Dharma Book Club
The South Bay InsightLA Dharma Book Club is a way for our community to connect through a common interest in books that inspire and enrich our meditation and mindfulness practices.
Join us for our next meeting
Wednesday, February 21
12:00 - 1:00 pm
Moderated by Annette Lombardi
How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole
About Dharma Book Club Meetings
Take a break and join us for a lunch-time get together to talk about books and authors who have written about the Dharma in a variety of genres. Each book will be covered in a single meeting. On occasion, authors will be guest speakers at our meditation practice groups after our book club meeting. Please sign up below to receive a reminder and a Zoom link the day before our meeting. Participation in the discussion is optional for those who would prefer just to read our book selection or listen to comments. All are welcome!
About our Book Selection
"Bittersweetness is a tendency to states of longing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute awareness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. It recognizes that light and dark, birth and death—bitter and sweet—are forever paired. Cain shows how a bittersweet state of mind is the quiet force that helps us transcend our personal and collective pain, whether from a death or breakup, addiction or illness. If we don’t acknowledge our own heartache, she says, we can end up inflicting it on others via abuse, domination, or neglect. But if we realize that all humans know—or will know—loss and suffering, we can turn toward one another. At a time of profound discord and personal anxiety, Bittersweet brings us together in deep and unexpected ways…."
From the Publisher
“Susan Cain’s Bittersweet grabs you by the heart and doesn’t let go. I’ve thought about the depth and beauty in Cain’s research and storytelling every day since I finished the book. I will always be grateful for how much Quiet and Bittersweet have helped me understand myself and how I engage with the world.”
Brené Brown, Ph.D.
“Bittersweet is astonishing—one of the most gracefully written, palpably human books I’ve read in years. Its powerful case will reshape how you think about yourself and those you love. Its sheer beauty will linger in your heart long after you turn the final page.”
Daniel H. Pink
“This is the rare book that doesn’t just open your eyes—it touches your heart and sings to your soul. Susan Cain gave a voice to introverts, and now she masterfully paints our heaviest emotions in a light that’s long overdue. Bittersweet is the perfect cure for toxic positivity and a sparkling ode to the beauty of the human condition.”
Learn more about the author, Susan Cain, by visiting her website. There you will find her biography, her blog, courses, a playlist of music, the Bittersweet Quiz, videos, and more.
One of the most powerful vignettes in Bittersweet is about the violinist who played Albiononi's Adagio in G Minor in the streets of Sarajevo while the city was under siege in 1992. At Cain's TED Talk about Bittersweet, Min Kym, a violinist who was also featured in the book, plays the same music. Watch as she talks about her inspiration to write the book and what she learned about how longing creates the momentum to act in compassionate ways.
Read an excerpt of Bittersweet on the publisher's website. For fans of our Dharma Book Club selection, Awe, this excerpt will be especially interesting because it is Cain's account of Dacher Keltner. It reveals how Keltner's own melancholy informed his insights into the value of sadness for fostering interpersonal connections that help us thrive in life.
Cain writes in Bittersweet about learning loving-kindness meditation from Sharon Salzberg. You can hear about her experience and listen to one of her meditations in a short recording.
"Bittersweet Teachings" is PDF from Cain's website that summarizes the major themes of the book. We posted it here, so even if you do not read the book, you can download the document and share your reflections on these insights at our meeting!