Saturday, October 21, 2017

A Good Second Book

     Lately I've been re-reading an old friend, The Second Book of the Tao By Stephen Mitchell.  Mr. Mitchell also translated the Tao Te Ching, which is how I became familiar with his work.  While he readily admits that he does not read or speak Chinese, he promotes the idea that his translations are in keeping with the spirit of Taoism.

     I really liked his first book, the Tao Te Ching.  The Second Book of Tao is also good, with the translations coming across as witty and instructive.  But I think it may be hindered in the fact that Mitchell also included some parables and poems from the Zen Buddhist tradition.  To my mind, Taoism and Buddhism do have some subtle differences.  Also, his comments, while helpful in some instances, sometimes come across as a little erudite.  Maybe it's me.  Still, it's a worthwhile book, especially if you are interested in learning more about the Taoist tradition.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Some Thoughts for Today

Here are a couple of quotes to ponder:

     "Seven billion of us -- and counting -- are all "activists," because we're actively shaping our world.  The only question is:  Are we conscious activists, or unconscious activists?  We see the results of unconscious activism all around us.  Virtually every problem is caused by unconscious choices being made over and over and over again.  To compound the problem, certain people want the rest of us to be unconscious, because they benefit hugely from it. 

    "It's impossible not to make a difference.  Every choice we make leads either toward health or toward disease; there's no other direction.  The question is not "How can I, one person, make a difference?"  The questions is "What kind of difference do I want to make?"  (Julia Butterfly Hill)


     "As you come to know the seriousness of our situation -- the war, the racism, the poverty in the world -- you come to realize that it is not going to be changed just by words or demonstrations.  It's a question of risking your life.  It's a question of living your life in drastically different ways."  (Dorothy Day)


Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Small but Powerful Resource

     They say that sometimes good things come in small packages.  It is true in a book I recently read, Celtic Wisdom Book (Book in a Box).  It is part of the "book in a box" series, and the small box contains both a tiny (less than 3 1/2" square) book as well as some totem animal cards.  I have a few other books on Celtic spirituality, but none quite as informative and specific as this one.  Plus, it comes with a pronunciation guide, since the Celtic language, to me, doesn't sound like it looks on paper.

     I especially enjoyed the detailed explanations of the seasonal celebrations in the Celtic calendar.  Matthews does a commendable job of giving the history of the seasons, the animals and winds that are typical of those times, and some ideas of how to celebrate these seasons in a small gathering.  It's very useful.

     It comes with a small deck of totem animal cards which can be used for personal insights and divination.  The last chapter in the book explains the meanings of the different animals and how they may be relevant in your life.  Highly recommended.