ECSTASY:
YOUR BIRTHRIGHT
AND YOUR SHIELD--
RESOURCE LIST: BOOKS, CDS, TAPES, LINKS
TO BRING ECSTASY TO YOU


SHE HOVERED ABOVE ME, QUIVERING IN THE LIGHT
The story behind this drawing is presented in the Series Introduction.

 

SERIES DIRECTORY:

ECSTASY: INTRODUCTION
ECSTASY: YOUR BIRTHRIGHT, SHIELD, & REWARD

PORTABLE ECSTASY: RESOURCE LIST

A RESOURCE LIST FOR ECSTATIC READING & LISTENING

In selecting books & CD's, I tried to follow the words of my meditation teacher. He traveled from one end of India to another for almost 30 years seeking God and enlightenment. He studied every philosophy he could find-- and there are lots in India. Sooner or later, he found that every philosophical system concluded: "I'm the best. You're reading the best, highest, most valid philosophy in the world. The rest are nuthin' compared to me." My teacher was looking for God, not self proclaimed superiority. He concentrated on meeting and studying with spiritual masters, people who knew God, the inner Self, Buddha nature, the Holy Spirit, intimately. I use the same criteria: get it from the horse's mouth. I've included works directly written by saints or spiritually advanced people rather than commentaries about them. Most of these books/CD's are my personal favorites. I have relied on friends to supply some titles in areas where I'm weak. I'll put a note describing my experience by books/CD's that I've read/listened to. I haven't included the major religious texts: The Koran, Vedas, Bible, Torah, etc.. These are best chosen with the advice of clergy and your own heart.

A few days into this task I realized I couldn't possibly do a comprehensive survey of ecstasy. I said to myself, "Sandy, are you out of your mind? You're an overachiever, but you're not crazy, too, are you?" I scaled back the job to putting up a few things that speak to me, and asking some friends for their "Greatest Hits on the Spiritual Parade." This is as much as I can take on right now-- though the list will grow over time. And I'll leave it up past the Holiday Season. Ecstasy is a year round phenomena. The major traditions are sort of in alphabetical order-- other than that, order is random.

If you've not ventured very far outside Judeo Christian culture, some of the music may sound weird. The concepts in the books may seem very odd, perhaps even dangerous. I remember the first time I attended a Hindu meditation program. My mind shrieked, "Get me out of here!" I'm so glad that I realized I was in culture shock and stayed. I discovered a wonderful way to find peace and harmony which I would have missed had I run screaming. So-- some of the CD's below may not be for everyone. But they're worth a listen via Amazon. In addition to culture shock, some of the chants are trance inducing. That's what they're for: to relax your logical mind so that a different level of reality can shine through. Saints wrote some of the books--you can feel their elevated state in their words. This may make you feel odd, dizzy, and/or absolutely ecstatic! Exploring the texts and music below is an adventure!

Don't trust my evaluation blindly: use your own good judgment and tastes in making a selection. Almost all the titles are linked to Amazon-- use the reviews there to supplement my comments before buying. (In a few cases, items are available only through the Seminary or Ashram producing them. The link takes you to that institution.) Our rebates from all purchases through this site go to charity. You may want to check our Bookstore for additional reading.

Experiencing and sustaining ecstatic energy requires strength. For this you need a clean, healthy body and disciplined mind and lifestyle. If you are addicted to anything, you may have a brief experience of ecstasy, but you will be unable to hold it. A resource list for financial recovery and on line addiction is attached. A link takes you to Self Help resources for many types of addiction. Please, please, take care of yourself. You are very, very valuable. You are your link to the infinite.

I hope all good comes to you at this Holiday Season and throughout your life,

Sandy Nathan
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ARTICLE DIRECTORY:

 

BUDDHIST & ZEN:

HIS HOLINESS, THE DALAI LAMA:

THE ART OF HAPPINESS: A Handbook for Living Howard C. Cutler, Dalai Lama This book was written by a Western psychotherapist from interviews with the Dalai Lama. I find it the most accessible of His Holiness' works.

CHOGYAM TRUNGPA:SHAMBALA: Sacred Path of the Warrior My literary agent, a Tibetan Buddhist, said this is a must read for anyone interested in Buddhism.
CHOGYAM TRUNGPA: CUTTING THROUGH SPIRITUAL MATERIALISM (Shambahala Dragon Editions) My literary agent, a Tibetan Buddhist, said this is a must read for anyone interested in Buddhism.
SOGYAL RINPOCHE: THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING & DYING
Stunning book presenting Tibetan Buddhist philosophy in an easily understood and moving way. I bought this to help myself as I grieved for my mother. I'm not all the way through it, but, boy what I've read so far! Buddhists say you can know only two things for sure in life: 1. You will die. and 2. You don't know when. Makes the time you have on earth precious.
ALAN W. WATTS, The Book : On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are Great "change your life" book from the famous Zen scholar. I read it years ago, still remember it.

