Original Love

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Book Cover from Original Love by Henry Shukman

336 pages
Publishing date: 07/09/2024


A manifesto, a map, and a manual, this essential guide for spirituality in the twenty-first century replaces the concept of original sin with original love as the true foundation of our life.

An increasing number of people today feel disconnected, disengaged, and lonely, while divisiveness is at an all time high. Many of us are seeking solace, for ourselves, loved ones and the wider world. Original Love is the secular spiritual handbook we need to ease our troubles. 

Renowned mindfulness teacher Henry Shukman provides a way forward based on four “inns” of practice —Mindfulness, Support, Absorption, and Awakening. Together, they lead to deep and fulfilling meditation for practitioners at all levels. And it works! Shukman includes personal anecdotes and inspiring stories from his students that reveal how it has transformed their lives.

Urgently needed, Original Love helps us create peace for ourselves and our times by

  • reducing stress, anxiety, and depression;
  • relaxing the mind and body;
  • easing feelings of worry and regret, anger and frustration;
  • improving decision-making and executive functioning;
  • and awakening to our true nature: unconditional love 

Finding a sense of love is a critical purpose of meditation. This book guides us back to the loving peace that lives at the center of things, which is Original Love itself.


“Henry Shukman shows us how to come home again. He’s been a teacher for me, opening doors of insight and inner freedom, and also a friend. Henry brings you into the immediacy of his own realization, his own experience of the real home that lives through each of us, breath after breath.”

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Buddha’s Brain, from the foreword



“This is one of the rare books destined to inspire new and seasoned meditators alike. Drawing on his own deep experience and years of teaching, Henry Shukman brings a lucid and refreshing cast to the fundamentals of practice, and reveals how the loving we yearn for is always, already here; love is intrinsic to what we are. Please gift yourself with this powerful, poetic, transformative guide to awakening our hearts.” — Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance

“Henry Shukman is one of the wisest and most poetical teachers of dharma we have today. In an increasingly fragmented world, he is unusually good company.” — Sam Harris, New York Times bestselling author of Waking Up and host of the Making Sense podcast

“This is a book the world has been waiting for—one that speaks clearly and eloquently to the reality of love as the foundational energy of this world. I can’t think of a more important project for humankind than all of us finding this love as matter of urgency. Of all the books on meditation I’ve read, none have so clearly laid out the finding of love as its central project. It’s a beautiful book, but more important, it’s one we all need, and we need it now.” — Richard Rohr, author of Falling Upward

“[Shukman’s] writing is gorgeous, funny, fascinating, and audacious.”  — Rick Hanson, bestselling author of Buddha’s Brain

“Henry Shukman has a natural, contagious and enlightened enthusiasm which his fine writing style carries so beautifully to the reader through every page. This is a book for breaking the spell of the ‘me’, not in the sense of erasing ourselves, but in taking the journey of awakening where we can come out from behind the surface, defended self and appear fully and transparently and even lovingly in this difficult world.” — David Whyte, author of Consolation and The Sea in You

“Original Love is a lively compendium of all you want to learn about meditation, mindfulness, suffering, non-suffering, joy, coming home and being whole. All that is in this book is hard-earned, on the ground, clearly explained. Shukman so much wants to share his understanding that you can feel the excitement and longing right in the center of the still page. This book is a great friend, one who tells the simple obvious truth that is right in front of our face. And on top of all this, Shukman knows how to write, like an angel.” — Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing on Empty and Three Simple Lines

“Henry is a masterful teacher. His insight, compassion and wisdom combine to provide some of the best meditation teaching out there.” — Kelly Boys, author of The Blind Spot Effect and Director of The Foundation for a Mindful Society and the Mindful Cities project

“Take a break. Fall in love with your life. Breathe in the rich fragrance of mindfulness as taught by a master Zen teacher who is also a superb poet. For beginning or advanced students of meditation, Henry Shukman will lead you seamlessly into your own original love for life as it is, and you as you are. Extraordinary in its freshness and replete with all kinds of wisdom, this book illuminates waking up naturally, aimlessly, in your own time. Enjoy it.” — Polly Young-Eisendrath, author of Love Between Equals and The Present Heart

“This book, like Henry himself, is wise and deep and filled with heartfelt meditation advice and beautiful, powerful stories. You will be very glad that you’ve read it.” — Michael Taft, author of The Mindful Geek

“A fascinating and beautiful contribution to the world of meditation by an adept in the practice.” — Roshi Joan Halifax, abbot and founder of Upaya Zen Center

Henry Shukman
Henry Shukman- logo
Zen Teacher, Author, Poet.