Tuesday, August 19, 2008

DESERTATIONS: A to Z





D E S E R T A T I O N S


A to Z Meditations

Assembled by Brother EDEN Douglas - for those present and future Wayfaring Strangers traveling through these pages of EdenDust, his virtual home - to aide and assist you on your personal journeys to know more of yourselves and prayerfully do more, indeed, say more, with your enlightened lives.



We are all HARBINGERS.

Heed The Call.



~:~

Before You Begin Your Journey into this page, consider this preamble...


Various mundane and cosmic forces are in a desperate battle for your attention, because your attention represents where and how you focus your energy for creating the reality you encounter. The courage to fearlessly ask questions is at the core of your spiritual awakening. People have been clinging to various stages of denial for a long time; as a result of this inattentiveness to life, a behind-the-scenes breeding ground for carrying out despicable deeds was easily fostered. Such behavior by your leaders is a symbol for society's denial to effectively deal with the truth, and by playing out exaggerated versions of lies and deceit, they test your abilities of discernment. By claiming your rightful ability to move your conscious awareness around the field of existence, you will experience direct knowledge and be able to tell the difference between truth and deceit. And you must claim this ability to reach beyond the confines of physical reality to understand the power of the forces that challenge you to awaken. Then you will not be so easily deceived.

The controlled mainstream media is used as a tool to pull your attention into a probable world that is devoid of vitality and creativity. By enticing your attention into a reality of violence and war, your thoughts and beliefs are conditioned to enslave you in victimhood and complete disempowerment. Will you choose pessimism or empowerment, be browbeaten or make use of the new energy and soar to new heights of achievement?
...from PATH of EMPOWERMENT by Barbara Marciniak



A.

FOR OUR WORLD


This is a message from the late Mattie Stepanek, who finally succumbed to his MS related illnesses and departed us for Heaven on June 22, 2004, at the age of 13. His words are timely and prophetic, having written them long before our recent conflicts. A young soul and soldier who used all of his young life to the fullest and now gets to inspire us all for eternity.
We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment…
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment…
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment…
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice…
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment…
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.

September 12, 2001
© Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek
Used with permission from Hope Through Heartsongs, Hyperion, 2002

~:~





B.

You should be an island...


You should be an island to yourself, a refuge to yourself, not dependent on any other but taking refuge in the truth and none other than the truth. And how do you become an island and a refuge to yourself?

In this way:

You see and contemplate your body as composed of all the forces of the universe. Ardently and mindfully you steer your body-self by restraining your discontent with the world about you. In the same way, observe and contemplate your feelings and use that same ardent restraint and self-possession against enslavement by greed or desire.

By seeing attachment to your body and feelings as blocking the truth, you dwell in self-possession and ardent liberation from those ties.

This is how you live as an island to yourself and a refuge to yourself. Whoever dwells in this contemplation, islanded by the truth and taking refuge in the truth--that one will come out of the darkness and into the Light.

-Digha Nikaya





C.

Walking Asleep


Walking asleep, moving in the world disconnected from our essential core, can be dangerous; it means our choices are based not on an accurate picture of what is, but on what we want or fear is true. At best, actions based on an inaccurate picture of what is are unlikely to succeed in creating the change we desire. At worst, they will create greater suffering.


There are a thousand ways to go to sleep, to walk through our lives unaware of and unable to be with what is and so unconscious of what and who we are. Beyond the obvious choices to move away from what is by using a variety of substances --food, alcohol, nicotine, drugs, caffeine--the culturally preferred way of making sure we don't wake up is to keep ourselves perpetually exhausted with constant activity, endless work, and the consumption of overwhelming amounts of information: to do continually. And even when some of us reject the quest for more material wealth or social status, we do not necessarily break the pattern but turn instead to the pursuit of spiritual development. Either way, we are in constant motion internally or externally. We are rarely still. We seldom find silence. We do not rest. And tired people do not want to wake up, don't have the energy to wake up, can't even fathom it as a possibility.

