Reviews written by Cynthia Sue Larson
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Much More than Déjà vu
The Déjà vu Enigma delves into a number of fascinating metaphysical topics that weave together with a central, recurring theme of déjà vu--that eerie sensation of 'remembering' an experience or situation before it occurs. Wherever possible, authors Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman reference current scientific studies and research, providing additional insights into what might be going on behind the scenes in our mysterious world.
In addition to déjà vu, some of the related areas covered include: out of body experiences (OBE), astral travel, prodigies and savants, fugues, blackouts, amnesia, schizophrenia, confabulation, ghosts, talking with the dead, and mass hysteria.
While no specific cause of déjà vu is provided as generally agreed upon, many possible explanations are provided, such as the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum physics, malfunctions of the brain, ego defense mechanisms or forgotten dreams.
This book is organized more in the form of a buffet table than a many course-meal, presenting ideas to readers in such a way that they can pick and choose from a rather wide variety of scientific expert opinions, experiential reports and theories.
I particularly enjoyed the question and answer section featuring responses from Michael Schmicker, Pamela Heath, Stanley Krippner, Nick Redfern, Loyd Auerbach, Jay Alfred, Meghan Shannon, and Dale E. Graff to such questions as, "What role do you think belief plays in the manifestation of paranormal phenomenon?"
Splendid Summary of Psychokinetic Research
Written by a medical doctor, Mind Matter Interaction tackles a subject of psychokinesis with scientific rigor perfectly balanced with the human desire to understand our mysterious universe.
Carefully organized into historical and scientific research sections, Mind Matter Interaction first takes readers on a historical and cross-cultural tour through religious and spiritual accounts of such things as: levitation, stigmata, teleportation, bilocation, poltergeists, inedia, luminosity, mediumship, fire-immunity, hemography, and materialization and transformation of matter. After reading fascinating real-life examples of such a wide variety of mind matter interaction, the second major section of this book covers research and theory. Containing one of the most thorough reviews of current scientific study into the field of psychokinetic mind-matter interaction, some of the areas covered include: metal-bending, anomalous photography, random number generators, and poltergeists. The third major section of the book covers experiential research and tips for achieving a conducive atmosphere through altered states of consciousness, dissociation from ego identity, suspension of intellect, playfulness, peak emotion, focused awareness, trust in the process, and openness to the experience.
Designed to stimulate curiosity and motivation for further study, Mind Matter Interaction opens a series of doors to experiencing the world in new ways. I love the way this book contains just the right amount of information to whet the reader's appetite for learning more. Pamela Rae Heath has created a first-rate psychokinetic primer which should be required reading for every high school and college general studies program. Kudos to McFarland Pub dot com for publishing such a valuable work of historical and scientific significance. Highly recommended!
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.
A Fresh View of Consciousness
It's indescribably refreshing to read a book that challenges us to better understand consciousness by asking the deceptively simple question, "What, if any, is the difference between brain and mind?" of scientists well-versed in quantum physics and consciousness.
The importance of considering quantum physics with regard to consciousness is that in the realm of the very, very small, it becomes clear that many old assumptions of science are out-dated--which implies our understanding of consciousness needs to be brought up to date. Matter is not all there is, as everything can be viewed as consisting of energy; non-local "spooky action at a distance" regularly occurs; observers definitely and consistently effect what they observe; and we can only predict results in terms of probabilities--never in absolutes.
There is quiet boldness in the way CONSCIOUSNESS invites readers to explore different viewpoints from luminaries in the field of consciousness, because the interviewer, Eva Herr, has experienced exceptional states of consciousness with corresponding sense of agape and knowing that we are all as one. The genius of CONSCIOUSNESS is then as much in the selection of interviewees capable of envisioning the topic of consciousness both intuitively and rationally, as it is in pursuing this age-old subject through the fresh new lens of modern-day scientific insights and discoveries. While each interviewee answers the same questions, their responses provide insights regarding how best we might view the relationship between the mind and the physical world... and the mind and All That Is.
CONSCIOUSNESS is organized as a series of interviews, and it comes alive with reports from recent scientific studies as reported from the world-class researchers and scientists themselves, including: Thomas W. Campbell Jr., Brenda Dunn, Amit Goswami, Robert Jahn, Ervin Laszlo, Rollin McCraty, Dean Radin, Elizabeth Rauscher, Henry Stapp, Christian de Quincey, and William Tiller.
Essential Mind-Body-Spirit Text
With public interest in the mind-body-spirit connection steadily growing, it's a wonder that some of the most fascinating scientific research remains secret. RADIANT MINDS introduces us to some of the most influential pioneers in the field of parapsychology who contribute tremendous insights into the greatest mysteries of consciousness and the mind, considering no area off limits or taboo. Articles by the dozens of researchers included in this book invite us to explore a holistic approach to science, and to question long-standing assumptions about who we are and how we interact with the world around us. Some of the topics include: distant healing, extra sensory perception, extraordinary dreams, global consciousness, intuition, precognition, psychoneuroimmunology, remote viewing, and telepathy.