GRACEFUL EXITS: How Great Beings Die, Death Stories of Tibetan, Hindu & Zen Masters, Sushila Blackman (Editor) This powerful book tells the death stories of 108 Eastern spiritual masters. Eastern religions believe one's state of being at the time of death influences or determines one's progress after death. Sushila Blackman began to compile these stories without really knowing why. A trip to the hospital for chest pain revealed she had terminal lung cancer: the book was in fact part of her preparation for her own conscious death. A magnificent book compiled by a magnificent person.

BUDDHIST CHANTS & MUSIC

THE GYUTO MONKS: Buddhist chanting is an acquired taste. The extremely deep and emotionally affecting chanting is executed deep in the throat. Bells provide the perfect counterpoint at exactly the right time. This chanting is likely to sound weird, if not scary, on first listen. I listened to Freedom Chants today after a long interval and found it weird and scary at first. I knew I really liked the music and was in culture shock. I also was in the "Holiday Spirit": exhausted, frazzled and trying to do to much. After listening to the monks for a while, I found myself involuntarily taking large breaths and relaxing. My tension dissipated automatically. After a while, I felt peaceful and unconcerned about the Holiday madness. I looked at the cover of a fashion magazine: an anorexic model wearing a sparkle top grinned painfully. Forced, unnatural gaiety. The Holiday issue put me in culture shock in the other direction. Why do we do all this? That's what this music is: a drugless tranquilizer and life evaluation tool. But you gotta get through the culture shock.

CONFUCIAN & TAOIST

TAO TE CHING (Penguin Classics)" Traditionally ascribed to Lao Tzu, an older contemporary of Confucius, the work is more probably an anthology of wise saying compiled in about the fourth century, " says the rear cover of this book. Whoever did it, the Tao Te Ching is wonderful. I have this version.

TAO TE CHING: An Illustrated Journey, by Lao-Tzu, Peg Streep (Editor), James Legge (Translator), Claudia Karabaic Sargent (Illustrator) I have a spectacular illustrated version of the Tao translated by Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English from the early '70's. Unfortunately, it seems to be out of print. You may try the z-shops for it. The version linked here got excellent reviews. Wroth a try. The illustrations enhance the text.

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CHRISTIANITY:

GNOSTIC AND EARLY CHRISTIAN READINGS: In 1945, an Egyptian camel driver searching for fertilizer 300 miles south of Cairo unearthed a clay urn. Inside were what proved to be the Gnostic Gospels, sacred books of one of the earliest Christian sects. These books illuminate the early Christian world and provide a view of Christianity quite different from the orthodox church. Fascinating and mind expanding.
Unearthing the Lost Words of Jesus: The Discovery and Text of the Gospel of Thomas This slim volume is worth buying for the photos and maps alone. Shows where the Nag Hammadi library was found, pictures of the texts & people associated with their discovery. Includes a nicely translated Gospel of Thomas.
The Gospel of Thomas (New Testament Readings)
The Fifth Gospel: The Gospel of Thomas Comes of Age, Patterson & Robinson
The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, Marvin Meyer, Trans.
The Secret Teachings of Jesus: Four Gnostic Gospels, Marvin Meyer. Trans.
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels. Dr. Pagels, a Harvard Ph.D. and scholar in Early Christianity, analyses the Gnostic Gospels with great insight and clarity. Winner of the National Book Award & the National Book Critics Circle Award. Fascinating.

CHRISTIAN MYSTICAL READINGS:

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS, St. John of the Cross, Kavanaugh & Rodriques, Trans. Contains: The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night; The spiritual Canticle, The Living Flame of Love, The Minor Works, Poetry.

 

TERESA OF AVILA:

THE WAY OF PERFECTION, Teresa of Avila, E. Allison Peers, Trans. Saints are the most honest people on earth, honest about their imperfection, about challenging their own delusions. St. Teresa stuns me with her honesty.
THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA OF AVILA BY HERSELF, (Penguin Classics)

INTERIOR CASTLE, Teresa of Avila, E. Allison Peers, Trans. The spiritual journey seen as a castle with rooms ascending to the highest levels. A beautiful metaphor conveyed by a master, a woman who has reached the heights.

JULIAN OF NORWICH:

ALL SHALL BE WELL: DAILY READINGS FROM JULIAN OF NORWICH: Revelations of Divine Love, by Julian of Norwich, Sheila Upjon (Trans.Trans.)

MOTHER TERESA:

THOMAS MERTON:

CHRISTIAN & GOSPEL MUSIC:

LIONHEART: Tudor chants and songs. My 20 year old daughter's must include. She saw them live and found them amazing. Totally inspiring!

MY FAYRE LADYE - Tudor Songs and Chants English devotional chants. Very calming. I found this great music to pay bills by-- an activity I usually find traumatic. Soothed me as I cleaned up my desk. What higher praise?
PARIS 1200 - Paris' greatest hits from the 13th Century.

ANONYMOUS 4: My daughter told me about Anonymous 4. She has all their CD's, plans to see them in New York, said they should be in this list, period. So do all the Amazon reviewers. These four women supposedly make the most beautiful sounds human voices are capable of making. Even the reviewers waxed ecstatic and poetic. I've ordered these for us:

On Yoolis Night - Medieval Carols & Motets, Christmas carols the medieval way.
An English Ladymass- Medieval Chant & Polyphony Anonymous 4's debut hit.
PORTRAIT, Anonymous 4, A sampler of Anonymous' 4's ethereal sound.