We will never be deeply happy or tuly able to live and love fully until we find our way of living from an awareness of the deep stillness at the center of what we are. It is not so much that what we are at the deepest level wants to wake up, to be aware, to love, to create peace and truth and beauty, but that our essential nature is wakefulness, awareness, love, peace, truth and beauty. To hear The Call we only need to listen. But sometimes we can listen only when our illusions of control and safety have been shattered, when we are lying on the ground --figuratively or literally in the wildnerness-- weeping and ready to say, as RUMI wrote:


I didn't come here of my own accord.

Whoever brought me here will have to come and take me home.


excerpt from THE CALL by Oriah Mountain Dreamer





D.



Yet I realized that my only hope of attaining eternal bliss was by detaching myself from all worldly desires, and by honouring God in every aspect of my life. I knew that I had to leave the mansion of deception, and set out with all vigour towards the house of God. I had to turn away from wealth and position, and flee from all the worldly obligations that consumed my time.

-Ghazali, “al-Munqidh min ad-Dalal”


There are two kinds of speeches and two kinds of silences. Speech is either truth or a falsification, and silence is either fruition or heedlessness. If one speaks the truth, his words are better than his silence, but he who invents falsifications, his silence is better than his speech.-Al-Hujwiri, "The Kashf al-Mahjub"


The truest and highest stage of worship is to see God face to face, and to receive his guidance from his own mouth. Those who attain this highest stage, choose for themselves whatever God chooses for them. Their entire characters are transformed by God. They are God's friends; so they no longer discriminate between people, but regard all people as friends. Wherever they go, they go from God; wherever they arrive, they arrive at God.
Whatever they do, they do for God; whatever service they perform, they perform it in God. The self has been truly annihilated.

Junayd, "Tawhid"




E. THE BLACK HOLE - Os Hillman

..."My grace is sufficient for you...." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

If you are older than 35, you may recall the early days of the space program. I remember the early spacecraft launch with John Glenn. One of the most exciting and tense moments of his return to earth was his reentry to the earth's atmosphere. I recall the diagram on television of the heat shield on the capsule that had to withstand incredible temperatures to avoid complete destruction. There was a blackout period for several minutes in which mission control had no radio contact. He was in the "black hole." It was a tense time. Either he would make it through, or the spacecraft would burn up in the atmosphere. There were several minutes of silence that seemed like an eternity. Then, mission control shouted with joy when they reestablished contact with the spacecraft. It was a time of rejoicing.

Have you ever had a time when you were in a spiritual black hole in your life? I have. The pressure was unbearable. No sense of God's presence. No sense of anything going on around me. God was about as far away as the man in the moon - at least from my perspective. I think every Christian who is called to make a significant difference in his world experiences times like these. These are the times when we question the reality of God, the love of God, the personal care of God. And He demonstrates to us that He was there all the time. These are "faith experiences" that God does in every person who is called to a higher level of relationship with Him. These times are needful in order to know that we have the "heat shield" that can withstand the incredible heat that comes when we follow Him with a whole heart - a heart that is radical in a commitment to fully follow His ways. Elisha had that spirit. He slaughtered his 12 oxen and burned his plowing equipment so that he would not have the opportunity to return to anything if God didn't come through (see 1 Kings 19:21).

The apostle Paul asked God to remove the heat from his own life one time.

God's answer was not what he wanted to hear.

But He said to me, My grace [favor and loving-kindness and mercy] is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect [fulfilled and completed] and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! (2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP)

How's your heat shield today? Can it withstand the heat that would want to burn up everything in your life not based in Him? Christ said, "My grace is sufficient." Is that really true in your life? Let His grace be your shield today.



F.

The basic purpose of human existence is acquisition of knowledge of God; there is no relationship more true than this spiritual affiliation. All other types of relationships are but derivative and dependent upon that spiritual connection, and in themselves nothing to boast of.

Lahiji: Mafatih 573





G.

If, in your course, you don’t meet
your equal, your better,
then continue your course
firmly,
alone.
There’s no fellowship with fools.

-Dhammapada, 6, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.



There is a difference between watching the mind and controlling the mind. Watching the mind with a gentle, open attitude allows the mind to settle down and come to rest. Trying to control the mind, or trying to control the way one's spiritual practice will unfold, just stirs up more agitation and suffering.

-Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness"




Remember the clear light, the pure clear white light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind. The natural state of the universe unmanifest.

Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it. It is your own true nature, it is home.


-Tibetan Book of the Dead



All that we are is the result of our thoughts; it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. If you speak or act with a harmful thought, trouble will follow you as the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.

All that we are is the result of our thoughts; it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. If you speak or act with a harmonious thought, happiness will follow you as your own shadow, never leaving you.

-Dhammapada





H.

If you seek, you will find.

Do not look at your own form, be it beautiful or ugly; look at the true object of your love, and the goal of your search. Do not look at your own state, which is feeble and vile; look at the true object of your hopes and aspirations. In whatever state you are, seek God. Seek God as if your lips were dry and you were seeking water. Dry lips are a sign that you will eventually reach a spring. Dry lips are a message from the water: ‘If you keep searching, you will find me.’ To seek is a blessed activity; it destroys the obstacles on the path to God.

If you seek, you will find.Rumi, "Mathnawi"

~:~



I.

A man approached the Blessed One and wanted to have all his philosophical questions answered before he would practice.

In response, the Buddha said,
“It is as if a man had been wounded by a poisoned arrow and when attended to by a physician were to say, ‘I will not allow you to remove this arrow until I have learned the caste, the age, the occupation, the birthplace, and the motivation of the person who wounded me.’ That man would die before having learned all this. In exactly the same way, anyone who should say, ‘I will not follow the teaching of the Blessed One until the Blessed One has explained all the multiform truths of the world’-that person would die before the Buddha had explained all this.”-from the Majjhima Nikaya

EDEN's Sabbatical in HelioHouse of The Greater World Earthship Community, 
Tres Piedras, NM - January/February 2007

The place I decompressed from New York City and began my journey into the Land of Enchantment.



J.

HIS HOLINESS, THE DALAI LAMA

Forming a new world religion is difficult and not particularly desirable. However, in that love is essential to all religions, one could speak of the universal religion of love.
~:~
As long as there is a lack of the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, no matter what external facilities or conditions you have, they will never give you the feeling of joy and happiness that you are seeking. On the other hand, if you possess this inner quality of calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, then even if you lack various external facilities that you would normally consider necessary for happiness, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life.

~:~

Nature’s Law dictates that, in order to survive, bees must work together. As a result, they instinctively possess a sense of social responsibility. They have no constitution, no law, no police, no religion or moral training, but because of their nature, they labor faithfully together. Occasionally, they may fight, but in general, based on cooperation, the whole colony survives. We human beings have a constitution, laws and a police force. We have religion, remarkable intelligence and a heart with a great capacity for love. We have many extraordinary qualities, but in actual practice, I think we are lagging behind those small insects. In some respects, I feel we are poorer than the bees.

~:~


Generally speaking, even if money brings us happiness, it tends to be the kind which money can buy: material things and sensory experiences. And these, we discover, become a source of suffering themselves. As far as actual possessions are concerned, we must admit that they often cause us more, not less, difficulty in life. The car breaks down, we lose our money, our most precious belongings are stolen, our house is damaged by fire.
Or we worry about these things happening.

~:~

I believe there is an important distinction to be made between religion and spirituality. Religion I take to be concerned with belief in the claims to salvation of one faith tradition or another--an aspect of which is acceptance of some form of meta-physical or philosophical reality, including perhaps an idea of heaven or hell. Connected with this are religious teachings or dogma, ritual, prayers and so on. Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit--such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony, which bring happiness to both self and others.

~:~


The threshold between right and wrong is pain.-His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Imagine All the People




K. excerpts from 365 Tao by Deng Ming-Dao

and

Tao Te Ching


36.
OVERCOMING


That which shrinks, Must first expand.
That which fails, Must first be strong.
That which is cast down, Must first be raised.
Before receiving, There must be giving.


This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.


Fish cannot leave deep waters,
And a country's weapons should not be displayed.



L.

76.
AGAINST TRUSTING IN STRENGTH


Man is born gentle and supple. At death, his body is brittle and hard. Living plants are tender, and filled with life-giving sap, but at their death they are withered and dry.

