Joan Tollifson


I have come to know Joan on Facebook and in her books as a particularly honest woman, who writes about her happy and open moments as well as her more dark and sad sides. She seems to be more inclusive and less critical of today's "spiritual" culture than Robert and Shiv, but still manages to separate the wheat from the chaff very well. Joan on Facebook:

"In Buddhism, they say, "If you meet the Buddha on the road (i.e. outside yourself), kill him." Or as my friend Robert Saltzman likes to say, "Find your own mind." We so easily assume that others must know more, or be wiser, more awake, more developed, or whatever than we are. We are deeply conditioned to look "out there" (to experts, authorities, gurus, writings, etc...) for answers, and to trust those who we think have something we don't (or else rebel against them, which is just the mirror image of the same phenomenon).

Of course there is room for humility, for acknowledging what we don't know, for allowing others to help us, and for learning from others. I am not advocating a false egalitarianism or saying that we should throw all experts, teachers, and teachings out the window and reinvent the wheel. But at some point that is exactly what we need to do - we need to stand alone and be true to our own spirit, our own vision, our own explorations and discoveries. Because ultimately no one else can do this for us, and each of us has a unique path and a unique vision. No one else knows what we need. And no one has the one true answer, the one right way.

This has been one of the hardest things for me to fully fathom, finding and trusting my own mind. And sometimes it doesn't happen that I stand alone and am the unflinching naked reality of this moment, exactly as it is. The search for some kind of definitive explanation, a safety or certainty, an authoritative truth is deeply addictive.


  • Joan Tollifson, Death. The end of self-improvement
  • Joan Tollifson, Nothing to Grasp
  • Joan Tollifson, Painting the sidewalk with water
  • More books here

Links: Joan Tollifson