BILLY JOE SHAVER, VICTORY Billy Joe Shaver is a Texas roughneck's son, considered one of the most authentic country western singers around. In this intensely spiritual CD, Billy Joe sings of his conversion, sings of his love of Jesus. The album rings with his love of God. He is raw, present and very beautiful. He talks about recovery from alcoholism and hard living. Great guitar picking. Great music.
ARETHA FRANKLIN, AMAZING GRACE Oh, Aretha! I have this CD as a 2 disk set from the 70's. I think it's been reissued as a single. Try and find the 2 disk set-- used maybe. Man, this is some fine Gospel! She enters soaring and then takes off. With Rev. James Cleveland & the Southern California Community Choir. Some of the best ecstatic music I've heard. I play this in my car-- sometimes I just drive past my house so I can keep listening.
ARETHA FRANKLIN, GOSPEL I give this one about 10 stars. Old, scratchy cuts like someone tape recorded her singing in church. Some songs were recorded when Aretha was 14 years old! The woman's emotional depth astonishes. She enters ecstatically and exits the same way. I like Aretha's Gospel so much I named a horse after her: Reina de Alma. The Queen of Soul. Our Aretha's a good horse, too!
MAHALIA JACKSON, 16 MOST REQUESTED SONGS Tons of Mahalia Jackson around. I picked this one because it contains all her greatest songs and has a terrific story about Mahalia in the CD cover. A cross cultural reference: Mahalia means "Highest One or Highest Lord" in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India.
BILL MILLER, HEAR OUR PRAYER
Bill's one of favorite artists. This CD challenged me. I wrote an entire article about it: Inspiration. Native American Gospel. Check it out.

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STEPPING OFF THE EDGE: LEARNING & LIVING SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

 

A MODERN SPIRITUAL COMPANION

 

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NUMENON
A TALE OF MYSTICIAM & MONEY MENON

 

"BILL GATES MEETS DON JUAN."

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TECOLOTE: THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULD

BORN PREMATURELY ON A FREEZING NIGHT, THE COLT HAD TO FIGHT FOR HIS LIFE.

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THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY

 

A FUTURE WORLD ONLY HEARTBEATS FROM OUR OWN

Click the covers above to go Sandy Nathan's books on the Amazon Kindle store. All Kindle books are 99 cents.
They are also available as print books at Amazon.
The Angel and Numenon are also at the Nook store. The Angel is an iBook, as well.


    • AUTHOR SANDY NATHAN IS THE WINNER OF SEVENTEEN NATIONAL AWARDS!
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HINDU TEMPLE IN INDIA

HINDUISM:

India gives us the world's oldest religious writings. Hindu spiritual, religious and cultural traditions are unbelievably broad, running the gamut from simple villagers' practices to the beliefs and understandings of some of the most spiritually sophisticated people in the world. My daughter has studied Asian religions in college. She reports, "There are probably as many forms of Hinduism as Hindus." Readings are beyond voluminous. Some readings are intended for intellectuals and members of religious orders-- they are difficult and require much esoteric knowledge. Later writings distilled these texts into stories meant for common folk (yay!).We'll look at some of these. Hindu devotional poetry is exquisite. Getting an idea of such an ancient and diverse philosophy/religion is very difficult. Literally thousands of names and forms of God exist, all manifestations of the one God, Brahman. Additionally, thousands of teachers and spiritual adepts present their own versions of the classics in Ashrams in India and around the world. I have attempted to pick a few texts which convey a glimpse of the heart of Hinduism in an understandable form. I have also included a number of books and CD's from my meditation tradition. It is closest to my heart.

THE MAHABHARATA: The Vedas and many other texts give us the high form of Hinduism. And then we have the Epics, written to help ordinary folk understand the esoteric teachings of the Hindu scriptures. The epics were often presented as plays in Ashrams all over India and form the basis of many Indian dances. The original texts of even these "easy" renditions are long. The Mahabharata runs about 17 volumes. The Mahabharata tells the story of the five righteous Pandava brothers' who are robbed of their position as heirs to the kingdom by their evil cousins, the Kauravas. This is great theater! The best action drama you can imagine! The Mahabharata has everything: valor, betrayal, jealousy, lust, supernatural thrills, and a great battle. Also includes the Bhagavad Gita-- the Song of God-- in it's center. The Gita is a short jewel presenting the heart of Hinduism as a pre-battled conversation between the great general Arjuna and his cousin, Lord Krishna-- who is God in human form. Read the Mahabharata as an adventure epic if nothing else. All the versions shown below are (necessarily) condensations of the original.

THE PLAY OF GOD: VISIONS OF THE LIFE OF KRISHNA, by Devi Vanamali This inspired "cheat sheet" was produced by Devi Vanamali in her Ashram. I love this book. Lord Krishna occupies a place similar to Jesus in HInduism--Krishna is God incarnated in a human body. Krishna's life is not presented in one place in Hindu scripture, being spread over the Shrimad Bhagavatam and the Mahabharata. Devi Vanamali cleverly lifted Krishna's story from these texts, preserving the flavor of the original but making it shorter and easier to read. This is beautiful prose and tells the story of the Mahabharata war and the Bhagavad Gita.

