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Departments: | Book, Music & Movie Reviews | Cover Artist
Features | Departments | Articles | Alternative Health | Home

 

Reviews

Title: The Presence Process
Author:
Michael Brown
ISBN: 0-82533-0537-3
www.namastepublishing.com

This is a brilliantly lucid work and a very important book. The publisher of The Power of Now, this year bring us The Presence Process. Although, in truth, both works stand alone impeccably, Michael Brown's book seems to pick up where the Eckhardt Tolle work left off. The Presence Process elaborates on a similar theoretical foundation by engaging us in a simple and concrete process designed to solidify our abidance in the Now.

Tolle, Brown and others have defined our true identity as Pure Presence and might assert that pain and dysfunction don't really exist, are merely illusions born of time and mind. Acknowledging the convincing (if illusory) tyranny of mind and time, however, Brown's work promotes conscious integration of the unconscious phenomena that distract attention from our true nature.

For readers new to these ideas, certain of Brown's assertions may be radical and challenging. However, those who celebrated the eloquence and irrefutable wisdom of Eckhardt Tolle's classic, or most anyone on the path of integrated consciousness, will find this book an exceptionally incisive reminder and synthesis of realizations poignantly familiar or inevitably forthcoming on this journey. It thus offers valuable and practical support.

In The Presence Process, Brown has assembled, from his own experience, a blend of wisdom and tools reminiscent of psycho-spiritual and self-help disciplines we may recognize from elsewhere. Anticipating this, he carefully explains the distinctions in practice and intent — of his own.

This workbook, of sorts, guides us through stages of insight and integration using the steady rhythm of a three-fold practice. We are offered a foundational breathing practice, which promotes focus and presence and illuminates hidden emotional material; a weekly activating statement; and accompanying readings.

A particular virtue of this Process would seem to be its simplicity, which makes it a "do-able" means of delving deeply and gently into, and reconciling, the modes of human existence that can seem to work at cross purposes. His insight is refreshing; and his understanding of mechanisms that stand in our way gives the author credibility and the reader comfort and courage.

Given the cumulative nature of this journey, I did wonder how much the degree of transformation cultivated in this Process is contingent upon a reader's existing level of self-awareness and previous experience with meditation and self-inquiry. This should discourage no one, however — novice or veteran. The journey is, after all, infinite and inevitable; moreover, the tools and support we need at each step tend to present themselves when we are ripe to employ them.

The length and repetitiveness of the book's exposition may put off some readers. Brown acknowledges this early on. In a way these very challenges serve to measure the focus and motivation of the practitioner. Each one must tap his own wisdom, patience and willingness to persevere. This self-responsibility is a fundamental factor in the success of the endeavor. The planet can only benefit from this book's success in reaching and inspiring each soul ready and willing to humbly and courageously embrace wholeness!

Title: A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose
Author:
Eckhardt Tolle
ISBN: 0-525-94802-3
Publishers: Namaste and Dutton, 2005

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
Revelation

A New Earth is Eckhardt Tolle's first full-length book since 1999's landmark, The Power of Now. That isnāt surprising since The Power of Now pretty much said it all; and it has continued to reach and sustain people through repeated readings and through follow-up releases that refine and embellish its themes (e.g. Even the Sun Must Die, Practicing the Power of Now, and Stillness Speaks).

In truth, the same themes are again examined in A New Earth, the first two thirds of which serve as a cumulative compendium of the wisdom Tolle has so eloquently offered to date. These lay the foundation for the final third of the book, which deepens the discussion into practical and cosmological relevance for these quickening times and the evolutionary shifts he affirms are inevitably underway.

"You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are," states Tolle in The Power of Now. The focus of A New Earth is to clarify that purpose and how it plays out in the universal as well as individual realms — all inextricably intertwined.

"Your life has an inner purpose and an outer purpose. Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary. Outer purpose concerns doing and is secondary," Tolle states in one of the final chapters. "Your inner purpose is to awaken. You share that with every other person on the planet. Your outer purpose can change over time [and] varies greatly from person to person. Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose."

