K. Picken Reply to on 30 September 2013
|I have just finished my first reading of Joan Tollifson's two books, "Painting The Sidewalk With Water" and "Nothing To Grasp". I am sure that I will make many more readings of these two excellent works. My review relates to both books.
This is highly intelligent and mature writing and is obviously the outcome of many years of investigation, attention and insight. The author has very conscientiously summarized the key declarations of radical non-duality but she has gone much further than this. Her particular skill lies in understanding and addressing the many twists and turns of the everyday mind as it grapples with its mental fog. A common statement that she makes in response to a question is, "Do you see the joke in this question?" - She does this when she spots the very common practice that her questioner has of trying to self-improve or to grasp an insight that they have made a conceptual object of. There are innumerable comments from her that tease out the dualistic and egotistical strivings of the typical seeker.
Her comments are often dazzlingly fresh and arresting; indeed they can even be a little shocking, yet all the more effective for that. There is an autobiographical element in the books and, for the most part, she keeps this in balance. However, in "Nothing To Grasp" there is one chapter that I found to be a little pedestrian, perhaps because of its contrast with the brilliant stuff that preceded it. The chapter is entitled "Choice And Choicelessness" - the title was very promising. This chapter is almost entirely autobiographical and, although it was mildly interesting per se, I felt that it detracted from the main thrust of the book.
I read these books on my Kindle and found myself making a huge number of highlights and notes; I sometimes felt as though I was highlighting the whole page! I am tempted in this review to quote from the book but, frankly there are so many superb quotes that all I can say is, if you have an earnest wish to understand consciousness, mindfulness and, of course, Non-Duality, then get hold of both of these books; they are superb.