A Soldier's Spiritual Journey in Iraq
by Paul M. Kendel
Publication Date, April 2011
RELIGION / Buddhism / General
RELIGION / Spirituality
MILITARY / Veterans
6 x 9, 320 pages
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Paul M. Kendel (SSG Ret.) deployed with his National Guard unit out of Georgia to Iraq in 2005 hoping to use his knowledge of that land to bridge the gap between American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. However, the realities of war crushed his idealism when his buddies began dying at the hands of the enemy six weeks after their arrival. Eventually, his ongoing concern for the Iraqi people alienated some of his comrades, and he felt the sting of growing conflict within himself.
Turning to the books on Buddhist teachings he had brought with him,
he found solace in the written words, but he longed for more. On a whim, he
emailed Shambhala International & requested assistance. An unexpected response & ongoing support from Buddhist teacher & meditation instructor Margot Neuman helped him to retain a sane & humble humanity in a situation that often plummeted into lethal insanity.
This book addresses the horrors of war from an extraordinary human perspective. SSG. Kendel did not lose his compassion in the face of grave risk, nor did he endanger fellow soldiers while he remained true to himself—rare feats in our violent world.
What People are Saying
Sergeant Kendel has shown great conviction while faced with the brutality of human aggression, constantly using compassion and a meditative mind. He was therefore on the front line of applying contemplative discipline. This book reveals that extraordinary journey.
—Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Author
Turning the Mind Into an Ally and Ruling Your World
Amid the chaos and horror of war, this soldier has discovered a profound truth: if we want suffering to lessen, the first step is learning that keeping the cycle of aggression going doesn’t help.”
—From Practicing Peace in Times of War, by Pema Chodron
Buddhism is well known for its emphasis on non-violence. Less known, but as important for our modern age, is its wisdom on how to meet and transform the poison of violence, no matter how egregious. Paul Kendel discovered these teachings, not in a classroom or as bedside reading, but on the battlefield of Iraq in 2005 where he put them into action with jaw-dropping gentleness, intelligence, and courage.
Whether you're about to deploy to a foreign country or are simply searching for real tools to deal with the fear, anger, and violence within and around you, this book provides a vivid and courageous guide to changing your world.
—Susan Piver, Author
The Wisdom of a Broken Heart