Duarte’s new book is based on her research in “… paganism, holistic theory, quantum mechanics, and transpersonal psychology, which takes readers deep into the depths of consciousness to the unified field underlying physical existence, where separateness is an illusion.” Definitely my kind of thing and maybe yours too.
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Arrival 6 Days!
(photo: Paul IJendoorn)
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The Meditation Fundamentals Spiritual Schools are Getting Wrong
Tickets bought. We leave next week. One way to Brussels- me, husband, one dog & 2 cats. The process has been exhausting. No time to write (or think). Here’s an article on the importance of foundation to growing a meditation practice. Enjoy (and meet me back here in a few weeks from a new location in Belgium). Blessings all!
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is deepening into clarity beyond the boundary of the body and the mind.
With so many spiritual traditions and schools teaching – and so many people practicing – meditation, you would think there’d be a consistent, solid understanding in how to meditate, as well as what the techniques and the goals are in meditation practice. Sadly, in many places this is not the case today, and although the fundamentals and methods of meditation are at the core of every spiritual tradition, these practices have been largely overlooked or oversimplified, even though they are the very cornerstone to spiritual self-development.
The results of proper meditation are their own reward, such as a clearer, calmer, more focused mind and a radiantly exuberant, blissful Awareness. However, there are many incomplete understandings and teachings present in the more commercialized spiritual setting today, eager to talk about results while skipping over foundational…
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Aboriginal Healing Secrets Revealed
This looks like a fascinating read. I’ve been drawn to books on healing lately and will have to add this. Maybe some of you will find this interesting too.
Supernal Living with Dana Taylor
Book Reviews by Dana Taylor
Gary Holz, D.Sc. (1950-2007), was an award-winning physicist and a psycho-neuro-immunologist. In 1994, confined to a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis, he went to Australia to stay with an Aboriginal tribe and experienced miraculous healing. Robbie Holz is a holistic health consultant dedicated to continuing the healing work of her late husband. She healed herself of hepatitis C and has also worked with Aboriginal healers in Australia.
I first became aware of Robbie Holz through an interview on the Open Minds show on Gaia TV. Ms. Holz spoke about her life with healer, Gary Holz, and the incredible journey they had both experienced with debilitating diseases. Intrigued by her interview, I purchased both books, Secrets of Aboriginal Healing: A Physicist’s Journey with a Remote Australian Tribeand Aboriginal Secrets of Awakening.
The first book, Secrets of Aboriginal Healing, is Gary’s story. His life as…
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FINAL DAY: Get Your FREE Book
Download from Amazon: https://goo.gl/O6Bvxq
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FREE: Into the Land of Snows
This is the only time I will be doing this promotion. Get your FREE Kindle copy from Amazon (now through Dec. 10th). Snuggle up by the fire and join Blake as he treks in the Himalayas. Happy holidays to everyone! (We have a house in Brussels and we’re moving in Jan. I’ll join you from Belgium in the new year.)
GRAB YOUR FREE COPY HERE: https://goo.gl/O6Bvxq
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NOW IN PRINT! Elephants Never Forgotten
Just in time for the holidays.
Order through Amazon: goo.gl/EKcVDB
What’s it about? Jurassic Park meets Micro
A hundred years in the future, twelve-year-old Nigella receives a shipment from her deceased grandfather. Her inheritance is a herd of micro-elephants. While a lot of her friends have micro-pets, Nigella is at a loss on how to care for them. Why are her micro-pets so different from everyone else’s? What was her grandfather up to? With the help of her best friend, Kepler, the girls set off on an adventure to discover the truth.
Also available as an ebook.
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RATIONAL MYSTICISM by John Horgan
This is a book I thought long and hard about highlighting. I expected great things and was overall disappointed. Unfortunately John Horgan is a reductionist materialist and despite the access he had to various spokespeople on mysticism, he remains thoroughly unconvinced. He is a science writer who holds the dogmatic party line through the entirety of the book. That said, I think some valuable perspective can be gleaned from the people Horgan talks to. It’s worth the read to get an overall feel for the modern history of the topic and hear from some of the players.