RADIANT MINDS is packed with colorful, insightful anecdotes and information that make this collection of articles and historical stories a delicious, page-turning, satisfying read. Stanley Krippner describes some truly extraordinary dreams, Dean Radin describes some cutting-edge research in the fields of precognition and global consciousness, and Willis Harmon questions long-standing scientific assumptions. I love Jeffrey Mishlove's forward, as he recalls insights about fascinating people, such as New York parapsychologist Charles Honorton, who tried to warn John F. Kennedy in June 1968 of Alan Vaughan's precognitive forecast of his likely impending assassination. I love the way each new chapter begins with a photograph and one-page biographical summary of each author--providing the extra perk of a built-in "Who's Who" of parapsychological science.
If and when parapsychology becomes a major course of study in institutions of higher learning, RADIANT MINDS will surely be a required and essential text, as it does the best job of covering the past 25 years of scientific research in the field. Until then, this is highly recommended for everyone interested in a comprehensive exploration of consciousness and the mind.
Fresh Wisdom from Ancient Animal Teachers
I love the way Animal Teachings can be opened to any page at random, in order to glean instant insights into the animal featured on those two facing pages. Lusciously illustrated by Ola Liola and beautifully organized by animal communicator Dawn Brunke, this book is a delight to both the intuitive and rational mind. I especially love the straightforward step-by-step guide Brunke includes toward the beginning of the book for learning how to communicate with animals.
The organization of Animal Teachings is unique, as groups of animals are organized to better convey one of twelve qualities of living, such as: Attention and Awareness, Balance, Communication, Creation and Creativity, Dreaming, Healing, Integration, Intuition, Joy, Personal Power, Transformation and Wisdom. Each of these twelve groups then contains five animal teachers, for a total of sixty animals contained in the pages of this book. The group of animal teachers of Joy thus includes: Dolphins, Goat, Goldfish, Hummingbird, Otter.
Something amazing happens while gazing at the key words associated with each given animal included in this book, as the reader's eyes dance across the page to light on each stunning illustration in turn, before settling on reading various morsels of wisdom. Reading this book just might be the closest thing to experiencing actual animal communication encounters, for there is a similar at-oneness possible in feeling the gestalt of each animal.
One of my favorite ways to work with Animal Teachings is to flip the book open to a random page, and read the teachings of the animal featured there. This book can be a marvelous icebreaker at gatherings, giving people something fun to do together that is interesting and can be shared, and it's a beautiful illustrated book to read aloud to children. Animal Teachings is a marvelous gift for animal lovers and the person 'who has everything,' for chances are good they don't have anything like Animal Teachings. Highly recommended!
The Big Picture of Reality ... in Graphic Novel Form
Finding answers to big questions about the nature of reality in a graphic novel may seem unlikely ... until you read "The Universe is a Dream." Author Alexander Marchand describes nondualism in ways that are simultaneously fun and easy to comprehend, while treating the subject with appropriate respect.
"The Universe is a Dream" is a refreshing primer on a topic that is seldom discussed--let alone taught in western schools--despite the fact that when considered as a philosophical premise, nondualism has much to offer people seeking an end to suffering. The key to ending suffering, as Marchand points out, is to identify oneself with the Oneness, rather than with one's ego. In a nutshell, this is what "The Universe is a Dream" is all about.
Because many of the ideas presented in "The Universe is a Dream" challenge most westerner's beliefs, this book suggests continuing with lifelong study of the concepts of nonduality as presented in "A Course in Miracles" in order to help people gradually improve their sense of who they really are in relationship to the universe. Those who have already intuited and recognized the nature of nondualism and are walking through the world in nondual reality will likely find this book refreshingly entertaining and validating.
"The Universe is a Dream" is a marvelous tool for delving into metaphysical topics in ways that produce numerous "Aha!" moments, and surely that was the reason it was created as a graphic novel in the first place. Thanks to the combination of visual images and words, all parts of a reader's mind are engaged while contemplating every page -- and the simplistic cartoon images provide reference points by which readers can later recall the ideas and examples presented in the book.
"The Universe is a Dream" is the perfect book for anyone suspecting they might be ready to wake up from the limited viewpoint of ego perspective into the wide, wonderful world of Oneness consciousness. Highly recommended!
Courageous Gold Coast Girl's Inspirational Illustrated History
Readers will be captivated and inspired by this graphic page-turner of a young African girl's trial in Africa's Gold Coast. While Abina's experience of being separated from family and friends early in life and sold to a series of slave owners was not unusual in 1876 Ghana, it was extraordinary that Abina not only escaped captivity but subsequently brought her slave owner to trial. Fascinating aspects of Gold Coast daily life, social customs and political dynamics are presented as part of this true life story that educates all levels of readers while being exceptionally entertaining.
Authors Trevor Getz and Liz Clarke have created an artistic and historical tour de force that succeeds both as a beautifully illustrated graphic novel and a comprehensive all-in-one teaching guide. The graphic illustrations depict emotional tension and conflict so realistically that the illustrated first half of this book will likely be read in one sitting. Several additional sections in this book provide aspiring forensic historians with just the right amount of background explanation and insight, so as to encourage development of a more discerning eye and mindset. Getz explains the scholarly process of constructing and deconstructing narratives from the past with such zest as to stimulate discussions about how one might recognize many examples of reading with and "against the grain" in order to see both what a person was trying to convey and what they were unintentionally communicating.
Abina and the Important Men is highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of 19th century African Gold Coast, historical relationships between England and Africa, gender studies, how history is interpreted, and the topic of slavery.