The stiff, the hard, and brittle are harbingers of death, and gentleness and yielding are the signs of that which lives. The warrior who is inflexible condemns himself to death, and the tree is easily broken, which never refuses to yield. Thus the hard and brittle will surely fall, and the soft and supple will overcome.





M.


The wealth of this world, which God has bestowed on you, brings only fleeting pleasure. Far better and more enduring is God's reward to those who believe and put their trust in him; who shun the gross sins and indecencies; who, when angered, are quick to forgive; who obey their Lord, and are regular in their prayers; who take advice from other believers when they must make important decisions; who give to others part of the wealth which God gives them; and who, when injustice occurs, strive to restore justice.-Qur'an, Ash-Shura, Surah 42:36-39




N.


Distant ridges, far away clouds
All events come from a distance.
With a high vantage point,
Foretelling the future is elementary.


VANTAGE



It is often superstitiously said that the one who follows Tao knows magic. This is nonsense. Superiority is simply a matter of using the best of one's abilities and being in the right position. For example, a wise person who lives high in the mountains and who is not blinded by wine, sensuality, intellectuality, poor health, or greed will be better able to see events in the distance than one who lives in a closed room, eyes on some obscure project.

A storm does not happen abruptly; it takes hours, sometimes days, to develop. Travelers do not arrive suddenly; they can be seen in the distance. Knowing things in advance is possible with a high vantage point. For this reason, the follower of Tao appears to know magic.




O.

An opening in the storming sea,
Gold deposited on bones.
Once accumulation has begun,
Take care not to interfere.


ACCUMULATION

There is a fable about a pious man whose father had just died. A geomancer instructed the son to bury his father at the mouth of the sea cave. The sea opened at this spot only once in a hundred years, and a family who utilized it would experience great fortune. Although he had misgivings about this unorthodox location, the son threw the casket into the waters at the indicated time.

For weeks the son doubted what he had done. He eventually went to acompeting geomancer who, out of jealousy, advised the son to raise the casket. The son did so. When the coffin was brought up and opened, the man saw that a fine layer of gold had already deposited on his father's bones-a clear indication of the auspicious transformation that had begun. In regret, the son wanted to throw his father back in, but it was too late. There was no remedying what had been done.

Spiritual practice must be uninterrupted. We may be anxious because we see very little happening on a daily basis, but we must be patient until we can see what the accumulation of our effort yields. Self-cultivation means steady, gradual progress. To stop prematurely would be more disastrous than never having started at all.



P.

"The one who wanders independent in the world, free from opinions and viewpoints, does not grasp them and enter into disputations and arguments. As the lotus rises on its stalk unsoiled by the mud and the water, so the wise one speaks of peace and is unstained by the opinions of the world."-Sutta Nipata

Q.
Invisibility is the best advantage.
But if forced to a confrontation,
Come out with all of your skill.


INVISIBILITY
There was once a roadside vendor who sold rheumatism formulas to the passerby. He was a cheery old man who was faithfully at his spot for years. One day a young bully began to harass the vendor. The old man tired very hard to avoid the confrontation, but eventually the bully became covinced that he had a coward to abuse as he pleased. When the moment of attack came, the old man defeated him with superior boxing skills. Significantly, the old man was never seen again. He had manifested his superiority at a critical moment, but once he had exposed himself, he disappeared.

In this competitive world, it is best to be invisible. Go through life without showing off, attracting attention to yourself, or making flamboyant gestures. These will only attract the hostility of others. The wise accomplish all that they want without arousing the envy or scorn of others. They make achievements only for the sake of fulfilling their inner yearnings.

Yet it is inevitable that you will have to prove yourself at one time or another. When that is necessary, then you must marshal all of your skills, and do your best. Prove yourself when it is demanded, and when you must prove yourself, be superior. At that moment, it is no time to talk of philosophy and humility. ACT. DO. Then fade back into invisibiltiy.


R.