THE CONCISE SHRIMAD BHAGAVATAM by Swami Venkatesananda This is the short form of the Shrimad Bhagavatam-- which runs 18,000 verses complete. The other text where the life of Krishna appears. For those highly motivated souls.

TH E BHAGAVAD GITA:The crest jewel of the Mahabharata. If you read one Hindu text, let it be the Gita. The great general Arjuna faces a spiritual crisis on the eve of the battle which will restore him and his brothers to their kingdom. He is counseled by his cousin Krishna on the battlefield, surrounded by the massed armies of his friends and enemies, who are also his relatives. Krishna explains the heart of Hindu philosophy in 18 short chapters. Stunning. Like the Mahabharata, about a million editions of the Gita exist.

POCKET BHAGAVAD GITA by Winthrop Sargeant This great little edition fits in you pocket. I carry it with me for those odd moments when I want a spiritual pick me up. I associate the car wash with the Bhagavad Gita. So many opportunities to study the scriptures of your choice.
JNANESHWAR'S GITA: A Rendering of the Jnaneshwari by Swami Kripananda All the Gita you'll ever need. Jnaneshwar, an Indian Poet Saint, completed his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita in 1290. The Jnaneshwari (his commentary) were translated in a scholarly form by Vitthal Pradhan in 1948. Swami Kripananda took Pradhan's translation and that of Winthrop Sargent and put them into understandable, contemporary English. This text includes the Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit letters, in phonetic English, and translated into English. Each verse of the Gita is followed by Jnaneshwar's comments on the verse in English. Unbelievably beautiful! This is not a dry academic commenting on a sacred text-- this is a poet saint's heart flaming about something he loves. The best Gita, in my opinion.

THE SACRED POWER by Swami Kripananda, Angela Trinca (Illustrator) This is a good book about Kundalini, the "coiled serpent" of energy that lies dormant at the root of the spine until awakened. There's so much written about kundalini and tantra yoga, might as well get some information from an expert. Swami Kripananda has studied kundalini more than 20 years-- since her own kundalini awakening. She was a professor before taking monastic vows and is a great writer. I particularly like the description of kundalini manifestations around the world in the beginning of this book. I've taken courses with Sw. Kripananda and admire her for her intelligence and compassion. And knowledge.

MIRABAI: THE ECSTATIC POETRY India's poet saints are among the world's finest. At a certain point in spiritual life, the aspirant's soul breaks into song. That song is God's gift to humanity, the fire of a heart in love with the divine. Mirabai was born about 1498 to a noble family. She was devoted to Lord Krishna, the incarnation of the loveliness of God, as well as a great warrior. She was persecuted for her devotion, and left us exquisite poetry. My edition of Mirabai's poetry, The Devotional Poems of Mirabai, edited by A.J. Alston, was printed in India in 1980 & is apparently out of print. The following seemed good:

MY TRADITION: Here are a few works from my meditation tradition, Siddha Yoga Meditation. Hundreds or thousands of meditation lineages exist in India, each with it's adherents. These works fit my mind and heart to a "t". You may find the same:

SWAMI MUKTANANDA, PLAY OF CONSCIOUSNESS An absolute must for anyone interested in Hinduism and enlightenment. Not a beginner's book, however. This is big. Sw. Muktananda was an Indian meditation master who died in 1982. I studied with him for 7 years. Breaking Hindu tradition, Muktananda wrote his spiritual autobiography as a teaching device for his students. The book opens with a tightly written and comprehensive guide to Hinduism and yoga. The second part describes his spiritual experiences. They read like sci-fi, but you sense their utter authenticity. Likely to produce culture shock: The language is flowery, exquisite, and somewhat antiquated. Muktananda talks about gurus and disciples. The word “guru” has been maligned in the West. “Guru” means “teacher”. Muktananda's essential energy roars through POC. You may find yourself nodding off or falling into meditation. You may only be able to read a page to two at a time. That's fine. Just keep reading.

GURUMAYI CHIDVILASANANDA, Courage and Contentment : A Collection of Talks on Spiritual Life
Gurumayi Chidvilasananda is successor to Swami Muktanda's meditation lineage. This is my bedtime reading. When the world leaves me battered and worn out, I read this book. Gurumayi has a gift for expressing spiritual truths simply and clearly and making the chaff fall away.

SWAMI MUKTANANDA, Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri
Bhagawan Nityananda was Swami Muktananda's teacher. Muktananda gives credit for his own spiritual attainment to Nityananda's guidance and patronage. Nityananda was and is a beloved spiritual figure in India, though he died in the 1960's, I believe. Silent and strange to Western eyes, Nityananda has an incredible spiritual presence. Healings and miracles abounded wherever he went, or wherever he was revered. A loving portrait by his most prominent student.