Invitation through Gateway to Inner Peace
I felt such a majestic aura of awe and wonder from "Opening the Gates of the Heart" from holding this book in hand that I first read it on a sunny day in the garden while sipping a cup of tea and listening to nature's sound track of song birds and honey bees. As I read the verse accompanying each gorgeous photograph of gates, I felt my heart open as if this book was some kind of universal energetic key, and I sensed such a rush of love, acceptance and understanding as I have seldom felt from any book before.
"Opening the Gates of the Heart" offers readers a gentle reminder of the blessings available to us all when we open worlds of new possibilities in our lives. The gates pictured in this book embody such an exquisite range of barriers in terms of material, size, and visual and emotional impact that they perfectly represent the multitude of ways we so often close ourselves off from love, beauty, joy, peace and eternal happiness. The overall net effect of seeing so many forms of barriers combined with such thoughtful musings on topics ranging from absence of judgment, to growth of character, to path of acceptance provides readers a sense that just the act of reading book is actually an act of undertaking a glorious personal journey to inner peace.
Carolyn Jones has a rare gift for sharing just enough verbiage on every other page of "Opening the Gates of the Heart" to truly touch the reader's heart. The words seamlessly match photographs of gates, in such a way that opening the book to any random set of pages becomes an invitation to embark on a meditative journey. Carolyn Jones' words are written with such tender care as to soothe even those feeling great pain, and with such inspiration as to encourage readers to trust this author to take them places hitherto unknown and unseen.
"Opening the Gates of the Heart" is highly recommended to anyone seeking peace and happiness as a direct experience of being fortunate enough to hold this book in hand, and as the perfect gift for someone who has everything, or is simply in need of feeling love, peace and acceptance in their life.
Powerful Keys to Life Mastery
This gem of a book is a must-have for anyone seeking the keys to life mastery, or simply wishing to make the most of amazing opportunities available to us in this world. Modestly and without trumpets or fanfare, Lynne Forrest has created a masterpiece in "Beyond Victim Consciousness," that illuminates and elucidates hidden energies behind the roles people play in the 'victim triangle.' Many of us have subconsciously adopted roles of victim, rescuer, or persecutor from dysfunctional family role models and examples earlier in our lives, but Forrest assures us that it's never too late to find the way out of 'victim triangle' patterns and into much more functional relationships with everyone and everything in our lives.
Forrest excels at showing us how most people are caught up in victim consciousness, which she defines as the "habit of thinking something outside of us is responsible for our happiness or unhappiness." The elegant simplicity of this observation is the foundation of the transformation Forrest prescribes, moving us into observer consciousness, "a personal state of awareness that allows us to recognize the happenings in our lives as intentional opportunities to further our connection with ourselves and with Source."
With a wealth of real-life examples and helpful diagrams, Beyond Victim Consciousness explains why it's important to show up with a willing attitude, to be in alignment, and to clear one's energies in order to move out of victim-rescuer-persecutor mindset into observer-nurturer-asserter mindset. Forrest is quick to give credit where credit is due, as she seamlessly weaves together the primary strengths from a variety of sources into a solid suite of techniques that is time-tested and effective at producing immediate and lasting results.
I love the way Forrest shows how getting off the victim triangle involves relating in an entirely new way to our feelings -- particularly our feelings of pain -- that we would otherwise typically tend to repress. Forrest lovingly demonstrates how painful feelings are signals and messages that we can learn from (rather than indulge ourselves in), and she helps explain how and why it is that these painful feelings will help show us the way out of the victim triangle.
"Beyond Victim Consciousness" is an outstanding reference book for all therapists, psychologists and life coaches working to help people recognize and transcend limiting beliefs and patterns, as well as anyone genuinely interested in making their life the very best it can be. I give this book my highest recommendation -- for helping people shift their lives in the very best possible ways!
All Our Prayers Are Answered
This humble story with simple steps for spiritual awakening is a gem of a spiritual parable, told from the perspective of a man who feels cursed, as he handles finding ways to support his two young children after a series of setbacks. The simplicity of plot and characters gives this parable room for the reader to better sense and feel the depth of its spiritual concepts, without ever deteriorating into schmaltz.
The plot of The Prayer Chest centers around a young man and his small children, as they discover an amazing secret and some deceptively easy steps involved in having prayers answered. The secrets are revealed in the text of an old journal, written by one of the man's ancestors.... and as each important step of prayer is revealed with a sense of breathless wonder and reverence, the story demonstrates by example why and how some prayers are answered, while others are not.
A reader's guide in the last chapter of "The Prayer Chest" describes how every prayer is always answered... either with the answer to the prayer, or what stands in the way of the prayer being answered. Recognizing how to deal with these responses is extremely important for everyone, so "The Prayer Chest" is highly recommend to everyone on any kind of spiritual path, and an inspirational gift for someone who 'has everything.'
The Value of Directly Experiencing Nature
Author and vision quest leader Flynn Johnson shares with us a story of Mouse, who encounters the world and meets a variety of friends along the way... and as we begin to see similarities between ourselves and Mouse, we see how sometimes the labels and names we give things presents as much of a barrier to direct knowledge of the totality of that thing as it does some sense of having categorized it. Johnson explains the difference between factual knowledge and a more mystical union with direct experience, "wisdom explains itself as a gnosis, a knowing that penetrates below the surface of things to the underlying soul of what is perceived." Johnson shows us how through transforming where we put our attention, we bear witness to sacredness, and the sense of ineffability intrinsic to everything.
