Reviews written by Claudia M. Sage'
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Like many of us, Bonnie McEneaney had little time to ponder questions about life after death until her life became tragically altered on September 11, 2001. McEneaney’s husband Eamon died on that day, which forever changed her world. In the emotional maelstrom of that fateful day, she started seeking out the answers. Her first urgent and heartbreaking search was to discover if her husband was alive. Even though he had a premonition of his impending death and had tried to prepare them both for this event, she was not comforted. She quickly began receiving signs and messages from her husband indicating that he was okay, even before his death was officially confirmed. Naturally, she wondered if these comforting signs were just a manifestation of her grief.
So, over time she reached out to other 9/11 families to validate her own experiences. She was surprised by the similarity of their experiences of tragic premonitions, apparitions, and personal messages received. McEneaney compiled these stories to share with the world their messages of hope and solace that uplift the heart. Her new conviction that life and love continues into the afterlife has transformed her sorrow into serenity and awe.
I was intrigued and inspired by this book, despite the remembered sense of almost surreal grief of 9/11. I found that this book was best read in smaller chunks so that the stories and their implications could be understood, not only intellectually, but through the heart. In the end, the greatest gift of the author and other 9/11 survivors to the readers is not a remembered sense of tragedy, but one of joy and wonder.
Heart Yoga is a truly delightful book that intertwines the disciple of Yoga with the gifts of Mysticism. The authors weave in the wisdom if several saints and sages, ranging from Rumi and Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism and many forms of Christianity. I was delighted and surprised by the included quotes, some of which were either fresh to my eyes or new to my concept of yoga as a mystic tradition.
The book begins by introducing the gently serene concept of Heart Yoga. The authors discuss how to prepare for its practice, including the ubiquitous warning to seek medical consultation before starting yoga if you have health challenges. Then they introduce the “Five Great Joys” Each one is an asana sequence meant to inspire grace, peace and loving service both to the world and to the individual spirit/mind/ body temple. There are beautiful picture illustrating each new pose throughout the book. Most of the postures appear simple enough to be mastered by a passionate beginner and there are some poses that appear to require a greater degree of flexibility and experience. There is something for everyone in this book, even if you don’t practice yoga but want to incorporate this deep and wide wisdom into another spiritual practice, such as meditation.
The book concludes where most books begin, with the personal story of the authors own discovery of Heart Yoga. It has been my pleasure to share this book with many of my friends and family while my personal copy already looks like a well worn beloved friend sitting on my bookshelf.
Clare Cooper Marcus has written one of the most powerful books that I have ever read regarding the influence of the environment to heal and restore. After retirement, Ms. Marcus was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. After receiving surgical and chemical treatment, she discovered that her wounds were soul deep and could not be healed by the same medicine that was healing her body. Therefore, she pulled from her background as a Professor Emeritus in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkley to seek peace in the sublime beauty of the natural environment. 18 months later, in remission from breast cancer, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Reeling, she remembered the peace of the British homeland of her childhood and the serenity she found on the Holy Island of Iona off the coast of Scotland.
Her childhood memories of WWII of family disruption when they fled the bombing in London for the countryside of the Rothschild Estate in Exbury Gardens were not always pleasant ones. However, she found solace in the exploration of the English countryside. She drew from these memories and her professional education when she wrote the popular books “Healing Gardens” and “House as a Mirror of Self”. She used these memories now to find spiritual balance and calm.
Traveling to Iona all of her dreams, desires and experiences combined with the powerful, yet subtle, atmosphere of this place of long renowned healing. She was able to complete her physical healing and, over the course of a year, repair the ravages of her soul. She left Iona stronger and more serene.
She bestowed this very personal book upon us about her healing path.
In her new book, Cori continues her mystical journey into self-healing by visioning past lives in Egypt. Although I am intrigued by past life experiences, it is difficult to recommend this book. When I first moved to Oregon, I took a local archaeology course where we discussed the rational, and the state law, which requires artifacts to be returned to it’s original position after examination for others to enjoy. Before the end of the second chapter, Cori discusses how she bribed an Egyptian guard to let her remain undisturbed in the Great Pyramid of Giza. After a revelatory vision, she found a ship-shaped, stone artifact on the floor and took it with her when she left. Her sense of mystical entitlement, I feel, diminishes us all by removing a piece of history from it’s place of origin. Too much of Egyptian history has been removed, lost or destroyed by those with a similar sense of entitlement. Sadly, I was unable to completely read this book.
