December 2013 Book of the Month
Happy 95th birthday to B.K.S. Iyengar!
Let’s wrap up 2013 together with this one of a kind, comprehensive introduction to ancient aesthetics and philosophy of yoga. In The Illustrated Light on Yoga, Iyengar covers techniques, effects, hints and cautions of both āsana and prāṇāyāma (techniques for stilling the mind through breathing exercises). He also includes detailed description of over 50 key postures, a full glossary of yoga terms and a 35-week course progressing from beginner to intermediate level.
Yoga every day!
November 2013 Book of the Month
Lisby Mayor’s book, Extraordinary Knowing, opens with a spell-binding story about a lost harp, a disappointed child, a skeptical mother and the psychic who made sense of it all. The incredible experience recounted in the first pages of Mayor’s book completely shifted Mayor’s perceptions of the world around her. A well respected scientist, Lisby Mayor found herself in the unique position of feeling utterly confounded by the nature of her experience. For the first time in her life, there seemed to be no rational explanation for the events she witnessed. Lucky for us – her experience upended her perceptions of the world around her and shifted the focus of her research in profound ways.
Perhaps, one of the most frustrating aspects of contemporary life is the slow pace at which science keeps up with experience. It is often at the edge of our awareness that the truest reality resides. The knowing but not knowing that propels us forward each and every day. The difficulty, for most of us, is finding a way to “validate” our own internal knowing. Mayor offers readers hope that the gap between the hard sciences and individual subjective experiences may eventually be bridged. In the meantime, she does an outstanding job explaining why examining subjectivity in academia is so darn challenging.
As Mayer explains subjective phenomenon by nature is connected with a single point of view. In contrast, objective, physical theory immediately abandons individuated points of views as irrelevant. Mayer’s challenge to traditional scientists is to establish some dialog between the realms of science and spirituality. In chapter after chapter, Mayor shares fresh insight into both the history of paranormal research and the legitimacy of combining the objective with the reflective. This paradigm shifting book opens new possibilities for science and everyday living.
October 2013 Book of the Month
This could be fun! I’m only 15 pages into this book and it’s already hard to put down.
If your looking for a philosophical dive into a grasping narrative then (so far) this is the book to open.
September 2013 Book of the Month
I read The Celestine Prophecy during the first couple weeks of school in my first year at the College for Creative Studies. I had just moved to Detroit and I was enrolled in a Sociology class taught by Molly Beauregard. This is when Molly and I met for the first time (in this life).
I’ll never forget the way she smiled with her hand resting on my book saying, “This is a very good book, one of my favorites.”
This was actually the very first book I read on my not so declared at the time but ever present “spiritual quest”. And with that, I’ll leave you to the wild, wonderful and supremely suspenseful book that is, The Celestine Prophesy…might this be a coincidence?
Now, I know we haven’t posted a book of the month since April, and what excuse do we have?? So here are four books I read this summer that I think you’ll enjoy. I’m not going to spend much time on them as they were just real good summer reads. They’re not for everyone, but each of these held a very special place in my heart over the summer: The Red Tent, The Secret Life of Plants, Light on Pranayama, and Water for Elephants.
April 2013 Book of the Month
Spring is in the air! I woke this morning to daffodils open to face the sun. When you live in Michigan this may be one of the happiest sights of the year.
Which brings me to my book pick for the month of April: A Sacred Place to Dwell: Living with Reverence Upon the Earth. Written by Henryk Skolimowski, A Sacred Place to Dwell is a profoundly beautiful book that introduces the reader to a new branch of philosophy called eco-philosophy. Skolimowski passionately argues for a re-articulation of spirituality that recognizes how our individual lives affect other human beings and natural habitats. He asks the question: How do we infuse reverence into a world which is conceived of as a mere machine? He answers by stating that we should all view the world as a sanctuary.
Skolimowski believes that by walking with reverence upon the earth, we immediately commit to a life and a living philosophy that works to sustain and encourage all life forms to organically evolve and flourish. If you conceive of the universe as a sanctuary, you have the comfort of knowing that you live in a caring, spiritual place. The world becomes alive with meaning and your role in the world becomes infused with purpose. Skolimowski argues that to act in the world as if it were a sanctuary is to make it reverential and sacred. As a result, your own experience is elevated by understanding, compassion and meaning.
Reverence, according to Skolimowski, also implies a principle of appropriate behavior. Living in a sanctuary helps one to grow a connection to the world around them and, as a result, act with responsibility for the world and society. It gives individuals motivation for altruism and morality and infuses life with a sweet delicacy, gentleness and beauty.
Spring has been slow to come to Michigan this year. In fact, it snowed this afternoon. There was something so magical about watching my beautiful daffodils huddle together with their faces open to a very very distant sun. Somehow their sweet commitment to this world reminded me to re-commit to my own reverential vision of the great planet earth.
Here’s a quirky theatrical video of Dr. Skolimowski having some fun on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8ooJAvVMAg