I love the way such depth of understanding of life, human experience, and our relationship with one another and nature is expressed through a simple story about Mouse's journey in "Journey to the Sacred Mountain." Flynn Johnson provides us with fresh insights in each new chapter, named after characters Mouse met on his journey, as each animal's part of the story is shown to reveal further insights of self awareness and spiritual truth. Johnson's inclusion of elements from Native American spirituality, Buddhism, mystical poetry, and psychology provides readers with a beautiful feeling of having undergone a vision quest, as does a special section full of summaries of people's stories who've undergone vision quests.
I highly recommend "Journey to the Sacred Mountains" to anyone interested in better understanding vision quests, and all readers seeking deeper knowledge of the truth nature so eloquently reveals whenever the we show we are open-minded, open-hearted, and willing to humbly learn.
Amazing Animals & Plants Expand our View of What it Means to be Human
Not only do mice giggle and bats sing, but roosters sometimes lie about food being nearby in order to attract mates, monkeys will assume other identities, elephants mimic the sounds of trucks, and plants send out signals that other plants and animals pick up and respond to.
This eye-opening book is full of amazing stories taken from recent natural studies and observations, such as reports of laboratory chimps that go on strike... an amazing description of a hungry, wild polar bear that makes time to play with a sled dog... and accounts of wild birds making eye contact with humans to determine whether nearby food is OK to eat.
"Bats Sing, Mice Giggle" is a captivating read for animal lovers, biologists, and anyone interested in discovering just how much humans have in common with other species. This refreshing summary of plant and animal research illuminates indications of plants and animals engaging areas we've historically considered 'human nature.' When animals show compassion, grief, love and altruism with one another... as well as jealousy, revenge, and competitiveness... we are invited to open our minds to a more complete understanding of who we humans truly are, and how we can best relate to all species of plants and animals who share our beautiful planet Earth.
Accessing Spirit through Mystical Union with the Divine
Who would suspect that a collection of quote-a-day mystical writings could be so uplifting, so inspiring, so thought-provoking as "Christian Mystics" proves to be? Some quotes are deceptively short, yet profoundly transformative when allowed to percolate inside, such as Master Eckhart's, "Whatever happens to another, whether it be a joy or a sorrow, happens to me." Matthew Fox adds insights in the manner of a congenial spiritually oriented professor, guiding us to view hidden connections and better grasp deeper meanings that might otherwise remain concealed.
There is genius in the organization of "Christian Mystics," as quotes by particular authors such as Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Thomas Aquinas, and Thomas Merton are grouped in sections, so many pages in a row continue with gifts from a particular perspective. Matthew Fox adds his own mystical views via questions he poses following each quote, so each day's quote takes readers on delightful journeys of spiritual discovery.
"Christian Mystics" succeeds both as a spiritual guide through mystical realms to be explored one page a day, and as a beloved addition for conversational stimulation and inspirational reference for any seeker's coffee table, desk, or nightstand. Highly recommended!
Living Green & Loving It
When we hear the term "green" or "environmentally conscious", chances are we don't hear words like "fun" or "exciting," yet these are exactly the words that come to mind when reading environmental innovator Carolyn North's new book, "Serious Fun."
This book is perfect for anyone seriously interested in finding creative ways to live more lightly on the Earth, or making steps toward getting "off the grid." With chapters devoted to essential daily needs to dispose of waste and collect water, Serious Fun provides practical ideas for getting serious about healing our relationship with the Earth.
I particularly love sections on creative ideas for artistic and practical reuse, with ideas for turning junk into art... and as always, my very favorite thing about a book written by Carolyn North is the way she shares down-to-earth personal stories of great spiritual depth and soulful insight. I love her description of waking one morning to find backyard fences collapsed, and coming to a joint deciison with neighbors to create an open and much more enjoyable shared garden space, rather than replacing the barriers.
Serious Fun is a glorious invitation to each of us to feel more deeply satisfied and fulfilled as we make small, yet profoundly meaningful changes in our daily lives. Highly recommended!
Bridging Science and Spirit
What a joy it is to read a cutting-edge physics book written for the lay person! Fred Alan Wolf's book, "Time Warps and Space Twists" sets for itself the challenging goal of describing some of the newest physics explanations for how God created the universe in terms just about anyone can understand. Rather than over-simplifying concepts from physics, Wolf presents each theory and theorem in layman's terms which are clear enough for most anyone to follow. I especially love the way Wolf does such a marvelous job describing how our view of the world has changed so much in just the last few years with regard to things like the Higgs field, tachyons, and tardyons. Thanks to some of the newest findings in quantum physics, we can now "say bye-bye to causality in quantum field theory," providing us with fascinating insights about retrocausality and backward-through-time travel. Highly recommended for anyone interested in spirituality and science!