RAM DASS: The Harvard Ph.D. who dropped acid, dropped out and went to India in search of enlightenment. Ram Dass may be the best known introduction to Hinduism in the West. The man who might be your mother's greatest nightmare has attained something worth attaining: Ram Dass hung in there, bringing comfort and light to people for the last 40 years. He now does grief counseling.(See his book in the section on Grief and Death and Dying below.) I'm told by a friend that Ram Dass was at his most impressive last year, leading a seminar after a stroke that left him barely able to speak. He credited that stroke with teaching him humility. The hard way. A heavy hitter.

JEWISH:

FARABI is a Jewish/Middle Eastern band. Our friend Jonathan Kessler plays in Dreamtime Continuum as well as Farabi. Fantastic, ecstatic music, superb musicianship. Check the Amazon reviews for these CD's.

 

MUSLIM:

THE ESSENTIAL RUMI, Coleman Barks, John Moyne, & A.J. Arberry, (translators) Jelaluddin Rumi will transform any preconceived ideas Westerners may have about the Muslim religion. Rumi lived from 1207 to 1273 and wrote some of the most exquisite spiritual poetry in the world.
DELICIOUS LAUGHTER: Rambunctious Teaching Stories from the Mathnawi of Jelaluddin Rumi, by Jelaluddin Rumi, Coleman Barks (Translator) These stories are rambunctious bordering on bawdy. They're also terrific teaching aides, proof that spiritual beings don't have to be stuffy.

RUMI: We Are Three : New Rumi Poems by Coleman Barks (Translator), Jalaluddin M. Rumi

HEARTWOOD: Meditations on Southern Oaks, by William Guion (Photographer), Rumi, Coleman Barks (Translator), John Moyne (Translator), Dinrumi Jalala, Jelaluddin Rumi "In the years that I have observed the patient lives of the oaks, sat on their roots, walked under their arched alleyways, and recorded their many moods on film, they have taught me how to listen more with my third ear - the heart. At the same time, a growing compassion toward all life has taken root in my heart. This has been the gift of the oaks to me. My gift in return to them and to you is these images on paper of that haunting and beautiful light around the oaks." -- W. Guion. This lovely book combines author William Guion's photos of Southern oaks with the poetry of Rumi. A sure hit on the ecstasy parade.

NATIVE AMERICAN:

BLACK ELK: THE SACRED WAYS OF LAKOTA, Wallace Black Elk, William S. Lyon Buy this for Wallace Black Elk's picture on the cover. His state is written all over his face. That is one human being in good shape! The man's soul comes right through this book.
BLACK ELK SPEAKS: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, John Neihardt. Classic of Native American spirituality. This opens with one of Black Elk's visions. I went, "Man, that's a VISION!" Stopped me cold. Black Elk should meet Muktananda (See Hinduism above.) Maybe he has.
LAME DEER: SEEKER OF VISIONS, John Fire Lame Deer, Richard Erdoes, contributors Another classic. Funny. Direct. Straightforward. Beautiful. I was blown away by similarities between my Hindu meditation tradition and Native American spirituality.

GIFT OF POWER: The Life and Teachings of a Lakota Warrior, Archie Fire Lame Deer, Richard Erdoes (Contributor) Archie Fire Lame Deer is the son of John Fire Lame Deer and succeeded him as head of his spiritual lineage upon his father's death. A "modern" medicine man with an incredible life story. He's funny, charming, impactful, tells the truth. I'd love to meet him.

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TRANCE MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD:

HE'S IN TRANCE NOW [IMPORT] Nyanyo Addo Nyando Addo was born in Labadi, Ghana to the Ga-people. He was raised by his grandfather, a well-respected Won or priest, and learned to play the drum at an early age. This recording features music of the Tigari festival which features a trance ceremony. Nyanyo Addo plays about every instrument in Africa on this great CD. This is a super picker-upper that I highly recommend.
FLY, FLY MY SADNESS [LIVE] Huun-Huur-Tu, Angelite. Huun-Huur-Tu, Angelite. Features the Bulgarian singer Angelite and the Ukrainian Hun Huur throat singers. This music is supposed to be similar to the Tibetan monks deep throat singing. I don't have the CD, but I'm ordering it. Amazon reviewers said things like, "I have to listen to this alone because a grown man shouldn't cry in public." "This will make you blast off." "If you listen to this outside, tie yourself to a large object such as a tree." Hmm. Apparently ecstatic to the max. I tried to listen to this on my computer, and the sound died. That powerful?

NON & MULTI-DENOMINATIONAL:

WOMEN IN PRAISE OF THE SACRED: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, Jane Hirshfield, ed.
PRAYERS FOR A THOUSAND YEARS, Elizabeth J. Roberts, ed. This book came out at the end of the last century-- 1999. Contains prayers for the next thousand years from every tradition you can think of-- all the great religions, world cultures, indigenous leaders, writers,contemporary singers. You name it. Special messages from living masters for the next millennium. Great reading.
THE SOUL IS HERE FOR ITS OWN JOY: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures, Robert Bly, ed. Beautiful book, arranged like the spiritual journey: At first, you feel the call, have a big experience, make a commitment, then forget it all, do your thing in the world until you get in trouble, then commit to spirit again, forget it, go back to the world, mess up, back to spirit, etc. Until you finally really commit. Takes the reader through poetry demonstrating a deeper and deeper commitment to and knowledge of the sacred. Many traditions. Great introduction to the Indian and Middle eastern poets: Poems by Rumi, Kabir, Mirabai, Lalli, all in one volume.

