Dharma Book Club: Braving the Wilderness


About This Group

The Frederick Dharma Book Club meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month from 8:35 to 9:45 pm EST. Each month the club will discuss a selected dharma related book that will open your mind and heart. Even if you have not read the book, please come and enjoy the evening. The discussion is open to all who are interested in learning more about the dharma and how these valuable teachings can make us more aware and bring more insight into our lives.

My goal for Book Club is to bring our mindfulness practice to what we read. Mindfulness can be practiced on the cushion, when we walk, when we talk. So, why not when we read? I am by no means an expert in the material we read, and won’t plan on “lecturing” about the material. My role is to be the river banks for our own investigation into the material and to learn from each other in a safe and secure environment.

In context of Mindfulness: As you read pay attention to what you like? what you don’t like and what you may gloss over? As you become aware of the feeling tones associated with the material, can you be aware of how you body reacts/responds? What thoughts or emotions arise? What stories do you tell yourself? What images do you recall? Bringing your mindfulness practice to what you read can be another doorway to watching how your mind works.

Our discussions during Book Club may revolve around these types of questions:

  • What resonated with you?
  • Was there a section that really stood out for you? (pleasant) Why?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What did you learn from the material?
  • Was there anything that really charged you up? (unpleasant)
  • Were there sections that you glossed over? (neutral)
  • When you reflect back on the above, what can you learn from this?
  • Can you think of ways to translate these lessons into your life?


Current Book: Brene Brown’s Braving the Wildnerness

“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, MSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.

Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”

Agenda (subject to change)

Oct 3 Chapters 1 and 2
Oct 17 Chapter 3
Nov 7 Chapter 4
Nov 21 Chapter 5
Dec 5 Chapter 6
Dec 19 Chapter 7


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Please Support This Class With Your Donation.

Teachers of donation-based classes are not paid a wage, but instead rely on donations from students for support.  Teachers in turn offer a donation to the Frederick Mediation Center. For less than a meal out, you can receive valuable teachings that will last a lifetime!

No one will be turned away for lack of funds. $20 Benefactor, $10 Sustainer, $5 Student/Scholarship.  Learn how your donation supports the Frederick Meditation Center and how we can serve any member of  the community regardless of financial means.


Future Books (under consideration)

David Rome’s The Body Knows the Answer
Tara Brach’s Radical Compassion
Tara Brach’s Trusting the Gold
Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness
Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection
Patricia McKernon Runkle’s Grief’s Compass


Past Books

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child
Thich Nhat Hanh’s Fear Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
Pema Chodron’s Practicing Peace in Times of War
Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh
Laurie Cameron’s The Mindful Day
Bhante Gunaratana’s Loving-Kindness in Plain English
Heather Stang’s Mindfulness & Grief
Sharon Salzburg’s Real Love
Josh Korda’s Unsubscribe
Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance
Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul
Bhante Wimala’s Lessons of the Lotus
Ursula LeGuin’s Tao Te Ching
Mark Nepo’s Drinking from the River of Light
Mark William’s The Mindful Way Through Depression
John Teasdale’s The Mindful Way Workbook
Resmaa Menakem’s My Grandmother’s Hands
Francis Weller’s The Wild Edge of Sorrow
Matt Licata’s The Path Is Everywhere
Martin Alyward’s Awake Where You Are
Stephanie Foo’s What My Bones Know
John Welwood’s Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships
Akwaeke Emezi’s Dear Senthuran



About Your Instructor

I began meditating in 2015 as a way to alleviate my depression and anxiety. Meditation, the Dharma and the Sangha have become foundations of my life. Mindfulness has taught me how to slow down, to not hold things too tight or too loose, and to truly be in-tune with my body. The ability to have present moment awareness, wisdom, compassion, and the courage to hold these felt-sense feelings can be transformational and liberating. Learn More About Ray Manyoky….

Tuesday, October 3, 2023
8:35 pm — 9:45 pm (1h 10′)


Ray Manyoky

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