Dharma Book Club: Perfect Love Imperfect Relationships


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

John Welwood’s Perfect Love Imperfect Relationship

A nationally known couples therapist reveals the single root cause of all relationship problems—and offers revolutionary advice on what to do about it.

While most of us have moments of loving freely and openly, it is often hard to sustain this where it matters most—in our intimate relationships. If love is so great and powerful, why are human relationships so challenging and difficult? If love is the source of happiness and joy, why is it so hard to open to it fully and let it govern our lives? In this book, John Welwood addresses these questions and shows us how to overcome the most fundamental obstacle that keeps us from experiencing love’s full flowering in our lives.

Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships begins by showing how all our relational problems arise out of a universal ‘wound of the heart’ that affects not only our personal relationships but the quality of life in our world as a whole. This core wound shows up as a pervasive mood of unlove—a deep sense that we are not intrinsically lovable just as we are. It shuts down our capacity to trust, so that even though we may hunger for love, we have difficulty opening to it and letting it circulate freely through us.

This book takes the reader on a powerful journey of healing and transformation that involves learning to embrace these imperfections—within ourselves and within our relationships—as trail-markers along the path to great love. It sets forth a process for releasing deep-seated grievances we hold against others for not loving us better and against ourselves for not being better loved. And it shows how our longing to be loved can magnetize the great love that will free us from looking to others to find ourselves.


Agenda (subject to change)

Jan 3: Introduction and Prologue

Jan 17: Chapter 1

Feb 7: Chapter 2

Feb 21: Chapter 3

Mar 7: Chapter 4

Mar 21: Chapter 5

Apr 4: Chapter 6


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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


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, April 4, 2023
8:35 pm — 9:45 pm (1h 10′)


Ray Manyoky

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