The purpose of A New Earth is to support the universal purpose by supporting each individual in realizing his purpose (which thus supports every other individual in his own realization). It is about aligning consciously with the common interest of all. There are numerous beautiful, eloquent passages and metaphors in the unfolding of A New Earth. The expanded discussion of the gifts, traps and manifestations of the Pain Body is particularly astute. Along the way, Tolle reminds us how just recognizing who we are not is key to realizing who we are.

He illustrates how even tangible, solid things are perceived through thought filters, so that everything is actually thought and how thought itself is of world of form. He explains how who we are arises from, and is, the "nothingness" around this and including it.

He infuses familiar contemplative tools with grounding insight for instance, "This too shall pass" must be applied not only to negative experience but equally to all that can be perceived.

Although much may be a review for some readers, and even though the mind may throw up "I know's" and push to skip ahead. Drink deep. The sections within the chapters are relatively brief, deliberately designed for digestive pauses in between. This itself demonstrates keen understanding of the human mind and how to compassionately employ it to best advantage in the game of Awakening in which it plays double agent.

Every paragraph holds great gifts and prepares us for the final chapters in which this readers found the greatest rewards.

The familiarity (for some readers) of the book's themes and assertions makes it no less valuable. The clarity, assurance, precision and sagacity with which Tolle communicates awakens the same spacious lucidity and knowing within the reader. Listening to this illumined voice, we recognize the flame of this Truth dancing in every cell and space of our being. As we read, these flames merge and feed each other. It's rather like the inspiring and replenishing effect of passing an evening by the fire in the quiet, safe company of a wise friend. Such is the steady companionship of the true Self.

Title: The Secret Life of Water
Author:
Masaru Emoto (translated by David Thayne)
ISBN: 0-7432-8992-X
ATRIA Books, Beyond Words Publishing

<The Secret Life of Water is the latest in Masaru Emoto's contemplations on the increasingly precious treasure and teachings held for us in water. This friendly little volume follows Emoto's original and still influential bestseller The Hidden Messages of Water and its sequels Messages in Water (I-III) and The Power of Water. Its focus is the wisdom accrued by water in its own evolutionary and cyclical travels as a component of life itself, from its origins and journey through space to Earth and its myriad forms and functions on the planet./p>

The theses of all these books extrapolate from photography of ice crystals infused with various sentiments (love, gratitude, derision), essences (Hinduism, spring water, chamomile) and concepts (war, peace). These beautiful images continue to have poignant and inspiring impact that, effortlessly as ever, transcends the text in which they are nestled.

These pictures reinforce quantum arguments about the subtle inter-connectedness and communicativity among all seemingly separate things in the universe. Demonstrating how water remembers and carries vibratory signatures imparted by nature or focused human intention yields the suggestion: If living beings are composed mostly of water, imagine what power thoughts, prayer and intention have to influence life and perception throughout the cosmos! Water is not only a sacred medium of life but of intelligence.

As in What the Bleep..., (which cites Emoto's work) the evidence and implications presented gently return responsibility, power and hope squarely to our individual laps, exhorting us to take another look, take courage and dive in: To clear our hearts, minds and bodies of the clutter and oppression of negative, limiting thoughts, beliefs and habits, and see the transformation inevitably engendered within reflected in the "outer" world.

The Secret Life of Water is not hard science; and one who intuits the truth asserted in Emoto's writings, which meander like a long, leisurely river, might wish he included more documentation of his claims. Perhaps, though, that is like asking a bird to prove the existence of air or the sea anemone, water.

These books remind me of the sermons of an admired and ingenuous pastor, whose homilies one attends weekly for a dose of reassurance and remembrance of that which one already hopes, believes, or knows to be true. Whether his poetry would convince someone uninitiated to this faith is uncertain. Like so many intimate with the mystery and miracle of the Tao, he will live in celebration, ever sharing his gratitude and conviction, regardless of whether the sounds of the revelry and witness of his growing "congregation" awakes the "gospel" in the non-observant and late sleepers.