HEARTWOOD: Meditations on Southern Oaks, by William Guion (Photographer), Rumi, Coleman Barks (Translator), John Moyne (Translator), Dinrumi Jalala, Jelaluddin Rumi "In the years that I have observed the patient lives of the oaks, sat on their roots, walked under their arched alleyways, and recorded their many moods on film, they have taught me how to listen more with my third ear - the heart. At the same time, a growing compassion toward all life has taken root in my heart. This has been the gift of the oaks to me. My gift in return to them and to you is these images on paper of that haunting and beautiful light around the oaks." -- W. Guion. This lovely book combines author William Guion's photos of Southern oaks with the poetry of Rumi. A sure hit on the ecstasy parade.


PEACE, AT LAST
Sandra Nathan
Resin & marble casting

"OTHER":
The "other" category includes humanistic, psychological and non-deistic approaches to higher states of being/feeling. Includes the transpersonal psychologies, Jung's work. Take a look at Buddhism, too. Buddhism is non-deistic. This is a huge area-- I could cover it much more thoroughly, but I'm getting tired. It's Thanksgiving. Enjoy-- and thanks for reading! THE DENIAL OF DEATH by Ernest Becker (Free Press Paperback) Becker's Pulitzer Prize winning book was written while he was dying-- it is his final gift to humanity. Praised by Elizabeth Kubler Ross, The New York Times Book Review, Sam Keen, you name it. One of my brightest, most humane friends described it as, "The only book I've ever read twice." Becker says-- very thoroughly, too-- that everything we humans do is to blot out the understanding that we die. That includes all the monuments to our egos we leave behind: shopping centers, vineyards, hotels, motels, cities, piles of stuff for our relatives to clean up, as well as poetry, art, and literature. What is your legacy?

ABRAHAM MASLOW: Maslow was one of the first to investigate the higher end of the human psychological spectrum. Understandably, psychiatrists and psychologists tended to focus on the lower feeling and emotional states: depression, anxiety, traumatic responses, various weird behaviors, and so on. That's what they saw in their practices. Not too many people get into treatment because they feel too much joy or contentment. Maslow-- and others-- questioned this. "What about the upper end of human experience? What about supremely healthy people?"

RELIGIONS, VALUES, AND PEAK EXPERIENCES by Abraham Harold Maslow Classic book. Maslow describes "peak experiences"-- experiences of clarity, unitive consciousness, joy, grace. The experience of the hawk I describe in the Introduction to this series is a peak experience. Maslow says some people have them, some don't. I'm glad I do.
THE FARTHER REACHES OF HUMAN NATURE, by Abraham Harold Maslow (An Esalen Book) Another classic. "Let's look at the high side, the upper end of the spectrum."
TOWARD A PSYCHOLOGY OF BEING, 3rd Edition by Abraham H. Maslow, Richard Lowry (Editor) Have you ever met someone who could heal with a look? Just by looking at you? I have. Maslow's classic work moved toward a psychology of being-- just existing as opposed to doing or having. Does our state of being influence our lives? The world?

ROBERT A. JOHNSON, ECSTASY: UNDERSTANDING THE PSYCHOLOGY OF JOY Johnson is a Jungian analyst. I liked this book. Amazon reviews were mixed-- one said it should be removed from all bookstores shelves and burned. What a hoot. Check it out.

ROBERTO ASSAGIOLI- PSYCHOSYNTHESIS. Roberto Assagioli was an Italian Psychiatrist and contemporary of Freud. He broke with Freud, feeling Freud's theories denied the upper reaches of the human psyche. Assagioli set forth his own theory of the structure of the psyche and its healing process. When I was in graduate school in counseling, this theory captured my heart. It also fit my experience, allowing for "peak experiences", mystical experiences and related states. Psychosynthesis meshes perfectly with Eastern philosophy & religion and provides a needed intellectual background for my meditation practice. Assagioli's theories are set out in Psychosynthesis. The Act of Will provides deeper exploration of the development of will, which Assagioli considered crucial to a full, adult life. Unfortunately, both of these books seem to be out of print or "on order". I'd check with Amazon, the z-shops, etc. These are professional caliber writings and must have's for serious students of consciousness.

THE ACT OF WILL, Roberto Assagioli

MORE PSYCHOSYNTHESIS: Here are some Psychosynthesis resources. The fact that Amazon is out of these great books should not deter you! This is a theoretical basis worth knowing!

THE SYNTHESIS CENTER, AMHERST, MA This center provides training in Psychosynthesis for mental health professionals, also counseling using Psychosynthesis techniques, workshops and a Bookstore offering Assagioli's books and more.
PSYCHOSYNTHESIS LINKS: A comprehensive links page with Psychosynthesis centers around the world.
THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PSYCHOSYNTHESIS: The professional organization for Psychosynthesis Practitioners.