Exploring the Cooperation Instinct
Tired of living in a dog-eat-dog world? Ready to envision a way to do your personal best while supported by everyone around you? Author Lynne McTaggart encourages us to consider a wealth of recent scientific studies pointing us down a refreshingly different path... toward cooperation. The Bond invites us to find ways to interact with and relate to the highest sense of good in others as the key to mankind's future success. The Bond is organized in three main sections, with part one covering the concept of the Superorganism, part two describing the Pull to Wholeness (how we're born to belong, agree, give, and take turns), and part three about Recovering the Bond. I particularly love reading how recent studies in game theory demonstrate the winningest game strategies involve cooperating and taking turns, rather than adhering to a pure individually competitive model. It's not too great a leap from seeing the benefits of sharing, taking turns, and reciprocity in games to taking similar actions in real life... and I love reading about how humans have been hard-wired biologically to feel best when doing exactly that. I'm inspired to learn that one simple thing we can do to improve our physical health is to become a member of a close-knit group or community; and a simple way to reduce depression and loneliness is to actively help others. One of the most powerful ideas in The Bond has to do with ways we learn to pay attention, and how learning to pay attention to more than we have previously noticed can make a profound difference. McTaggart explains, "When you notice the whole, you allow for and respect more than one version of reality." While opposing ideologies sometimes find little to agree upon, the very idea that there exists a greater wholeness brings healing. The Bond is packed with inspirational ideas and practical tips for anyone interested in finding out how to live their best possible life feeling supported by bonds of connection, rather than struggling in competitive isolation. Highly recommended!
Scholarly Introduction to Ideas of a Remarkable Visionary
Once in a great while, a man comes along with such a unique view of the world, its problems, and visions of solutions to those problems that all great thinkers who meet him are forever changed. Thomas Berry was clearly such a man, judging by the delicious assortment of essays written about Berry by a world-class assortment of his peers. "Thomas Berry, Dreamer of the Earth" is as much a tribute to "the father of environmentalism" as it is a primer on his ideas.
What sets Thomas Berry apart from most ecologists is his view that humanity must evolve and transform our very way of thinking from pure rational consciousness to a much more fully integrated form of integral knowingness in order to completely and fully resolve the crises initiated by our presence on the Earth. Rather than attempting to initiate 'green' changes from the inside of existing systems, Berry pointed out that only harmonious communication and cooperation with the Earth and the Universe could ever solve the myriad problems facing us today.
While many environmentalists work within the confines of a techno-centric, rational-centric worldview, Berry expresses passionate opposition to such "solutions," asserting that such attempts to return balance and natural order are destined to fail. Berry proposes an entirely new, yet extremely old remedy: dream with the Earth and the Universe, as shamans and indigenous medicine men and women do. Berry writes, "If we will the future effectively, it will be because the guidance and the powers of the Earth have been communicated to us, not because we have determined the future of the Earth simply with some rational faculty." While few details are provided as to how, exactly, we may enter into such holistic partnership with Earth, Berry also states, "We probably have not had such participation in the dream of the Earth since earlier shamanic times, but therein lies our hope for the future for ourselves and for the entire Earth community."
The ten essays in this slim volume written by Matthew Fox, Joanna Macy, Stanley Krippner, Duane Elgin, Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Ervin Laszlo, Allan Combs, Geneen Marie Haugen, Bill Plotkin and others do an excellent job of showcasing the most fascinating aspects of Berry's remarkable ideas. I heartily recommend "Thomas Berry, Dreamer of the Earth" to readers interested in indigenous ways of knowing, consciousness, Earth-based spirituality, and shamanism. This book sparks the imagination, encourages heartfelt connection with the natural world, and inspires spiritual transformation.
The time to dream with the Earth... with the Universe... is now!
Evidence of Human Existence Hundreds of Millions of Years Ago
Michael Cremo's book, "The Forbidden Archeologist" takes us on an amazing trail exploring the controversial mystery of 'forbidden archeology.' Cremo describes evidence of man's existence dating back hundreds of millions of years, far earlier than generally accepted by traditional historians and archeologists. Presented in the format of columns originally written for Atlantis Rising magazine over a period of several years, The Forbidden Archeologist showcases a decade of Cremo's passionate crusade to challenge scientists to consider artifacts and evidence that fall outside popular theories.
While most scientists currently agree that humans left Africa some 60,000 years ago, Cremo presents a large body of evidence indicating that humans have existed in North America for hundreds of millions of years. Cremo describes how numerous things including skeletons, a metal vase, and a very modern looking shoe print have been found in solid rock dating back hundreds of millions of years. None of this information is presented in modern anthropology and archeology textbooks, due to bias toward censoring findings that disagree with dominant paradigms. Cremo's anti-evolutionary stance may be unsettling or outright distasteful to some, but when read with an open mind to review the facts he presents, we can empathize with his outrage for how so much archeological evidence has for so long been repressed.
"The Forbidden Archeologist" is mind-expanding reading and a fabulous conversation starter. In a perfect world, this book would be required reading for aspiring scientists, to encourage higher ethical standards for scientific research, regardless how far outside our commonly accepted theories facts and findings may be.
Fascinating, Fun Scientific Evidence for Psychic Phenomena
Scientific evidence exists for telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis & psychic healing... and it's fun to watch! Film-maker Renée Scheltema set out to find explanations for some seemingly inexplicable experiences she and her daughter encountered, treating us to a fairly comprehensive summary of some of the most current scientific findings in the field of consciousness today.
This documentary brings us into the homes and offices of some of the world's most thoughtful and well-spoken authors and visionaries who earn a living exploring the place where science and spirit meet... a place which can at times be frustrating to accurately describe, as its very existence challenges us to expand previous limits and boundaries of our ways of sensing, thinking, and knowing what is true. Interviews with Edgar Mitchell, Dr. Larry Dossey, Dean Radin, Hal Puthoff, Charles Tart, Rupert Sheldrake, Gary Schwartz, Jack Houck, Nancy Myer, Erik Pearl and Arielle Ford are artfully interspersed with footage depicting what is being discussed.
