asked her teacher Luang Pu, the Thai forest yogi, whether it was ok for her to write of her experiences relating to the Buddhist path, he approved. But he added one condition: ‘You must let your meditation guide your writing. Then you will know within yourself what to write and what not to write.’ It was advice she took to heart; she took her time, five years in all, to complete A Spacious Life.
The initial inspiration for the book came from the many conversations she’d had with people hungry for deeper knowledge.
‘You’re always so happy and peaceful,’ they said, oftentimes surprised to find out it wasn’t because the circumstances of her life were perfect. In fact, some aspects of her life at the time were downright challenging. They wanted to know how they, too, could be happier, more at peace. But most didn’t truly believe it was possible. And so by and large they insisted there was something special about her, something that they could never hope to attain.
That kind of thinking runs contrary to the Buddhist understanding of training the mind.
So Narissa set about collating some of her experiences on the path, hoping to shed light on how any current peace and happiness she experienced was only the fruit of a dedicated practice. Now she candidly shares the details of learning to uncover the natural ‘spacious’ quality of mind, a quality she invites all to seek within themselves, authentically and courageously.
A spacious life—a life of unfolding love, compassion, clarity, and wisdom—is not for a privileged few to enjoy. It is something any of us can experience when we learn the art of working with the mind and opening the heart. Find out more about Narissa’s story here.
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