When a believer gives in to temptation, a black stain appears on his heart. If he repents and asks for forgiveness, that stain disappears. But if he continues to transgress, the stain continues to grow until it blackens the entire heart. That stain is the rust the Lord Almighty refers to: "Nay, rust has fallen upon their hearts for what they have earned."-The Prophet Muhammad, as reported by Abu Hurairah


S.
When yo u drin k water,
Remember it's source.


GRATITUDE
If your spiritual understanding is sound, then you will constan tly be aware of the subtleties of life. If you fritter away your concentration on minor entertainment and trivial distractions, then you will never attain a profound level of awareness.

It is not the grand sweeping religious celebrations and heroic moments in life that are the only important spiritual occasions. Every ordinary moment, every little detail should be a celebration of your personal understanding. Your smallest act should be permeated with reverence.

One of our most basic acts is drinking water. Without it, we could not sustain ourselves. Water cleanses us, cools us, and it is an essential component of most of our biological processes. But, when we drink it, are we aware of what it does? Do we think of it's source and all the efforts that make it possible for us to have this simple glass of water?

Being spiritual means not taking things for granted. Quite the opposite, you remember how everything that comes to you fits into an overall scheme. You acknowledge the precious quality of everyday things. And, you maintain a gratitude for both the good and the bad in your life.


T.
In late summer, heaven's breath is damply hot.
It smothers the earth with dullness.
Suddenly, thick clouds gather:
A wave of polar air passes like a frigid rake.
Acorns fall like bullets,
And a new wind breaks through.


BREAKTHROUGH
When the air is hot and humid, there is feeling of dullness and stagnation. Everyone is oppressed by lassitude. As the seasons begin changing, fresh air comes from the artic. Clouds that have been building up begin to dispense rain, and damp air is exchanged for fresh, cool breezes. At night, the heavens are changing so quickly that lightning flashes from colliding clouds, and thunder heralds the revolving of the skies.

The same is true of human life. If the heavens cannot endure stagnation for long, how can stagnation last with us? If we find ourselves blocked and frustrated in life, we must look for the inevitable outlet. Nothing is permanent, so how can our obstacles last? We need to look for the first opportunity to set things moving again.

On the other hand, sometimes stagnation comes from our own laziness or incompetence. In this case, then it is we who must show initiative and stimulate a breakthrough in dull circumstances. As soon as we see a chance, we must act. Unless we engage ourselves and events fully, we cannot expect to act sufficiently.


U.

Unbelievers follow their own whims and vain conjectures—even though the guidance of the Lord has come to them. Can people attain all that they desire? God ordains all that happens in this life, and in the life to come.-Qur'an, An-Najm, Surah 53:23b-25

V.
If the boulders are moved,
Even a river will change its flow.


FLOW
Except for occasional flooding, the mightiest river keeps to its bed. It flows where it finds openings between cliffs and rocks. If the river is dammed, if the cliff walls are moved, if the boulders are shifted, it will flow a different course. It could even be made to flow backwards if the earth moved far enough.

So it is with the flow of our lives. Once the fixed objects of our lives shift, our circumstances change. If we move to another city, life will change. If we marry one person over another, life will be different. If we situate our business in a good neighborhood, life will be prosperous. If we choose a house in a good setting, life will be healthy. If we arrange our furniture properly, life will be comfortable. If we eat correctly, life will be prolonged. In short, followers of Tao realize that the flow of life can be affected and to some degree consciously manipulated simply by altering it's parameters.

Life is the flow of energy. It is the air that we breathe, the force that moves the weather, the force of all minds combined. It keeps the rivers flowing, our hearts beating, and the sky blue. This flow of energy moves constantly according to the fixed points that exist at any given moment. Therefore, by manipulating the cardinal points of our lives, we can change the flow. The freedom to choose and to change belongs to us.


W.
Make the crooked straight,
Make the straight to flow.
Gather water, fire, and light.
Bring the world to a single point.


DEVOTION
If we have devotion -- total faith and commitment to our spiritual path -- our determination will naturally build momentum. Fewer and fewer obstructions will come before us. Our path becomes like a crooked one made straight. No matter what trys to keep us from our purpose, we will not be deterred.

Proper devotion lies not simply in a headlong course. It also requires fortitude. Our bodies, our hearts, and our spirits must be totally concentrated upon what we want. Only by uniting all our inner elements can we have full devotion.