I love the way this film includes footage of Oscar the cat, who knows when people are about to die, and John of God in Brazil, conducting psychic surgeries and miraculous healing. Examples are shown of remote viewing, spoon bending, dogs who know when their owners are coming home, people proving experimentally that they can correctly guess twice as well as mere chance would allow who is calling them on the phone, and people reacting in advance to pictures they have not yet viewed. I loved seeing the PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) experiments, and some of the current work being done at IONS (the Institute of Noetic Sciences).
While a precise explanation for "What is going on here?" may still elude us, this film includes some possible theories such as Rupert Sheldrake's concept of morphogenic fields, and zero point energy. There indeed seems to be some kind of mechanism allowing for "emotional futures to leak backward," as Dean Radin observes, and each and every one of us has access to the tools such as meditation, dreaming, and dancing that allow us to focus and then release our attention in ways that allow unconscious psychic senses to come forward into our consciousness, so we can experience how it feels to transcend time and space.
Viewing this amazing movie left me feeling tremendously uplifted, inspired, and energized. This is a DVD to share with family, friends, and everyone who may not realize just how much evidence exists for telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis and psychic healing. Truly fabulous!
Master the Keys to Positively Transforming Your Life
Erase Negativity is a powerhouse of a self-help book. It features eleven chapters describing life lessons mastered by people who've overcome extraordinary challenges. The big idea here is that no matter what terrible things may have happened in life, it is always possible to start from exactly where we are, and begin moving in a positive direction toward the life of our dreams.
The first couple of chapters of Erase Negativity may seem shocking, as they describe how it feels to pull oneself up by the proverbial bootstraps while "emerging from the depths of hell," such as an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or cycles of emotional and physical abuse. I was deeply moved to read heartfelt stories of people who have truly hit rock bottom, and managed later to set and achieve positive goals. It's inspirational to read how people have bounced back from a wide variety of horrendous situations, and managed to get unstuck from complacency. There is greatness possible for each and every one of us, regardless what handicaps, constraints, and misfortune may have occurred.
I love the format of this book, as each chapter starts with a biographical story that illustrates the tools required at each person's turning point. The end of each chapter summarizes the main points in the form of exercises first for erasing negativity... and then for embracing "the magic within." The magic referred to is spiritual, intuitive, and energetic in nature, rather than a form of magick or witchcraft.
The life-transforming tips provided in Erase Negativity include feng shui, keeping a running total of positive to negative thoughts, affirmations, stepping out of the victim mindset, setting positive goals, choosing supportive friends, eliminating gossip, and practicing mindfulness. These concepts are much more than mere words on a page, as real life accounts of what a difference they have made are described eloquently.
I feel deeply honored to be one of the eleven people interviewed for Erase Negativity, and I sincerely hope that my story will resonate with readers in ways that help them gain additional strength to succeed in life.
Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within is the best summary of how to live a positive life that I've yet found in a self-help book; I give this book my highest recommendation!
Amazing True Stories of Time Slips, Warps & Displacements
Author Anita Holmes shares a wealth of stories about a phenomenon she affectionately calls "Twidders," giving a friendly name to an often unsettling and disturbing phenomenon of time shifts, slips, and warps. Holmes brings together groups of stories that share a similar theme, such as walking back (or less commonly, forward) in time, or seeing people arrive at a destination before they arrive (again). Some stories present more questions than they answer, with one person not able to retrace her footsteps in the snow back to her car, because her car had been inexplicably relocated to the place she wished she could have parked... but hadn't. Others have seen a place where trees in the forest alongside the road sometimes disappear completely in the matter of seconds... to be seen back again a week later bigger than ever... then months later, gone again.
My appreciation for these stories stems from having collected thousands of similar stories over the past decade, as well as personally experiencing a variety of shifts in space and time. For readers such as myself who've personally witnessed such phenomena, "Twidders" provides validation and an enthralling overview of the amazing variety of extraordinary experiences people can... and have... experienced. There is great value in knowing that it's possible for people to do extraordinary things, such as to travel great distances in very little time, travel in time, and sometimes notice loops in time, seeing events repeat. In addition to stories about time shifts, "Twidders" includes a great many stories about doppelgangers, bilocation, vanishing people, and alternate realities.
Some of my personal favorite stories in "Twidders" involve brushes with dinosaurs on land in the air, leaving witnesses wondering how such creatures could possibly be here on Earth in these modern times. I also find the story of a Spanish soldier's overnight teleportation in 1593 from the Philippines to Mexico particularly captivating.
I highly recommend "Twidders" to everyone intrigued by metaphysics, strange phenomena, and the paranormal.
Voices Out of Stone is my favorite kind of travel guide, as it shares both personal experiences and a fascinating history of ancient mysterious sacred sites. The standing stones of Carnac are the central focus of this book, and they are written about intimately by author Carolyn North and with an overview as to global significance by Natasha Hoffman.
