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This is a charming memoir from the author’s early college years, when he stumbled onto a yoga class elective that, in turn, led him to a decade-long spiritual quest to heal recurring colitis and other maladies. It’s easy to be swept along with the author’s fresh, humorous, and unapologetic revealing of his own foibles, and you think that you’re just having a lighthearted romp through someone's adventures and misadventures. But it slowly dawns on you how deeply yoga and the other spiritual practices (such as Ayurveda) that Leaf has pursued have not only healed him physically, but emotionally as well. His journey, ultimately, becomes one of true awakening to himself as he heals and learns to become more comfortable in his own skin—relaxed, authentic, and happier. And then you realize that through his quirky tales, inspiration has been taking up residence in your own cells: health and vitality seems quite ordinary and attainable, if you have the desire and commitment to it. This is an easy and agreeable read with an unexpected bonus: a subtle but powerful undercurrent guiding you to your own awakening and well-being.
Why Moral Psychology Just Might Change the World
Jonathan Haidt's book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion contains powerful insights that just might change the world. Haidt is a moral psychologist who gains insights into people's moral priorities by traveling to different countries and regions and asking intentionally disturbing questions in order to comprehend otherwise inexplicable matters--such as why in certain cultures it is considered horrible for a widow to eat fish.
One of the biggest ideas presented in Haidt's book has to do with the way logic follows intuition in all humans, rather than the other way around. While people frequently assume we are being reasonable and behaving rationally, research studies show that humans actually lean in the direction of our emotional gut feelings from our subconscious first... and once we start leaning one way or another, our rational minds busy themselves to come up with explanations why our preferred particular direction makes so much sense. This wouldn't be much of a problem if we all tended to lean the same direction as one another, thus tending to generally agree, but it can present difficulties when individuals or groups of individuals all start emotionally leaning one way or another and then disagreeing regarding rational reasons for why that direction is better than others.
Haidt outlines something called Moral Foundations Theory in his book, in such a way that shows how people from different cultures around the world identify to varying degrees with several basic foundations of morality. These are a bit like tastes, so just as some people might have a "sweet tooth" and others prefer salty or sour, people also show preferences and varying degrees of identifying with the six basic foundational pillars of morality: Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Liberty/Oppression, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sanctity/Degradation. I've been thinking about these pillars of morality ever since reading the book, noticing when I run across them as they are utilized in emotional arguments with friends, family, and in the media.
Intriguingly, these moral foundations illuminate similarities in viewpoints of members of groups who share concern about Care/Harm and Fairness/Cheating (Liberals)... and the study of moral psychology thus illuminates reasons great rifts can sometimes occur between Liberals who presume Conservatives do not share their same concerns with regard to Care/Harm and Fairness/Cheating, when studies show Conservatives do care about these things... in addition to all the other elements of moral foundation, and perhaps a bit less than some. What a revelation this is! When we understand that some people respond more quickly and passionately to certain moral appeals than others, with everyone coming up with perfectly rational explanations for why they are correct, it's no small wonder we have such rifts between differing religious and political groups everywhere.
So how does a better knowledge of moral psychology help in healing social rifts, such as those we may find around the holiday dinner table this year? Haidt explains that learning how people have initial intuitive leanings and viewpoints about things as being good or bad so they subsequently create logical support for them can be extremely important, in order that we can better respect that feelings are the primary driving force. Jonathan Haidt recommends that when we really want to understand someone from a different viewpoint or culture, we do well to listen with open hearts, following a sense of sacredness. This is excellent advice for deep listening in general, as deep listening truly is the best way to show respect to others, and bridge gaps between ourselves and others.
Highly recommended for any student of psychology, philosophy, political science, political history, logic, communications, journalism, religious studies and religious history... and every single citizen who votes.
Rolling Thunder was a medicine man, visionary, activist and teacher who rose to fame in the 60’s and 70’s through his friendships with Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart. Devoted to preserving Native American traditions, Rolling Thunder drew on his knowledge of animal powers and nature to “doctor” others and the planet. He warned of global warming well before our current scientists got wind of it, and taught the necessity of restoring balance to ourselves first in order to save the earth. Now the wisdom of Rolling Thunder is available for all, gleaned from never-before-released talks in his own words, and stories from those who knew him well.