DEATH & DYING, GRIEVING, LIVING WITH LONG TERM ILLNESS

  • BARBRA MINAR, WALKING INTO THE WIND: Being Healthy with a Chronic Disease This book is so good it hurts. Barbra is a friend of mine, a member of my Writers' Workshop. She has suffered from Lupus Erythematosus, a disease of the immune system, since 1960. Before that she suffered from residual effects of rheumatic fever. Despite her illnesses, Barbra has lived a full life, sustaining a marriage and raising 3 children. She has written four books, worked, lead retreats, and helped fellow sufferers. Walking into the Wind is Barbra's latest and most personal book. I was hooked on page one, read Walking... nonstop. I laughed, cried, and wished Barbra had written 50 books. This simple, elegant volume presents letters and journal entries from 1985 to 1997. Tips on handling almost every situation a physically challenged person can face are beautifully woven into a poetic fabric. This should be a best seller. Barbra writes from a Christian perspective.

    RAM DASS: STILL HERE: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying The Harvard Ph.D. who dropped acid, dropped out and went to India in search of enlightenment. Your mother's nightmare. Your mother would be glad to know that Ram Dass hung in there, bringing comfort and light to people for the last 40 years. He has attained something worth attaining. I'm told by a friend that Ram Dass was at his most impressive last year, leading a seminar after a stroke that left him barely able to speak. He credited that stroke with teaching him humility. The hard way. A heavy hitter worth reading. Ram Dass writes from a Hindu/Eastern perspective, though he is a trained Western psychologist.STEPHEN LEVINE: WHO DIES? : An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying Levine is widely considered the best grief counselor in the United States. He is a Buddhist, so his methods use Buddhist philosophies. I purchased this book while grieving my mother's death. Classic and helpful. I found Levine's taped meditation on grieving more helpful than the book. I'll post it if I can find it.STEPHEN LEVINE: MERCIFUL AWARENESS: Natural Pain Management Audio tape. Haven't heard it, but if it's as good as the one on grieving, buy it. GRACEFUL EXITS: How Great Beings Die, Death Stories of Tibetan, Hindu & Zen Masters, Sushila Blackman (Editor) This powerful book tells the death stories of 108 Eastern spiritual masters. Eastern religions believe one's state of being at the time of death influences or determines one's progress after death. Sushila Blackman began to compile these stories without really knowing why. A trip to the hospital for chest pain revealed she had terminal lung cancer: the book was in fact part of her preparation for her own conscious death. A magnificent book compiled by a magnificent person. SOGYAL RINPOCHE: THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING & DYING Stunning book presenting Tibetan Buddhist philosophy in an easily understood and moving way. I bought this to help myself as I grieved for my mother. I'm not all the way through it, but, boy what I've read so far! Buddhists say you can know only two things for sure in life: 1. You will die. and 2. You don't know when. Makes the time you have on earth very poignant.

    JEAN-DOMINIQUE BAUBY, THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY Feeling sorry for yourself? Life got you down? Read this. In 1992, the author was the 43 year old editor of the French Elle. A witty bon vivant with two children and a full life, Bauby suffered a massive stroke that left him completely and permanently paralyzed. He could blink his left eye-- that's it. This book was written by Bauby blinking as a reader read a special alphabet aloud. Blink= Write that LETTER. The book was written like that, letter by letter. It's short. Depressing? No. Lovely. A lovely, moving, haunting memoir of a man who used his mind to entertain and delight himself when that's all he had. He tells of the hard parts: His children's visits. Old acquaintances calling him a vegetable. A magnificent final song. Bauby died 2 days after the French edition of this book came out. It was the #1 International Best Seller in Europe. Praised universally by critics. Inspiring.

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PERSONAL & FINANCIAL RECOVERY RESOURCES: SELF HELP RESOURCES Click on the title above for a link to a variety of self help programs.

ON LINE ADDICTION , COMPULSIVE SHOPPING AND FINANCIAL RECOVERY:

VIRTUAL ADDICTION: Help for Netheads, Cyberfreaks, and Those Who Love Them. David N. Greenfield, Ph. D. Dr. Greenfield is a clinical psychologist, founder of a multidisciplinary behavioral practice in Connecticut. He is one of the pioneers in detecting and treating Internet addiction, conducting one of the largest surveys on Internet use: the ABC News.com Internet Addiction Survey. I initially read about him in a magazine article. Dr. Greenfield knows his subject inside out. He's personally aware of the online pull. He offers great information, great self help techniques. I inhaled this book. It was one of my early steps to recovery. The book is user friendly and easy to read.