If we see our path clearly and our personalities are completely unified, then there's no distincton between the outer world and the inner one. Nothing is far away anymore, nothing is not open to us. That is why it is said that the world is like a single point: so strong is devotion that there is nothing that is not a part of it.


X.
Do not seek sustenance from people.
God is the real Provider. If He wills a certain person to be the means of your livelihood, do not consider that person to be in control of your destiny. Have faith and be certain in the knowledge that your daily bread does not depend upon any mortal, but upon God who created all.

-Al-Hajwiri, "The Kashf al-Mahjub"

Y.


...'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' -- Romans 4:3

Each morning we awake and go about our day based on one of two beliefs: Either we believe in God and our every action is motivated by this central value, or we do not really believe and our actions reflect so.

You can be a believer yet act as though there is no God. Whenever you fret over life circumstances, you immediately demonstrate unbelief. Whenever you move out of fear or anxiety, you believe a lie about God's nature.

Each day your actions affirm or convict you of your belief system. It reveals who the central focus of your life really is-you or God. It reveals who you place your ultimate trust in-you or God. It is one of the great paradoxes for believers. One day we can believe Him to move mountains. The next day we can question His very existence.

Peter believed God and walked on water.

A sick woman touched the hem of His garment and was healed.

A Canaanite woman believed and freed her daughter from demon-possession.

In what circumstances do you act as an "unbeliever"? Ask God to increase your level of trust so that your actions match up with one who believes every day.

-Os Hilman




Z.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. ~

Romans 8:13-14

Joshua and Caleb are described in Scripture as men who had a different spirit.

They were two of the 12 spies sent into the Promised Land to determine if it could be taken, as God had promised it to them. The other ten gave a bad report that instilled fear in the people, which ultimately caused a rebellion. This resulted in an entire generation dying in the desert. Joshua and Caleb were the only two who were led by the Spirit of God, versus the spirit of fear. They were the only ones to enter the Promised Land from their generation.

Are you a person led by the Spirit?

The verse above tells us that those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God. "But because My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows Me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it" (Num. 14:24). Caleb was a Romans 8:14 man! The Spirit led him. He was not led by fear.

Many of us have failed to enter into our own Promised Land because we have failed to be led by the Spirit rather than by fear. Fear prevents us from entering into what God has promised for each of us. God has reserved an inheritance for us that is exceedingly good. God described the Promised Land as a land of milk and honey. Our own Promised Land is the same. But you must be led by the Spirit to enter in. You cannot be led by fear, reason and analysis, or even skill. The Spirit must lead you.

Commit yourself to being a Romans 8:14 man or woman. Then you will enter into the land God has promised for you.

-Os Hilman




This is a Biblical search engine: You can research any scripture (i.e., Psalms 23:2), book of the Bible, subject or person (i.e., JESUS). The drop down bar allows you to choose the translation or other helpful reference material. ENJOY!!

Search the Bible:






We are all HARBINGERS.

Heed The Call.



RECOMMENDED READING by `E D E N




THE HOLY BIBLE:


NEW LIVING TRANSLATION - This is one of the most accurate translations, I believe, of the Holy Scriptures from their original texts. If possible, get the TouchPoint Translation as it contains a topical index that allows the reader to immediately search and find biblical answers to questions of depression, anger, faith, ...etc. 

THE MESSAGE BIBLE - This a narrative bible, written in prose form without the scripture notations. Excellent for a younger reader or a reader that likes to get the gist of a story instead of the literal translation. It's great for a straight-forward, no holds barred type of personality who wants the spirit of the truth in succinct and distinct language.


THE BEST OF THE BIBLE:

365 Must-Read Bible Passages. This book from Tyndale House Publishers is a great companion to the Holy Scriptures and allows you an overall view of the Bible with choice story and parables extracted for daily readings over a year's time. It's from 1996 and uses the New Living Translation as it's foundation.