Stanley Krippner, co-author of the book, will give a presentation at East West on November 27.
Beyond The Power of The Subconscious Mind, by C. James Jensen, is a masterful update and important addition to the classic work of Dr. Joseph Murphy's original landmark book which created the foundation for Omega Seminars. In the foreword by Dr. Lee Pulos, the essence of this philosophy is clearly summarized: "We create what we focus or concentrate on, and our beliefs are largely responsible for the areas in which we focus most attention. Our experiences then will follow our focus, beliefs, expectations and intention".
Expanding on Murphy's great creation is no small undertaking, but Jensen has done an admirable job. Again quoting Dr. Pulos, Jensen's update has included "..integrating current neuroscience, psychological theory and research". Jensen illuminates the three aspects of manifestation as "desire", "expectation" and "imagination", which is in perfect harmony with the teachings of Neville Goddard and every other great thinker who has dared to challenge the prevailing trends of entrenched mainstream science and psychology, i.e., we are the product of our genes and/or socialization.
The work of C. James Jensen offers practical techniques and formulas for application in every area of life but most importantly, this book supports the principle that we can create our destiny by mastering our inner life. This is the golden key to freedom. Beyond The Power of The Subconscious Mind is an excellent book for thoroughly understanding and using this key to create a magnificent life for ourselves and our world.
Visions of heaven and dialogues with beings in other dimensions used to be considered the realm of mystics or psychotics; but when eminent doctors, scientists, businessmen, astronauts and people from every walk of life brave ridicule to tell their stories, even the most confirmed skeptic may start to suspect something real is happening. JD Messinger is aptly named, for his messages about our essential nature as beings of light and manifestors of the physical world around us are carefully and scientifically reasoned. Armed with credentials that stretch from Annapolis to boardrooms and halls of power around the world, Messinger describes the intellectual, physical and emotional journey that led to his spiritual awakening.
His book is a collection of profound and often amusing dialogues with an unseen being that “wrote itself” during eleven days in May.
An unusual person by any yardstick, his inquiring mind asked the most challenging questions about the nature of reality, like what is death and what is the purpose of our lives; what is God and how is the physical world brought into existence; how the world of light generates and envelops the world of form. The answers are coherent and never superficial, provoking a lot of reflection on the part of the reader. It is intensely satisfying when you can add another insight to the mosaic of your own understanding of the universe, and this book is full of them.
I was reminded of the scene from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” where Indy’s faith is tested as he prepares to step out over a chasm. It is a leap of faith for most of us to believe in a Creator and trust that there is a purpose in our lives. Books like “11 Days in May” are like the sand that Indy threw out over the path to outline the steppingstones across the fearsome void.
Are we living a life that has been predetermined for us by a Higher Power, or are we solely responsible for the events, choices, and decisions we make every day? Author Marie D. Jones does a magnificent job of digging deeply into the scientific, religious, philosophical, and spiritual evidence that supports one, or both, sides of this argument in her latest book Destiny vs Choice. While maintaining a balanced, objective approach in her analysis, she presents these seemingly arduous theories in a practical way, even including personal stories of destiny and free will that clearly demonstrate both sides of the destiny/free will coin. Touching on topics such as quantum physics, evolution, ghosts, and after-life experiences, Marie wittingly weaves a vast amount of information and research into this easy to read book.
As a firm believer in destiny and synchronicities, I was really excited to read Destiny vs Choice and the evidence supporting the idea of free will. I was surprised to find such a balance of information on both sides of the argument as I have succumbed to the idea that this is no “either/or” issue as much as it is a combination of the two. This book is a compelling introduction to the extensive evidence supporting both destiny and choice at work in our lives. Of course, after reading it, you may still believe in either fate or free will, and that’s your choice. Or is it?
11 DAYS IN MAY is a stunning work of inspiration and intellectual craftsmanship that could only be created from someone who is Awake. JD Messinger is that unique and rare combination of scientist and visionary. Capable of seeing deeply into both the worlds of form and Light, Messinger has articulated that wisdom in a dialogue format (full of good humor and charming wit), and offered us a breathtakingly clear perspective on our contemporary world. I'm confident this book will stand the test of time, making 11 DAYS IN MAY a classic work of originality, profound insight and unveiled truth.
