The Essential Rumi

August 2015 Book of the Month

It’s that time of year again, and you may not want to dip into a novel right now. This should be a time of reflection and getting ready for the semester ahead. So we thought you might enjoy a book of poems by Rumi.

Our favorite method of reading a book of poems is to just pick it up and open to any page. The poem below is what we opened up to today. Sure seems fitting!

A Cleared Site
The presence rolling through again
clears the shelves and shuts down shops.

Friend of the soul, enemy of the soul,
why do you want mine?

Bring tribute from the village.
But the village is gone in your flood.

That cleared site is what I want.
Live in the opening where there is no door
to hide behind. Be your absence.
In that state everything is essential.

The rest of this must be said in silence
because of the enormous difference
between light and the words
that try to say light.

The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

July 2015 Book of the Month

“Sometimes you can’t let go of the past without facing it again.”
― Gail Tsukiyama, The Samurai’s Garden

We thought everyone would enjoy escaping for a few hours with a cup of tea and a good read. The Samurai’s Garden, written by American author Gail Tsukiyama, is a beautiful book about love, loneliness, reverence and inner strength.

The book tells the story of a young Chinese painter named Stephen who is sent to his family’s summer home in a Japanese coastal village to recover from a bout with tuberculosis. While there he is cared for by Matsu, a reticent housekeeper and a master gardener. Over the course of one remarkable year, Stephen learns Matsu’s secret and gains not only physical strength, but also profound spiritual insight. The Samurai’s Garden offers the reader a lovely example of the grounding effect of devoting oneself to seeing the beauty in the everyday experience of being alive. It is a soulful book – quiet and tranquil, devoted to the exploration of beauty and love.

This book will offer students a strong contrast to the rushing current of school starting again soon. It is one of those books that literally transport’s the reader to a more gentle, life sustaining space. Sink in and enjoy.

The Universe is a Green Dragon by Brian Swimme

June 2015 Book of the Month

Presented as a classical dialogue between a young man and a wise elder, cosmologist Brian Swimme’s unique book, The Universe is a Green Dragon encourages readers of all ages to engage their imaginations when considering traditional models of scientific understanding. Reminding readers that curiosity, mystery and inspiration remain the underpinning of science, Swimme unfolds big ideas in bite size pieces of a larger narrative.

Swimme connects the human experience to cosmic reality both through scientific evidence and mystical thought. Integrating science and mysticism grounds his story in both inspiration and possibility. Importantly, Swimme empowers the reader to reimagine the role of personal existence and the expansion of the universe. According to Swimme, the awakening of the earth has a direct relationship to the growth and expansion of the human mind. “The Earth awakens through the human mind. You have to understand this from two different points of view. We have a humanity that awakens to its planetary dimension, to its planetary responsibility, and thus begins to provide the earth with a heart and mind. From the other perspective, we can see how the planet as a whole awakens through self-reflexive mind, which happens to unfurl through humanity (34-35).”

The Universe is a Green Dragon is a little book filled with BIG ideas. If you’re looking for a love story this summer, this book might be for you. While it’s not a traditional beach book, it certainly offers romance of the most cosmic kind!

Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch

May 2015 Book of the Month

Over the last four decades, David Lynch has created some of the best-known and widely discussed screen works of our time. This distinctive writer-director’s art bears not only the mark of box-office success but also critical acclaim and cultural posterity.

Yet Lynch generally reveals little of himself, or the ideas behind his work. Now he provides a rare window into his methods as an artist and his personal working style. In Catching the Big Fish, Lynch writes candidly about the tremendous creative benefits he has gained from his thirty-two-year commitment to practicing transcendental meditation.

In brief chapters, Lynch describes the experience of “diving within” and “catching” ideas like fish-and then preparing them for television or movie screens, and other mediums in which Lynch works, such as photography and painting.

This Book Was A Tree by Marcie Chambers Cuff

April 2015 Book of the Month

This Book Was a Tree inspires engagement. Written in poetic language, Cuff invites the reader to reimagine their relationship with the natural world. Chock full of creative projects, scientific analysis and reflective prose, This Book Was a Tree offers readers dozens of ways to reconnect with nature. Cuff’s gentle admonishment to unplug and rediscover the joy of the outdoors is perfect for all you couch potatoes, channel surfers and techies out there.

There is nothing like the fresh smell of spring. It’s April people – let’s get outside and celebrate by getting dirty!

Check out Marcie’s website too!

Stalking the Wild Pendulum by Itzhak Bentov

March 2015 Book of the Month

Radical when it was first written in 1977, Stalking the Wild Pendulum offered the reader  a revolutionary image of the human mind and the universe. We at TTSM hope our July 2012 book pick reignites the passion for consciousness studies first inspired by Bentov more than thirty five years ago.

