Welcome to day 8 of our Cookbook for a Sacred Life virtual course!
Today our topic is Study.
Today is about spiritual study, and how we can use this technique to bring us closer to truth.
Ram Dass says:
Study, like mantra, is a technique for bringing you closer to the higher (more conscious) ideas of higher beings. As a member of a culture which dotes on collecting knowledge, you may first set out on the path wanting to read what is written about higher consciousness. You might get books about the history of mysticism, the lives of the prophets of the great religions, the curricula of obscure schools of thought, the writings and sayings of great mystics, the implications of mysticism for modern man, and books on methods.
This reading provides a context for your personal experiences. It demonstrates that throughout the history of man there have always been mystics, that what can be said about the mystical experience from an external observer’s point of view is relatively trivial, and that though the words differ from one mystic to another, the communality of experience is amazing.
PROMPT: Share a few sentences or a photo from one of your favorite spiritual books that inspires you.
One of my favorite “spiritual” books is The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts… as a highly sensitive person who has long struggled with anxiety specifically around the passage of time and the fleeting nature of life, among many other things, this book has really helped to ground me into the present moment and bring a little humor to our collective human predicament. Sometimes I feel like reading Alan Watts ramblings on life truly gives me a breath of fresh air:
“To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”
Love this Emily, I haven’t had a chance to read Spring’s book yet but I look forward to it – I’m not sure if you saw our recent live stream with her and Lama Rod Owens, here’s the link to it on RamDass.org if you wanna check it out
Only kinship. Inching ourselves closer to creating a community of kinship such that God might recognize it.
Soon we imagine, with God, this circle of compassion.
Then we imagine no one standing outside of that circle, moving ourselves closer to the margins so that the margins themselves will be erased. We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied.
We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out. We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.”
~ Gregory Boyle (“Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion”)
I consider Father Greg Boyle to be a prophet, a mystic, and someone who is embodying Christ more fully than anyone else I have ever known. This quote from his first book “Tattoos on the Heart” sums up my heart’s desire for this world so well.
Anytime I am asked for a book recommendation, I recommend my all time favorite book, “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.” It’s brilliant, prophetic, fresh, deeply moving, and also HILARIOUS.
(This is his second book, and I love it even more than the first.)
And the audiobook is particularly fun because he reads it himself and he is SO funny with all his stories and impressions of people.
Love those books. Love love love this photo. Love the interspiritual teachings. And also John O’Donohue!!!
“May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul. May you realize that you are never alone, that your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe. May you have respect for your own individuality and difference. ”
The most recent book I read is actually a book for children (or kids at heart too!), called Isabella Castaspella: The Happy Little Witch and Her Friends by Parvati Markus, Radha Baum and illustrated by Baruch Inbar. Its a fun story about Isabella and her life in West Broomfield. Told in rhyme, its great to step into this world the authors created. It’s a story about friendship, dealing with bullies, and compassion for all. What’s particularly unique about this story, beyond its fun rhymes, and unique perspective on bullies, is that its the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba, Maharajji, being distilled and written into a book for children, young and old. Parvati Markus and Radha Baum both went to India and met Maharajji. A very heartfelt book!
In terms of a passage from the book that stood out, page 38, Izzy is feeling sad, and so she seeks out Witchie the Wise for some advice. Witchie the Wise tells Izzy,
“I have a suggestion to wipe away that frown.
Why not help someone else be happier today?
The good feeling you get sends grumpiness away.
The gladness you seek is really not hard to find,
if you open up your heart and do something kind.”
Which is very reminiscent of Maharajji’s recommendation to Serve Everyone, as in Love Everyone, Serve Everyone, Feed People, Remember God.
Yes! Love love love Spring Washam and can’t wait to read this! Thank you for sharing. If you don’t know, she and Lama Rod Owen just started a podcast on Be Here Now Network and I did a livestream with them last month.
The Universal Christ - Richard Rohr
I recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who have wrestled with religious Christianity. I’m at the point in my spiritual journey in which I will only identify myself as a Rohr/Universal Christ-type Christian.
The Enneagram: Nine Gateways to Presence (audio recording) - Russ Hudson
The Enneagram has profoundly changed my life. Russ Hudson is a phenomenal teacher and human. The Enneagram is a deep/powerful tool (not a religion/dogma/doctrine/fix-all) that goes hand-in-hand with spiritual seeking and self-development.
The Reality of Being - Jeanne de Salzmann
If you are not familiar with the mystic philosopher, George Gurdjieff, but have now heard Ram Dass use his name multiple times, he’s worth checking out. He also is quite heady at times. Jeanne de Salzmann was Gurdjieff’s assistant, and this book is her journals in which she’s responding to/practicing/reflecting on his teachings. I find it more immediately accessible and still knocks my socks off! Such beautiful, humble, expansive reflections about true being.
Be Grateful to Everyone (audio recording) - Pema Chödrön
I absolutely adore Pema. It is very worth listening to this audio recording because you get to take in her soothing voice as well as her wit and humor! These are her teachings on the Lojong slogans and also includes her leading practices like Tonglen and Loving-Kindness.