While he does acknowledge the importance of his message and its relevance to humankind's present ecological and spiritual "predicament," Emoto's message carries the simple and irrepressibly appreciative innocence of a child, who cannot help but giggle in the face of a dour face and pessimistic outlook. The child knows a secret; and he knows you know the secret, too; and he wonders when you will remember; and he will meanwhile splash around in Life's vibrant miracle, sprinkling you with reminders, inviting, maybe hoping, but never insisting, that you join him in play, as he bathes in the nourishing, wise womb of water.

Title: What the Bleep do We Know?! Discovering the Endless Possibilities for Altering your Everyday Reality
Authors:
William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente (with Jack Forem and Elen Erwin)
ISBN: 0-7573-0334 -X
2006, Health Communications, Inc.

What a flirtation Life is. We all seem to know it's worth it, but "Why?" is the Big Secret. This book dances closer to answers.

Although in their final words they disclaimed it being the final word, at last the creators of the film What the Bleep!?! have published the book version. One could spend paragraphs discussing the pros and cons of the written versus filmic medim for this information. Ultimately each has its advantages and limitations.

For those who have yet to see the film, the best advice would be to tuck away this magazine and go do so, and then to revisit this review (or skip directly to the book). Second best would be to read book first. However, compelling as the book can be, both book and film are finally about applying the information presented in your own life; and for that, the kinetic impact of the film, and oneās engagement with it, are invaluable.

Both book and film explore where the frontiers of science and spirit merge in the realm of quantum phenomena. One advantage of the book is a more leisurely and in-depth examination of background information: the historic factors, forces and concepts on which its arguments are based. For this alone, I would recommend reading it very highly.

The ideas in What the Bleep!?! are meant to apply as tools in our evolutionary toolkit, to help us examine, transfigure or transcend the societal paradigms and biochemical phenomena that help binds us in our boxes and stifle our potential as limitlessly creative forces of nature. In this way, it is, in a sense, a workbook, a launch pad.

It is a challenging read, in multiple ways. The concepts themselves are quintessentially mind-bending. When honestly and deeply reflected upon, this material is at once empowering and terrifying: inspiring of great hope and excitement, and demanding great courage, conviction and responsibility.

The authors intentionally employ very familiar metaphors and (informal and interactive) language in presenting these ideas, so as to make them as simple, accessible and playful as possible, and to ease the necessarily unsettling affect of their implications. Alas, they donāt always succeed. Even so, What the Bleep??! serves as a grand primer and bibliography for exploring the many topics and questions it raises and can only begin to address.

Sometimes it seemed to be more the writing than the concept that required me to reread passages several times to lock into the meaning intended. Some passages seemed to lack a coherency I intuited was possible. I came to recognize that this, along with most of my complaints with the book, were wonderful demonstrations of the very phenomena the material sought to illuminate.

Just as classical physicists found Quantum Physics unsettling to their established laws and assumptions, I met my own irritation and rigidity in what I considered the authorsā indulgences and sloppiness with language and idiom (and occasionally "fact"). I chose to recognize and embrace the greater message, for which language is a woefully inadequate medium to begin with!

If the reader will indulge the following metaphor, the overall experience of this book was, for me, like reading a book about what's above the roof while pressed against the ceiling. Reading was challenged in the dim of being above the conventional light source. As my eyes tracked the lines on the page, I derived as much understanding from the intuitive knowledge illuminated within by focusing on the truth and energy behind or beyond the words and concepts.

Leaning into the invincible, compassionate force of these new ideas relentlessly crushed the skull against the ceiling of all previously held understandings, in hope that something would give: the ceiling (societal paradigms, perhaps?) or my skull (read: mind, limited perception).

To better understand this review, you may have to read the book! To best understand the book, you may have to give up an addiction to understanding. To understand how, I suggest you read the book. I can tell you it's worth it. It's your choice to find out why.

Title: Angels and Earth Songs
Artist:
Carolyn Nayana Hedger
www.musicalpathways.com

Mount Shasta's Carolyn Hedger has at last released her new CD, another collection of songs exploring life's kaleidoscope of moods and wonders. These selections celebrate the innocent in us all, most often with the recurring imagery of angels and the Mother.

