Published: 17/01/2011 Psychology/spirituality

The Journey Home

The Journey Home

The Journey Home is a revised edition of my book The Beautiful Life, and it’s about attitudes; for who we are matters a great deal more than what we do. Our actions are determined by our spirit, and so it our spirit we must care for.

It was the Dalai Lama who said: “It is important to generate a good attitude, a good heart as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for yourself and others will come.” The Journey Home is my contribution to toward this happy homecoming, which is always now. As I say in the book when speaking about being present: “The past is stale bread, the future’s no bread, the present is fresh bread.”

The heart of the book is ten new commandments or ten helpful attitudes to develop within us. Here they are, baldly put:

  1. Be present
  2. Observe yourself
  3. Be nothing
  4. Flee attachment
  5. Transcend suffering
  6. Drop your illusions
  7. Prepare for truth
  8. Cease separation
  9. Know your soul
  10. Fear nothing

Because the book has been around a while, I am able to ask others to describe it for me, which I’m happier about. So here’s Stephen Poole in The Guardian:

‘As against the mimsily positive self-congratulation of the personal-development industry, Parke offers a rugged, spiky path of challenge and ridicule for what you might presently hold dear, expressed in a sympathetic, lucid style that mixes humane anecdote with deft borrowings from Buddhism or the Stoics. Throw away the “mask” of your personality, live in the present, observe yourself, and – as the martial artists say – “empty your cup”. Easy when it’s a cup of coffee; more difficult when it’s the cup of you.’

And here are some reactions from reviewers on Amazon:

‘Fabulous, clear, amusing, easy to read and gets right to the heart of How to live in your body and learn to love your life. Making it feel doable to change what we can change, now or later, accept what we can’t change, and be happy with the wisdom of knowing the difference.’

‘I have found, and continue to find, that this book gives me a tremendous lift each time I dip into it. It contains structures of the mind that really work for me.’ R. Coles, Colchester

‘This book is very special – but I only discovered that after I read it for the third time! The first reading was done from the head, with the intention of seeing what it was all about. At the second reading, I took each section and allowed time for reflection. After some weeks, I read it again and allowed it time to speak to the “inner me” which often gets ignored. All sorts of feelings emerged – some good and helpful, others less so, but for me and some of those with whom I have shared the book, this is an excellent tool for exploring how to be open and honest with oneself and taking life’s journey forward in a new way.’ Deep Wells, Somerset

‘I found this an unusually helpful book. I took it on a personal retreat… and found it a tremendous help in marshalling my thoughts. While it’s true that many of the truths and philosophies in this book are given only vaguely, I think this is an exciting and realistic way to have written – for the point is, they are truths, not debating points. Neither is it necessary for Parke to delineate Buddhism, Christianity etc., as he brings the fruits before each reader. Instead, he does what is really useful to me: he describes how each truth can bring us close to the beautiful life. I recommend this book for those wishing to take a spiritual journey. It’s not about what to believe, it’s about how to live. And in that sense, it brings us the very best of Christianity, and Buddhism and every other philosophy it touches on.’ Ross Mcgovern, Glasgow