The final paragraph is, in my opinion, a brilliant summary of where we are and where we're going, in terms of evolutionary development:
"... the global shift is the convergence of science and faith. Tens of millions of people around the world are awakening to the realization that these two terms are one in the same subjects but seen differently when viewed from inside or outside the box. The Internet has helped the world to realize that you are all one, not just in form, but also in light."
If you are a semi-serious reader, who is seeking anecdotes about prophecy and some handy exercises and questions to prepare you as a prophet or as a ‘fortune-teller’, than I would suggest that you start reading this book around Chapter III. If you are a graduate student, and your research is about oracles, Delphi, Nordic traditions, Celtic rituals, or Wicca than you should start reading at Chapter One. But this is a serious, in-depth book, and it is not for the casual reader who is a “little bit interested” in prophecy and divination. There are practical elements to the book, a lot of history and research, and many anecdotes, but this is not an easy book to read or absorb.
If you have ever had a session with a psychic, a witch, or an oracle, and you wondered how they gained their answer or reading, than this book will give you a lot of insight into what is going on behind the reading. Have you ever have wondered if you possess any skills that would allow you to give readings for others? Some of the anecdotes, questions, and exercises shared in the second half of the book will be very helpful in developing your skills and abilities. But the first sixty pages of the book are fairly boring and probably only of interest to the very serious and those interested in the historical traditions of prophets. So, this book has a pretty limited audience, and few readers will probably get past the opening chapters. If you were taking a class about Wicca or the paranormal in a university setting, this book might make the reading list, but it is not the kind of book one would dive into for a little ‘light’ reading.
By the end of the book, I felt probably less ‘faith’ in prophets or seers than I did before reading the book. I realized that beyond all the ritual, the history, the tradition--that the success of prophecy really comes down to the interpretative skills and the insight and intelligence of the oracle. I began to understand that ‘readings’ require both skill and training, and that a gift for prophecy is not all that is involved in giving a powerful reading for a client. One fact that was interesting was Ms. Paxson’s repeated observation that the ‘need’ of the questioner and the community support of those involved in the reading may, in fact, lead to much more powerful and helpful readings. I was also struck by the author’s insight that many readings probably provide ‘wrong’ information based on the conditional nature of free will that makes any possible future event open to many factors that make the art of prediction very weak at times. However, I appreciated the depth of candor that the author shares about her training, her own history with clients and questioners, and passing on some of the traditions that she calls upon in her work.
I would not recommend this book to the average reader.
Mystic Journey by Robert Atkinson is a fantastic book about journeying to the soul and getting in touch with our deeper selves from a multi-faith perspective. It is a journey that we do not take alone as there are universal motifs, archetypes, and patterns from our sacred traditions that can help us to discover who we truly are.
Atkinson shows great insight in helping readers to understand that soul-making is an eternal journey. We can shift our current perspective to allow us to remember who we are at our innermost depth, letting universal motifs and patterns be our guide and comfort, and cultivating the qualities and values at the heart of our common spiritual heritage. Written with clarity and inspiration, this book shines a light on one of the most meaningful journeys we can take.
The book is structured in three parts to help us along our soul-making spiritual path. The structure is easy to follow and deals with each of the developmental steps in turn. Part one is about remembering who we are. Part two details how we can re-vision our lives within a timeless pattern and part three leads us onto to considering how to reclaim our common spiritual heritage. Each part contains insightful practices and reflections in order for us to tune into our inner thoughts.
Robert Atkinson, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized authority in helping people tell their life stories and he is also professor of human development and religious studies at the University of Southern Maine. Drawing on his years of experience, Atkinson states "Life is tough, but the existence of (a) timeless pattern ensures that we will persist in the developmental way we are designed to, despite difficulties, in order to continue to grow". This book is all about growth at our deepest, most meaningful level and is a recommended read for all those wanting to take their spiritual journey a step further.
If you aren’t familiar with Jean Houston, then your allow me to introduce you to one of the most preeminent figures in the human potential movement—in fact she and her husband (who passed in 2008) are considered to be the principal founders of the contemporary potential movement, and together they founded The Foundation for Mind Research.