Joining Hedger on this disc are a number of accomplished musical friends, including Paul Armitage, whose piano perfectly and sensitively supports the bittersweet tenderness of the human experience evoked in the words.

The general beauty and simplicity of the melodies and lyrics, and the accessible structure of the songs, make them easy to learn and sing, infectious (in the best possible way) and inspiring. To sing them invokes the company of angels. The gentle smile in Hedger's voice seems to carry assurance and gratitude of a child and a survivor, and it speaks to the same in the listener. This mutual inspiration is indeed something to embrace and sing about. It's especially uplifting to sing these songs with others, so catch Carolyn live if you can!

Title: When Angels Dream 2
Artist:
Anton Mizerak and Friends
www.shastasong.com

It is always a pleasure to listen to these musicians and friends performing and collaborating, because the sense of natural fluidity and familiarity they seem to have with their instruments and one another brings a gift of ease and welcome to the listener.

Ease is indeed what was intended for the listener of this CD, a sequel to the first When Angels Dream CD, designed to accompany and promote healing in both professional and personal settings.

Anton and friends create a nourishing, evocative soundscape in which esraj (a soulful, Mid-eastern, stringed instrument), bamboo flute, operatic voice and even harmonica feature as what feel like the rich, comforting voices of mentoring angels, reassuring us as we rest cradled upon clouds that glide and churn gently through the realms and elements created by the backdrop of keyboard and guitar.

The friends with whom Anton gratefully collaborates on this project include: Manose, whose sublime flute play seems to carry the sensuous smile of Krisna himself; Benjy Wertheimer, whose skill and sensibility on the esraj transmit pure and otherworldly longing; and Virenia Lind, whose soprano manages to blend here and appease this listener who rarely associates operatic vocals with relaxation!

The musical themes on this collection are based on classical Indian ragas for healing, but one hardly need know this to enjoy the effect! Most of them come from the raga Sindhi Bhairavi. Bhairavi is the name of a most wrathful expression of Kali, consort of Shiva — the aspect of the Hindu trinity who governs healing and transformation. The music here, though, is anything but wrathful, reminding us that while true healing and evolution may not be comfortable, resistance is futile, and the compassionate and ever-present breath of Grace carries us through it all. These sounds offered by Anton and friends encourage us to surrender into the eye of the storm. Enjoy the ride.

 

Departments: | Book, Music & Movie Reviews | Cover Artist
Features | Departments | Articles | Alternative Health | Home

 

Cover Artist

Zenon Michalak

To contact the artist check out the web addresses roundtablevisions.com and spiritofmagdalene.com. For personal phone dialogue phone (928) 300-8306.

Zenon is presently locating his new masterpiece studio in Sebastapol in northern California.

Zenon was born in Nottingham England in 1948. Some 40 years later, after gathering the seeds of American culture, especially as concerns the New emerging consciousness of spiritual Awareness, Zenon can now review his Visionary life and synthesize the many diverse parts. His singular lifestream has become a Storybook that sought the essential Codes that ultimately could aid others in the spiritual pursuit of Direct Knowledge.

A sojourn in Reno, Nevada and a University diploma in Art and English culminated in his first Creation Series of acrylic paintings and the image of "the Source," providing the initial Conception of the Work.

During his 20 years in Mt. Shasta where his "Grail Vision Series" in stained glass was birthed, many inspirations concerning Myth and the Realm of Archetype were gathered. Through the refinement of this emerging Languaging System and the rewriting of the Texts, inspired by Source Intelligence he saw how he struggled to ultimately convey the Codes through a Living Light Intelligence (LLI) that concerns the Future world.

Zenon's extensive travels to Hawaii, Europe and foreign places provided the catalytic ingredient of shift & change to enriched the Pattern. Thus were provided the many Rainbow filaments for the Future Synthesis to be formalized in this Magnum Opus known as "The Great Work" in Alchemy.

 

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