Horgan begins with a definition of mysticism within the historical context. He interviews Huston Smith who discusses mysticism as a cross-cultural, cross-religious experience. Smith represents the notion of the perennial philosophy. The author’s search next takes him to a two day conference in Chicago where mysticism is treated as a literary phenomenon. These scholars know in great detail the texts left behind by Eckhart, St. Teresa of Avila, Shankara, etc. But sadly, none of them has any personal experience with anything remotely mystical. The journey continues with an interview of Ken Wilber dubbed ‘the weightlifting Bodhisattva’ by Horgan. Wilbur stands behind Smith adhering to the perennial philosophy but also embraces science as a way to explore and define mystical experience.
Important information is raised in the chapter called Can Neurotheology Save Us?. Horgan visits with Andrew Newberg, the doctor featured back in 2001 in Newsweek’s article, “God and the Brain: How We’re Wired for Spirituality.” Wouldn’t it be nice if brain scans could prove mystical states and help us to understand them? Unfortunately, a review of data collected on all sorts of meditation doesn’t support any nice clean conclusions according to Jensine Andreson, a theology professor at Boston University. And that in turn brings into question all the benefits touted for meditation. A review of the studies looking at meditation and its benefits Andreson believes, are poorly designed and won’t hold up to scrutiny. Of course, as it relates to mystical practice, mystics don’t meditate to lower their blood pressure but I would concede that a whole lot of Americans do increasingly view meditation as a health practice. Should they?
Continuing the scientific pursuit of mystical states, Horgan interviewed Michael Persinger of Laurentian University, Canada. Starting in the 1980s, Persinger began studying the brain’s response to electro-magnetic pulses to certain areas of the brain. 40% of Persinger’s test subjects experience a presence. The Canadian magazine Mclean’s called this device, “the God machine.” Persinger maintains that he has not addressed the God question with his work, rather his interest is in understanding the electrical pattern of the brain that leads to religious belief. But does the machine produce mystical experiences? No. Apparently, no one tested has reported the typical sensations of bliss, unity, or ineffability commonly reported by mystics. Scientific attempts to link temporal lobe excitation or epilepsy to mystical experience do not hold up either.
Horgan next turns to practitioner of Zen and neurologist, James Austin who penned the book, Zen and the Brain. Austin calls his approach perennial psychophysiology. Instead of gaining metaphysical insight, Austin thinks the mystic undergoes deep changes in personality. Someone who has had these experiences becomes more stable, more compassionate, and more selfless. As a specialist in brain disorders, Austin attempts to separate healthy mysticism from other illnesses. His approach relies on the idea that mystical experience releases excitotoxins which cause the loss of neurons. This in turn, allows us to get rid of those things that distort our view of reality. This is as scary as it is fascinating. For me, it makes mystical experience similar to brain damage. Can that really be?
No book on mysticism would be complete without a foray into drug induced mystical experience. Horgan looks at the history of LSD, DMT, and ayahuasca. He visits Stanislov Grof, who is involved in the transpersonal psychology movement. Grof believes that we must move into a new paradigm where mind has primacy over matter (the book was published in 2003, not a unique idea now). There’s an interesting discussion of Rick Strassman’s work as outlined in DMT: The Spirit Molecule. The colorful Terrence McKenna makes an appearance in a later chapter where he advocates the use of psychedelics.
The book is a nice romp through lots of questions with little in the way of conclusions. I often had the feeling that the author was totally out of his depth. Why did this topic appeal to him? He remained a science writer who attempted to fill pages. Most of them are interesting. I wonder what the book would have looked like with another author or even what the book would look like if updated.
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Exciting News: Moving to Brussels
It’s time to announce a big change. Over the next few months, I will be relocating to Brussels, Belgium. Living abroad will bring many new challenges and hopefully, lots of new experiences. I speak no French or Dutch so that in itself will be tough, but we’ve been assured that many Belgians speak English and there are lots of expats already in the city. My most pressing issue is to figure out how to get a big dog and two cats into the country. So if anyone has sage advice on airlines, routes, or anything else- please share.
We are planning to travel just after Christmas and so much has to be done between now and then. Because of that, I probably won’t be as available on social media as I have been. Be patient, I’ll be back. 2017 will bring the publication of a new book called Tender Tulips, Dark Diamonds:A Ghost Story. Part of the story takes place in the Netherlands and this move will allow me the opportunity to explore some of the places mentioned in that book. Oddly enough, I’ll be writing a new novel set in Colorado at the turn of the last century while I’m in one of the low countries. So on to new adventures!
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