In his creative first book, Itzhak Bentov paints a provocative image of the universe as comprised of sound vibrations, light rays, subtle energies, and packets of consciousness. He also discusses his  ideas that our brains are actually thought amplifiers, not thought’s source; that the universe is a hologram, as is the brain; that we can instantly reclaim any information ever known; that our bodies mirror the universe, down to the working of each cell; that we are pulsating beings in a vibrating universe, in constant motion between the finite and the infinite. Research on the non-locality of consciousness and the holographic nature of the brain are now commonly discussed and explored in the field of consciousness studies. However, it was Bentov’s original work that brought these kinds of issues to mainstream science and made them worthy of consideration using well-constructed reasoning and inspired speculation.

Bentov uses clear, imaginative and inspiring language as well as witty illustrations to drive his points home. His exciting perspective on human consciousness and its limitless possibilities inspired many throughout the late seventies and eighties. It just may be time for a second look at this unique take on consciousness studies!

Oneironautics – A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming

February 2015 Book of the Month

Do you dream? 

Of course you do.  Everyone does.

When someone says that they don’t dream what they’re really saying is that they don’t remember their dreams, not that they didn’t have any.   In a dream we still have access to all our five senses:  we can see, touch, taste, hear and even smell in dreams.  Sometimes a dream is so real that it’s indistinguishable from waking reality.

What if it were possible to go to sleep tonight and wake up inside one of your dreams?  Think about it.  If you knew that you were dreaming, the possibilities would be endless, right?  Maybe you’d fly across the ocean, reunite with a past love or relative, talk with dream characters, or explore new talents you never knew you had.

Turns out, we can do this, and it isn’t science fiction.

It’s called lucid dreaming.

Our book, Oneironautics: A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming, is an illustrated guide for those wishing to learn how to lucid dream.  In it you’ll find everything you need to know to have your first lucid dream, as well as practical advice on how to take it even further–what to do after you become lucid.

With the help of beautiful illustrations, our guide will teach you everything from flying with control, to dealing with dream characters, to shooting fireballs. It’ll even dive into the depths of nightmares and show you how you can turn them into your advantage.  You’ll learn how to stabilize and guide your dreams as well as how to overcome common mistakes that beginning Oneironauts often face.

– Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel, Thomas Peisel


The Translucent Revolution by Arjuna Ardagh

January 2015 Book of the Month

For more than a decade, Ardagh has studied what he believes to be a profound revolution in human consciousness. This shift in awareness is marked by what he calls “translucents” — individuals who have undergone a spiritual awakening deeply enough that it has permanently transformed their relationship to themselves and to reality, while allowing them to remain involved in ordinary life.

The Translucent Revolution tells the story of hundreds of individuals just like you who display characteristics of “translucence”. These individuals continue to quietly work and play at life with more happiness, more satisfaction and increased purpose.

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda

December 2014 Book of the Month

Autobiography of a Yogi is recognized around the world as a literary and spiritual classic. Written in 1946, the book sets forth not only the recounting of an extraordinary life but a fascinating introduction to the spiritual thought of the East. In addition to sharing many amazing anecdotes from both his childhood and adulthood, Paramahansa Yogananda highlights stories from his many encounters with other highly awakened, spiritually evolved individuals and tells of the miracles connected to them.

As the founder of the Self Realization Fellowship, Yoganada developed a complete philosophy and way of life dedicated to creating a greater understanding of the true power that resides within.

The Book of Secrets by Deepak Chopra

November 2014 Book of the Month

“The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.”

Deepak Chopra

Every semester I read a list of “unexplained facts” to my students.  The list is taken from my favorite of Deepak Chopra’s books, The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Life. My favorite mystery: “Fireflies in Indonesia numbering in the millions are able to synchronize their flashes over an area of several square miles.” And, while there is no denying synchronized fireflies make for a pretty good visual, my students always love the idea of several million horseshow crabs meeting on the beach for one night under a full moon to mate. Chopra’s impetus for sharing these mysteries is to inspire the reader to consider the underlying intelligence of a universe capable of producing such wonders.

I believe that a spiritual journey involves both the transcendent and the immediate.  In fact, the relationship between the two might be referred to as the bridge to heaven. It is for this very reason that I include meditation training in my class. Sitting in silence enlivens and expands consciousness. A true seeker, however, often needs more than just meditation. He/she needs guidance, validation and support on the path to enlightenment.

While I have read several of Chopra’s books, The Book of Secrets remains my favorite. It combines both practical knowledge and ancient wisdom. Reading spiritual literature serves as a practical step to support your awakening. This book offers the reader the evidence that there is more to life than the surface value of the everyday experience. Fortunately, it also inspires the passion required to go in search of unlocking these hidden dimensions.

See the Film