 
TAO TE CHING:

This book of verses written by Lao-tzu actually proceeds those of the scrolls from which the Holy Scriptures are derived. However even more interestingly are the unique similarities of these Lao-tzu verses to those words and parables attributed to Jesus the Christ. This booklet, as translated by Stephen Mitchell, is single-handedly responsible for the evolution of my faith in 1996 when I first read the Tao. I found these verses to be particularly enlightening and a catalyst to examining closer the teachings of Jesus and eventually many of the major prophets of our time. The similarities of all of their lessons seem to have a root and direct correlation to Lao-tzu, who proceeded them all. Many translations abound, but I prefer the simple language of Stephen Mitchell's 1988 release.



365 TAO:

These daily meditations written and compiled by Deng Ming-Dao are really good. So good, in fact, that I've personally given this one book as a gift at least on a dozen or so occasions. I believe without any doubt, if anyone reads even one meditation of this devotion, they will come again and again to it as a reference book for a myriad of subjects. There's a guide in back that allows the reader to read meditations according to their corresponding 'day' and 'season', depending on the whether you live in the northern or southern hemispheres as the belief in Taoism is that certain teachings are more applicable in their proper season.., but every page is a gem and filled with insight into our psyche and the mysterious of our connection to nature in all that we think and do. I highly recommend this book!



THE PARALLEL SAYINGS series:

Expounding on the previous referenced subject of comparisons in the teachings of Jesus to the those in the Tao te Ching to Lao-tzu, other authors also citing those similarities have compiled a most impressive series of paralled sayings. These are my favorites:


JESUS and LAO-TZU - edited by Martin Aronson, published in 2000 (Hardback) and 2003(Paperback) by Seastone, an imprint of Ulysses Press.

JESUS and MUHAMMAD - edited by Joey Green, published in 2003 (Hardback and Paperback) by Seastone, an imprint of Ulyssess Press.

JESUS and BUDDAH - edited by Marcus Borg, published in 1997 (Hardback) and 1999 (Paperback) by Seastone, an imprint of Ulyssess Press


Prepare to be amazed at the how similar a path these fathers of faith followed. I've since learned to listen more closely to those that I believe are fundamentally different from my understanding and practice of faith in prayerful expectation that I'll discover our similar truths.



The LOST SUTRAS of JESUS:

This book is a fairly new one in the world of publishing, although it's source material was in existence around the same time of the Lost Scrolls. In 635 C.E., a small sect of Christian Monks traveled the silk road from Persia to the imperial China. Once in China, at the behest of the Tang Dynasty, the monks set out to translate into Chinese the sacred texts that had carried in that 3000 mile trek. Influenced by the Buddists and Taoists they had met along their travels, the Persians monks translated their scrolls in a mixture of Christianity and Eastern wisdoms. These 'sutras' (interwoven) were then hidden in a cave along with other important manuscripts in 1000 C.E. due to unrest in the political climate of ancient China. In 1900, a Taoist monk restoring cave paintings in western China, accidentally discovered the sealed cavern that housed these priceless artifacts and manuscripts. The findings were removed from the caves but remained in relative obsurity in academic institutions for the next hundred years. With the discovery of one of the monk's original monasteries in 1998, these sutras would become, again, a much celebrated discovery in this present incarnation from Seastone Publishers, 2003, of Ulyssess Press. Edited by Ray Riegert and Thomas Moore, Jesus Sutras tells of a time and place when Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism chanted in three part harmony. A most enlightening read!!




Rabbi Jesus by Bruce Chilton

This is a very therapeutic read for those that have always known Jesus to be a Jew. Seems like a radical thought, were it not historically accurate. This 'intimate biography' of the Jewish Life and Teaching that inspired Christianity is simply a marvel in it's scholarship. The Right Reverend Frederick Houk Borsch, Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles, writes, "Rabbi Jesus is as close as any reader is likely to get to the historical Jesus. Drawing on his profound knowledge of the ancient literature and archaeology, Bruce Chilton uses this scholarsip and an informed imagination to present a bold biography of Jesus. One can see and hear, smell and tast the texture of Jesus' everyday and dramatic life."



Finally, the category of self-improvement. 


I've found the most incredible growth from a unique and varied group of writers.