Jean’s life, and her life’s work, seems larger than life, which is perhaps why she is so well-suited for her profound teaching of cross-cultural, mythic and spiritual studies, “dedicated to teaching history, philosophy, the New Physics, psychology, anthropology, and the many dimensions of human potential.” She has worked closely with such visionaries as Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, Edgar Mitchell, Buckminster Fuller, Joseph Campbell, Margaret Mead, the Dalai Lama, and has been an advisor to the United Nations, Hillary Clinton, John Lennon, and has brought her teaching to more than 40 different cultures, as well as social leaders, educational institutions and business organizations worldwide. …Did I mention she is an extraordinary storyteller—complete with flawless accents and impressions? Not surprising when she has such incredible stories to tell.
This backstory (and there is so much more I could say) seems a necessary preamble to review this 2-CD set of inspiring stories by Jean and from her life, since her life cannot be separated from her work. Both the content and delivery is animated, will keep you fully engaged and entertained, and will inspire you to forge a deeper connection with your own inner states of consciousness where your highest creative activity resides. She evocatively weaves past with future, and imagination with truth, into the work of personal and global transformation: an aligning of the human spirit, potential, and action, with the the complexities of this time. My only critique is that it ended all too soon.
Author Shaeri Richards has created the perfect combination of spirituality, psychology, and mystic truth to explain the process of self-love from the inside out. She takes readers on a quest of self-discovery that delves deep into the soul and encourages us to practice dancing with our dragon in acceptance, awareness, and unconditional love. Through the various practices she outlines throughout the book, such as connecting with angels, utilizing our magic mirror, and cutting the cords that bind, Shaeri offers many ways for us to not only reconnect with our inner being, but to reconnect with the Divine and transform our lives from self-loathing to self-loving.
Dancing With Your Dragon is a powerful book of transformation and profound wisdom, along with practical exercises to change not only how you view yourself, but how you view others as well. It reminds us that we are all part of the Divine, and when we learn to embrace the dragon inside we can transform our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies and return to a life of love and happiness.
I generally view “shortcuts” to anything with healthy skepticism; perhaps because I believe that anything worth having is worth waiting for. But for others like me who may have a similar prejudice toward “shortcuts,” allow me to assure you that this book is far more substantial than the title might suggest. Through her work as a psychotherapist and grief counselor, the author discovered that her often spontaneous ideas for shortcuts resulted in the client success rate skyrocketing — meaning, that they would be able to actually follow up to the session using the shortcut that had been “assigned" to them. More so, the success rate was measured in how well clients were able to disrupt their stress-related unconscious thought patterns and habitual reactions, and stay more grounded and calm.
Each of the 70 different stress triggers identified in this book is followed with a brief and honest true story — a tool — demonstrating how to derail habituated stress patterns. And as is the nature of story-telling, this effortlessly drives home the awareness and message for achieving well-being. In fact, “shortcuts are meant to happen so naturally that you can’t help but use them,” says the author. Beginning with personal well-being and branching out to universal, innate inner peace, there is sure to be something that strikes a chord for everyone in this thoughtful and useful book.
Bernstein has developed a six-week “mind cleanse” plan that shifts thought patterns from fear to love, drawing heavily from the core principles of "A Course in Miracles." May Cause Miracles is, accordingly, divided into six chapters, one for each week of the plan. The author guides readers through simple daily exercises and practices, which progressively build the mental muscles for gratitude, love, and forgiveness—the core precepts for living a miraculous life. “Each moment you choose love over fear is a miracle” explains Bernstein’s cheerful disclaimer: this plan may cause miracles. In other words, inner shifts will change not so much what happens, but how you experience what happens to you, which in turn will have a greater effect in our society, and may even inspire you to become what she calls a “miracle worker in the world.” This book is perky and pragmatic, offering a plan for transforming fear into love—and perhaps, in the process, discovering lasting happiness.
I absolutely love this book! I've read many books on spirituality but none that were so "user friendly" as 11 Days in May. It's so simple yet profound, it's something I can truly relate to and put to practical use in my life. In my humble opinion, 11 Day in May, is an absolute must read for anyone who is searching for "the meaning of it all" or, who has "given up hope" that there's meaning to our existence. In his dialogue with his true self...his higher self, he asks universal questions and receives timeless answers. In short, 11 Days in May gave me HOPE! Hope because we are all the same, we're all connected...one with God, We all have the answers to our truth within us, all we have to do is listen.
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