Readers who enjoy books by Hamish Miller such as The Sun and the Serpent will love Voices Out of Stone for the way it invites us to open all our senses and more fully experience the deepest levels of meaning of the mystic standing stones of Brittany. I love the sketches and descriptions of various stone alignments, dolmens and menhirs in this book, and am particularly delighted by tales of visiting some sites at times when they could be enjoyed in solitude... or with a traveling companion equally devoted to listening to hidden wisdom of the stones.
Voices Out of Stone truly shines when describing how Carolyn North became something of a reluctant yet highly sought after healer during her visit to Carnac, and the ways these and other sacred stones transformed Carolyn's view of health, personal growth, and transformation. Reading this book graces me with something akin to the quiet, poetic beauty of the sacred sites themselves. I felt sad coming to the last pages and the realization that my journey to Carnac was coming to an end... for like a vacation to Carnac, Voices Out of Stone transports me to magical realms.
I highly recommend Voices Out of Stone to all who love connecting to nature and Earth, to anyone intrigued by ancient sacred sites, and to those interested in planning a trip to Brittany, France.
Author Geneen Roth shares behind-the-scenes experiences from the twice-yearly retreats she runs for people wanting to become more conscious and aware of their approach to eating... and life... in this enlightening book. With entertaining stories from Roth's clients and her own personal life, Women, Food and God illustrates the amazing gift we get from getting to fully understand our relationship with food, and how to become aware of what lies beyond the pain we run from when we don't eat mindfully.
The mindfulness advocated by Roth has more to do with meditation and psychological well-being than traditional religion, and contains little spiritual direction in the form of traditional religious approaches. Roth describes her personal journey of yo-yo dieting for years before taking a deeper look at what was truly troubling her. "Using eating as a doorway to freedom from suffering" is a rather prevalent practice in much of Western society, and Roth shows us how we can become mindful that it's OK to stop bolting through doorways, and learn that we are just fine just as we are.
Reading this book is a little bit like participating in one of Roth's retreats, in that it takes us into the uncomfortable place where we notice we'd rather be thinking about anything other than our own emotional defense mechanisms. Roth explains how over-eating, workaholism, cynicism, and other patterns of running away from our emotions are obsessions that we can let go of as we accept our lives exactly as they are.
The key to success in mastering our relationship with food, Roth says, is in learning to come back to feeling and being present in our lives every time we make a break for it and try to run away... and observe that there is always a part of us that is not broken. The eating then becomes a matter of eating what one is hungry for when one is hungry for it, and not eating otherwise... just as simple as that.
I love Geneen Roth's honesty about how she's felt during challenging times in her life, and her sense of humor, which helps readers relate to how much better it can be to get off the binging / purging / dieting cycle and into a state of self acceptance. This book is perfect for anyone interested in a better relationship with food, or a greater sense of appreciating life -- highly recommended!
Deepak Chopra's decision to tell the fictionalized story of the last prophet
of Islam through the eyes of those who knew him proves effective and
riveting. Events unfold as witnessed by those who loved and disliked him,
with each chapter shared from a completely new point of view. Rather than
being distracting, this unique way of telling a story lends a multi-faceted
sparkle to a self-described ordinary man.
Vivid descriptions of many aspects of life in the desert provide fascinating
reading, as do the depth and breadth of characters selected to share their
view of how it came to be that an ordinary man could have such far-reaching
impact in the world for centuries to come.
Central to this fictional biography is the story of the internal conflict
felt by a man tasked by archangel Gabriel to recite, or charismatically
share with others words of great meaning and beauty. While this inner
struggle is noted by the prophet's children, wife, and friends, I found
myself longing for more of a first-person account.
Chopra provides preface and afterword sections to this book, in order that
it might prove useful for helping non-Muslims better appreciate and
empathize with the complexities involved in ancient Mecca. I finished
reading this book with more questions than answers, which I take to be a
hallmark of a great teacher, leaving readers satisfied by the telling of a
great story, yet still hungry for more.
If you're seeking quick and easy ways to change your children's behavior, or get them to do what you say, this book is not for you. Becoming a conscious parent requires looking deeply and honestly within oneself, delving into one's own fears and shortcomings.
The Conscious Parent invites parents to become more mindful of their daily interactions with their children so that rather than seeing children's actions as "misbehavior," parents can recognize an opportunity to be kinder and more open themselves. The central premise of The Conscious Parent is that children provide parents with mirrors of their own subconscious issues, and parents who understand this can enter into a state of heart-to-heart communion with their children, learning and growing alongside their children, rather than continuing habitual reactive patterns that tend to perpetuate family cycles of power, control and dominance. As author Shefali Tsabary points out, this shift from an egoic state of mind to one of authentic being "... isn't an easy one for a parent to make."
While much of The Conscious Parent contains the kinds of tips and pointers Tsabary provides for her clients, this book really shines when the author shares her first-hand experiences as a mother. Parents seeking ways to bridge the gap from parenting according to how they've been raised and achieving a Zen-like state of mindfulness in parenting, will delight in the examples and suggestions Tsabary shares to incorporate some of the lofty ideals of mindfulness to parenting, and how it feels as a parent to deal with one's own internal doubt, fear, and resistance.
Tsabary discourages parents from using praise and scolding to mold children into doing and being what most pleases the parents, and recommends that parents grant their children the freedom to become the best they can be at who they truly are. Tsabary suggests that parents can set high standards in some areas, such as for: speaking from their authentic voice, being kind, expressing feelings directly, helping others, and engaging in daily dialogue and conversation with them.