This books lives up to John Gray’s critical acclaim of “demystifies meditation for beginners and inspires experienced practitioners”. Pragito Dove shares over 90 different meditations ranging from the simple to the more extensive. Most of the meditations can be accomplished inside a 4-minute interval while some are more complex, such as the Osho Rose, which is 3 hours a day for 3 weeks. Ms Dove is adept at meditation, and gives us concrete examples of how to use these meditative tools within the context of modern life. My favorite new short meditations from this book are the ones for processing e-mail and handling the dreaded rush hour traffic.
The book is divided into 4 major sections: laughter, tears, silence and moving forward. Each section not only contains its corresponding meditations, but also enlightening vignettes highlighting the background, purpose and possible uses for each meditation. She mingles modern techniques with several spiritual traditions, including Sufism and Buddhism.
As someone who is experienced in meditation, I am using this book as a delightful reference to inspire my self-practice when I start slipping into the mundane routines as well as to share with others.
Present Perfect is a self-help book that combines Buddhism with self-therapy for those people suffering from mild Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder—or OCPD. The author is careful to differentiate OCPD from the anxiety disorder labeled Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which requires a combination of medical treatment and cognitive therapy in order to manage symptoms.
Somov provides a synthesis of experiential exercises, mindfulness techniques and tools that teach forgiveness in order to guide the reader on a journey of healing and reducing the often crippling need for control. While he does not focus on spirituality or spiritual healing, his techniques reflect the Buddhist concepts for seeking enlightenment and serenity.
Although I do not suffer from OCPD, I found this book to be very enlightening with many “Ah-ha” moments. It is one of the better self-help books that I have encountered as it leads the reader on a path of self-discovery rather than dogmatically prescribing the route to wholeness. Although the focus of the book is self-help for people with OCPD, I can easily imagine his suggested techniques being used with other conditions where people feel uncomfortable with themselves or the world around them.
Morphic Resonance is an intriguingly complex book that requires considerable pausing for research in order to completely understand his developing theories and discern their meaning. My knowledge of biogenetics is colored by an older paradigm, so I had a lot of cerebral dusting and reorganizing to do in order to fully comprehend this book. When you get past the first portion of the book, where he addresses arguments by his colleagues pertaining to his theories, it is easy to see how the concept of Morphic Fields and Formative Causation incorporates nicely into the principles of New Thought.
I took away two deeper understandings of the mystery of the universe from this book. First, the acknowledgement that we are more than just the mechanistic expression of our genes is seeping down from hierarchical traditional sciences into a emerging more inclusive theories. We are interacting and influencing each other and our world in ways that were previously unrecognized, even the scientific community. Secondly is the revelation that science is now skewing so heavily toward older conservative models that new ideas are disturbingly difficult to explore. I suspect that this slow plodding along of scientific advancement hindered by traditional standards has always been the case, but this book is the first one that I have read that forthrightly addresses this issue and offers some solutions.
I found this book to be well worth the effort
In his second book pondering the meaning of life, John St Augustine takes us on a meandering journey through the everyday moments of his life. St Augustine searches for spiritual significance through his personal connections and everyday experiences. He shares personal moments such as his decision to donate a kidney to his 13-year-old daughter and the miraculous intervention of the “Jesus Man” who made the transplant possible. He also goes into detail about his own spirit quest when he walked from Upper Michigan to Chicago and back.
He uses these life metaphors and parables to enlighten and elicit a sense of hope in the reader. He uses quotes from Marianne Williamson, John Denver and other pundits and philosophers to add joy and humor to the story of challenges he faced in his life.
St Augustine is not giving religious advice or outlining a strategy to create your own “Uncommon Life” but rather offers tools on how to broaden our own vistas without losing site of the moments that congeal to form the patterns of our lives and “the common sense truths that all people literally have at their fingertips.”
For me, this book, much like his radio talk show “Power Thoughts,” is best absorbed in small, increments, in order to more easily see the serendipity in the moments that interconnect his and our lives.
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