REPOSITION YOURSELF by TD JAKES

An anointed accounting of this incredible minister's rise to fame and what obstacles stood in the way of that eventual success. He not only shares in depth of his own experiences, but gives the reader to the tools to see their life as it really is, and how to overcome the obstacles to your destiny. Extremely succinct and to the point. Don't read this book, if you want to stay exactly as you are.

Published in 2007 by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc, New York, NY.



The Way of the Wizard by Deepak Chopra

These twenty spiritual lessons for creating the life you want are a must read for those searching for inner peace over super-imposed dogma. Deepak encourages a 'shift' in perception for acheiving a higher consciousness as he takes the reader on a spiritual quest. He conjures the voice of Merlin as the wisest self, imparting teachings to a young soon to be King, Arthur, who represents the jumble of emotions and inconsistencies that often impose limitations on our ultimate goals. Published in 1995 by Harmony Books of Random House.



The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I remember how I found this little gem. Someone was reading it on a New York subway and I copied down the title and author unbeknownst to it's reader. I had become particularly attuned to 'signs' as I sensed a 'change coming' in my own personal growth. This book, and many others by the author, is magical in it's simplicity. I've sinced discovered that it's counted as a favorite among many. Published in 1988, it's the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who travels in seach of a worldly treasure but the treasures he discovers along the way and they way he learns to 'listen' to his own heart, is a story for the ages. It's sold millons of copies and has been translated in most languages. If you can, try and find The Illustrated Alchemist with paintings by Moebius, published by HarperFlamingo, an imprint of HarperCollins.



The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

This is wisdom for those who want to know the bottom line. Building on the golden rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), this author reminds us that the key to living simply is to live intentionally. Becoming painfully aware that for every action, there's a an equal reaction. For every 'cause', ...a 'source. Published in 1997 by Amber-Allen Publishing, a Companion Book would follow in 2000 to expound even futher on these simple 'rules' to living authentically.




The Call by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

What a jouney this book is!! I can't prepare you enough for the truthfulness in which this author writes. She's a no holds barred lady with a wicked wit but her insights into her own depression will allow all those with deeper callings a sense of kinship in her revelations. A must read for those who believe their lives are designed for larger missions. What is 'The Call' of all of our lives? Oriah allows each of us to uncover answers to the buring question of 'why' we're here. Published in 2003 by HarperSanFransico of HarperCollins, "The Call" completes the triology of "The Invitation and "The Dance".



The Soul's Code by James Hillman

The subtitle of this book is "In Search of Character and Calling" and doesn't dissappoint. It's not a particularly lazy afternoon sort of read. Written from a scholarly and very viseral approach, it's nonetheless a most excellent read and guides insight into the anatomy of the spiritual quest. His findings are provocative and somewhat controversial, but for those that need more substance than faith, this is your book. I'm really pleased I read it and I do remember how I discovered it.., the author was a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. It's one of the few times I actually felt compelled to seek out the book in discussion. It was a search well worth it. Published in 1996 by Random House.

 



PATH of EMPOWERMENT by Barbara Marciniak

So much of this latest book by Ms. Marciniak explains the world we're living in and that alone would make this a most important read. For me, the extreme relevance of this book is much deeper. It will serve as a validation to those of you that have long believed that we are 'not alone' in our universe. In fact, we live in a multiverse and this group known as the Pleiadians that Ms. Marciniak channels, has some sage advice for these troubled times. Regardless of your personal beliefs, you owe it to yourself to read this book with an open heart..., you'll be surprised at just how much of it truly makes perfect sense and you'll experience a profound relief to learn how you can affect change in your immediate community, if you would just listen and pay heed to those that have gone before us. Published in 2004 by Inner Ocean Publishing, Inc.






Wholiness by Brother Douglas

Yes, after reading all these other's words, it was time to write down one of my own. This is a short, self-published booklet about a special period of change in my life. I learned to love myself after years of self-loathing and denial: a period of darkness that ended in glorious LIGHT. Published in 2003 by EdenDust and Lulu Publishing.

There are others through the same link above that includes three devotionals and the novel, EdenDust.

ENJOY !!!

(c) 2006 - EDENDUST PUBLISHING - BMI


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