The Conscious Parent is highly recommended for readers dedicated to living their lives mindfully who are eager to have functional, rather than dysfunctional families. This book inspires parents to set examples for children by embracing imperfections, and staying open-hearted, open-minded, and truly present and engaged. If all families adopted just some of the ideas from this book, it seems clear that the world would be a much better place.
Can you envision a world in which you didn't need to worry, didn't need to
struggle, and could just relax as you allow events to unfold, trusting that
everything is now working out exactly as you'd most desire? Author Julia
Rogers Hamrick suggests that not only does such an Easy World exist, it's
actually the one we knew before we immersed ourselves so fully in a world of
trouble and difficulty.
This lovely book invites us to imagine how we can literally step into an
easier way of life that feels like an entirely different world... because it
is an entirely different world. We can do this by learning how to get to
Easy World and stay in Easy World, despite all manner of thoughts and things
that may entice us to slip back into difficult world.
CHOOSING EASY WORLD is a book you can read quickly, and yet the idea behind
it has a lasting resonance that invites you to see how nothing ever needs to
be as complicated as we sometimes make it. There is a kind of magic that
happens when we stop limiting our view of what is and isn't possible, what
is and isn't practical, and what we can and can't have.
The key concept here is that Easy World is our natural state... our first
awareness.... and since we have already experienced Easy World, where
everything is easy, we have the incentive to return to living harmoniously
that way again. The challenge we face is principally to let go of beliefs
based in Ego that we are not valuable, that we are not deserving, that we
are not as good as we need to be. There is a kind of suffering inherent in
these beliefs that lead some people into moving away from Spirit and into
fear and resistance.
I especially love chapter ten, which is full of Questions and Answers that
get right to the heart of many of the kinds of misgivings people have when
choosing to go with the flow rather than struggling each step of the way.
Questions about laziness, worthiness, resistance and bad things happening
are answered from the point of view of Easy World, full of love and
appreciation for who you really are and what wonderful things are possible
that you may not have ever before imagined.
Our journey into Easy World begins as simply as saying out loud, "I choose
to live in Easy World, where everything is easy." Say this aloud and notice
how you feel immediately afterward... and if you find (as many do) a sense
of optimistic joyfulness and faith that such a thing could be possible, this
book is for you!
The Eternal Dance of Universal Consciousness & Worldly Experience
The Dice Game of Shiva tells the story of the Hindu god Shiva, lord of the universe, and his consort Parvati who learn a game with dice. Interestingly, Parvati wins round after round to the point that she cleans Shiva out... down to his last item of clothing... until he retreats to the wilderness. There is much more to this story, yet it captures an essential core sense of the eternal dance between universal consciousness (Shiva) and experience of the world (Parvati).
Richard Smoley writes with the intelligent voice of the Harvard and Oxford graduate that he is, and better yet as a professor who passionately loves the topic of consciousness as viewed from every philosophical and spiritual lens known to man. Smoley has a rare gift for describing ineffable concepts articulately and elegantly, such as when he writes, "It is this higher love, which Christianity calls agape and I call 'conscious love,' that reflects the insight that the Self at the center of one's own being is exactly the same as the Self that lies at the core of everyone else's as well, human and nonhuman, animate and apparently inanimate."
Smoley explores one of the six "orthodox" darshans of the Hindu sacred texts known as the Vedas, the Samkhya, weaving it together with Western ideas from philosophy, science and religion. Samkyha analyzes reality into its fundamental components, while Yoga is a system of meditative practice for spiritual liberation, and Vedanta is a way to detach ones awareness from physical being to a knowingness that all is as One.
Even as physicists currently seek a "Theory of Everything," humans pursue a comprehensive answer for the true nature of reality, the meaning of life, and the relationship between universal consciousness and worldly experience. The Dice Game of Shiva takes us on a mystical philosophical journey full of fresh new insights into who we truly are.
Change Your Life by Changing Your Handwriting
Transform Your LIfe Through Handwriting is a spiritual graphology kit consisting of two audio CDs, a spiral bound guidebook, a spiral bound journal, and a deck of alphabet graphology cards. While all these go together very nicely, I was initially surprised to see the way this handwriting transformation kit was arranged, as apparently I'd been expecting a book and CDs, rather than a kit of so many things inside a box.
For those who have read graphology books and studied graphology to any extent, the principle behind transforming one's life through changing one's handwriting is fairly obvious, yet seldom fully explained. There seem to be many more examples and descriptions of what not to do in other books, so Vimala Rodgers' approach of focusing entirely on positive patterns is refreshingly different.
I like the sound of Vimala's voice on the audio tracks of the CDs, and once I'd adjusted to the initial shock of this entire kit being so very different than every other book on graphology I've seen, I started having fun with this program. Each letter is described in terms of its soul quality, its declaration of intent, its alphabetic family, its element, its gender, its gemstone, its animal and its angelic guardian protector. These qualities for each letter gave me a deeper appreciation for the meditations involved in writing each letter in upper and lower case -- and meditation is indeed the best way to describe what is involved. With only a modicum of advice on what not to do, I found myself fascinated by some of the reasoning behind the advice. We therefore learn to avoid writing a "secretary f," for example, that states, "I'll do your work well, but my ideas don't count."
I highly recommend this for anyone open-minded enough to try changing their handwriting, as there is a great deal to learn here, and this system really can work!
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