The Worst Book Promotion EverMay 15, 2021
Hello Commune Community,
Despite my highfalutin bloviating and grandiose word selection, I loathe self-promotion. So, it’s with the meekest squeak that I announce the release of my new book, Communion. I wouldn’t deem it a launch exactly, as that conjures extravagant imagery of rockets bound for Mars. The publication of Communion feels more like a quotidian surprise and delight – akin to coming upon your favorite threadbare t-shirt that slipped behind the dryer last month. If you read this newsletter with any frequency, then you will discover the book itself bares the musk of an oft-worn chemise — as it is a compendium of all the essays I have published here over the course of 2020.
I owe you all a great debt, albeit interest-free, for, unequivocally, I would have never penned this tome without your encouragement and occasional criticism. Though I do my damn best to eschew it, my ego requires a healthy mix of adulation and critique – and you have generously provided both.
These compiled missives are reflections of my subjective experience – specifically how I perceived the wicked and indelible happenings of 2020. But what I discovered over the course of penning these essays was that the moment they found shelter in your inboxes, they ceased to be mine. You brought your own lived experience, your brilliance and biases, insights and outlooks to these weekly musings. This is what makes creative expression so fascinating. A single book, when shared, becomes thousands.
One of our principal missions at Commune has been to bridge personal and societal well-being. That vision sounds damn good when delivered in an elevator or on a Zoom call – as I’ve done countless times – but what do I mean really?
Three years ago, when Commune was a mere speck on a pinhead, I asked myself, “What the heck is well-being?” In the commodified West, it has so often taken the form of green juice and calisthenic-ready lycra. And, don’t misunderstand, I gulp down the most repulsive green-turmeric concoction imaginable every morning. And while I won’t publicly admit to wearing a spandex onesie, my drawers are stuffed with their fair share of lululemon. But it occurred to me that this postcard depiction of wellness was profoundly incomplete.
Any rigorous examination of well-being includes a shadow inquiry into the nature of suffering. And one need not strain their eyes to witness the myriad forms of suffering permeating humanity. Stress, anxiety, distraction, craving, addiction, feelings of inadequacy, fear of judgment and nightmarish fantasies of our own projection conspire to inflame our body-minds.
If the human condition can be understood as the aggregate of billions of little decisions then the inflammation on circus display in our broader society can be seen as a reflection of widespread personal dis-ease.
Buddha prescribed a pathway out of suffering. I almost don’t want to type the word “meditation” as it automatically invokes the aroma of wafting frankincense and the distant sound of saffron-clad monks raking pea gravel. In reality, the practice of being non-judgmentally conscious of phenomena arising moment to moment is simply an inquiry into the nature of one’s mind such that greater insight is revealed. While this simple action cannot solve all of humanity’s ills, it can certainly propel us toward greater serenity, happiness, compassion and social coherence.
It is in this context that I have taken the opportunity, as part of this Commune, to regularly excavate perennial ontological and epistemological riddles like … Who am I? What is the nature of consciousness? Why do I suffer? Am I enough? Do we have free will? What is the true signature of love? And how do we find meaning in grief? Whether or not you’ve previously considered these conundra as part of your well-being, I imagine you’ve grappled with more than one of them.
And, to be clear, I don’t see these inquests as separate in any manner from the thornier societal issues that require mindful and meticulous dissection. Perhaps you’ve wondered why I am intruding on your Sunday brunch with screeds on COVID, income inequality, social polarization, racial justice, misinformation and social media when maybe you just came here for sun salutations? Well, if these aforementioned issues have not impacted your well-being over the past year then you are either lucky, confused or perhaps a one-named Guru.
And if you happen to be mononymous like Plato, Buddha, Sting, Elvis, Sadhguru, Amma, Madonna, Oprah or Beyonce, please divulge how one qualifies for such an exalted status. Despite deficiency of talent, I want to apply – if only to enhance this anemic book promotion.
But, seriously, the prescient societal issues that are facing us need to be investigated with the same rigor with which we examine our own mind – if only because that is where we experience them. If we can better understand our salient problems through diligent inquiry and thoughtful discourse, then the fear, loneliness and disconnection that they breed will begin to dissipate.
If we can cease to react to our judgment of events and, instead, respond to the events themselves, then we can apply reason and empathy to addressing them. In examining socio-political issues, we must try to pop the balloon of outrage that has stretched us thin and pushed us to the edges. I believe we can stand outside the invective and forge the middle path, not as limp conciliation but as radical compassion.
In this new book, I have attached writing exercises to the essays. Evocations for contemplation and exhortations for discomfort. Who really wants to write about their father or their fears or loss? But, of course, through the arduous work of self-examination and expression, the inner marine layer burns off. Writing is akin to meditation. It is a process of discovering what is already true.
Putting pen to paper is among the most potent personal development tools at our disposal. When you dispense of distraction and immerse into flow state, the vacillations of space, time, location and form become quite irrelevant. You are as writing. The illusion of a stable self dissolves as you bob down the river of your own creativity, freed by the everlasting now. Unwittingly, you emerge from it wiser and lighter, if slightly malodorous.
It’s been a great honor to share my Sundays with you. I am profoundly grateful. I am always here at [email protected] and ranting regularly on IG @jeffkrasno.
Purchase a book if you can afford one. But, it is no matter. You’ve contributed something more precious: your time and attention.
In love, include me,
• • •
Limited Edition Book Release
Communion by Jeff Krasno
2020 and the Middle Path Back To Reason, Morality, and Each Other.
What began as a series of heartfelt messages to the Commune community at the beginning of the pandemic evolved throughout 2020 into a collection of profound essays and personal stories filled with wisdom on the current and timeless. This book is an exclusive, small-print-run collection of those essays alongside all-new reflection exercises and meditations. An e-book is also available.
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