CAUGHT IN THE NET: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction and a Winning Strategy for Recovery. Dr. Kimberley S. Young. Like Dr. Greenfield, Dr. Young is a pioneer in detection and treatment of Internet addiction. She also authored a survey of Internet abuse, finding it analogous to gambling addiction. Like Dr. Greenfield's book, I found this book horrifying and absolutely necessary reading. I inhaled it. Dr. Young is a clinical psychologist with wide and deep experience. She is personally familiar with the pull of the Web and offers great info and a self help plan. This book has a slightly different feel than Dr. Greenfield's, coming from a different person. I recommend them both. This book is also user friendly and easy to read.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE INTERNET. Patricia Wallace. This book approaches the Internet from a different direction. Dr. Wallace is Executive Director of the Center for Knowledge and Information management a the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. Dr. Wallace is not so specifically interested in addiction as what happens on the Net psychologically. The Net is new territory-- we don't have research based studies on why people do what they do on line. Dr. Wallace gives a fascinating and professional look at the personal dynamics of the Web, covering a broad range of topics: Aggression: flaming and fighting-- why?. Increased and rapid intimacy over the Net. Disinhibition: why people tell all and do all with On-line communities. Differences in male and female use and abuse. Pornography-- how much and how dangerous? The Web as opportunity for entrepreneurial success. The web as time waster. On line addictions. This book is a harder read than the previous two, but necessary if you want to get the full picture on the psychological impact of the Net.

CAN'T BUY ME LOVE: Freedom From Compulsive Spending and Money Obsession, Sally Coleman, MA, N.C.A.C., And Nancy Hull-Mast. This is a great self help book for those with spending problems. It's not aimed specifically at on line shopping and auctions, but its content can be easily adapted to cover those areas. This book is easy to read, explains the psychological origin and development of spending problems, and gives great self help pointers. Ms. Coleman is a staff psychotherapist and coordinator of addiction services at the University of Notre Dame Counseling Center. Ms. Hull-Mast is a writer with training in addictions and counseling.

I SHOP, THEREFORE I AM: Compulsive Buying & The Search For Self, April Lane Benson, Editor. This group of readings is intended for mental health professionals and those treating compulsive spending disorders. It is the hardest read presented here, and in many ways the most satisfying. This goes DEEP. Also wide, covering every aspect of compulsive spending and recovery you can think of. There's an article on collecting-- the new religion-- that should be posted on all on-line auction bulletin boards. It also should be published the major interior design magazines. It would cause a riot, of course, exposing the not too pretty psychological roots of the collecting compulsion. I was delighted to discover a chapter by a good friend of mine, Karen McCall, who does financial recovery counseling. We'll talk to Karen in the section on Financial Recovery.

WHEN SOCIETY BECOMES AN ADDICT, Anne Wilson Schaef. What if you took the sum of the substance addictions, behavioral addictions (such as compulsive spending, overworking, obsession with money/success/things, sex, relationships) & the interpersonal glue that holds it all together (codependent systems, denial, the whole ball of wax)? What if you took that sum and it equaled modern society? Anne Schaef finds just that in this fascinating book combining gender models, addiction treatment theories and a broad view of addiction. Schaef presents a new way of life which is not addiction based. A New York Times Bestseller.

ESCAPE FROM INTIMACY, Anne Wilson Schaef. Schaef tackles the "love" addictions here: Sex, romance and relationships. Schaef talks about the difference between compulsive pursuit of sexual and romantic highs, the need to be in a relationship ( any relationship), and true intimacy. Get rid of these, and we'll lose popular music. Alas. Also most of TV and Hollywood. We'll gain our selves and real love between people. Shaef clearly defines the addictions and what we need to do to break free.

YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE, Joe Domingues and Vicki Robin. A wonderful book that challenges the basis of contemporary society. Presents a nine step approach to reclaiming your life. Is your life about making money? Do you feel lost in the cracks? The authors gave up successful careers to gain control of their finances and live with greater meaning. This is the classic on the new morality of money management. Talks about getting out of debt and developing savings, reordering material priorities to live well with less, values based spending, and much more. Great how-to advice.

HOW TO GET CONTROL OF YOUR TIME AND YOUR LIFE, Alan Lakein. The most popular time management book written. To save time, read pages 158, 30, and 11. I read this 20 years ago. Bought it again. It's still fantastic. Worth owning. HOW TO GET OUT OF DEBT, STAY OUT OF DEBT & LIVE PROSPEROUSLY, Jerrold Mundis, Another classic, Mundis' book is based on the principles of Debtors Anonymous. Tells how to recognize warnings of serious debt problems and head them off. How to negotiate with collection agencies, etc. How to pay off debts. How to maintain debt free status. You can do it, folks! Start here.

EARN WHAT YOU DESERVE: How to Stop Underearning & Start Thriving, Jerrold Mundis. Repeats some of his first book, but tackles the topic of "underearning": Perfectly capable, smart people who earn less than they might. Fit anyone you know? Presents techniques to remedy this.

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STEPPING OFF THE EDGE: LEARNING & LIVING SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

 

A MODERN SPIRITUAL COMPANION

 

B

NUMENON
A TALE OF MYSTICIAM & MONEY MENON

 

"BILL GATES MEETS DON JUAN."

D

TECOLOTE: THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULD

BORN PREMATURELY ON A FREEZING NIGHT, THE COLT HAD TO FIGHT FOR HIS LIFE.

A

THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY

 

A FUTURE WORLD ONLY HEARTBEATS FROM OUR OWN

Click the covers above to go Sandy Nathan's books on the Amazon Kindle store. All Kindle books are 99 cents.
They are also available as print books at Amazon.
The Angel and Numenon are also at the Nook store. The Angel is an iBook, as well.