Saturday, March 27, 2021

A Book to Treasure, Part 4

      I couldn't leave this month without sharing one more excerpt from that wonderful book, Heaven's Face, Thinly Veiled: A Book of Spiritual Writing by Women.  This is from a letter written by Louisa May Alcott to a friend who had apparently experienced the death of a loved one:

     I feel that in this life we are learning to enjoy a higher, & fitting ourselves to take our place there.  If we use well our talents, opportunities, trials & joys here when we pass on it is to the society of nobler souls, as in this world we find our level inevitably.

     I think immortality is the passing of a soul thro many lives or experiences, & such as are truly lived, used & learned help on to the next, each growing richer higher, happier, carry[y]ing with it only the real memories of what has gone before.  If in my present life I love one person truly, no matter who it is, I believe that we meet somewhere again, though were or how I dont know or care, for genuine love is immortal.  So is real wisdom, virtue, heroism, &c.  & these noble attributes lift humble lives into the next experience, & prepare them to go on with greater power & happiness. . . . . . 

     This is my idea of immortality.  An endless life of helpful change, with the instinct, the longing to rise, to learn, to love, to get nearer the source of all good & go on from the lowest plane to the highest, rejoicing more & more as we climb into the clearer light, the purer air, the happier life which must exist, for, as Plato said 'The soul cannot imagine what does not exist because it is the shadow of God who knows & creates all things.' 

     Ah, yes.  What a treasure. 



Saturday, March 20, 2021

A Book to Treasure, Part 3

      I'd like to share another excerpt from the wonderful book, Heaven's Face, Thinly Veiled: A Book of Spiritual Writing by Women.  This one is from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, best known for her writings on the grieving process.  Here, she talks about finding inner peace and presents a lengthy quote by Black Elk:

     The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the soul of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka (God) and that this center is really everywhere; it is within each of us. 

     This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this.  The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations.  But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which . . . is within the souls of men.

      The rest of her essay, actually a chapter in her book On Children and Death, discusses how we avoid peace and choose unhappiness because we are not being honest about what is within us.  Good reading.



Saturday, March 13, 2021

A Book to Treasure, Part 2

      Last week I was telling you about how much I enjoyed a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for years -- Heaven's Face, Thinly Veiled: A Book of Spiritual Writing by Women.  It is definitely a book to treasure and refer to again and again.

     I marked some pages that especially touched me with green sticky notes.  By the time I was finished reading the book, it looked like a tree branch in spring.  I'd like to share some of my favorite parts.

     Here is Katharine Trevelyan, writing about a mystical experience she had in a garden:

The wonder was beyond anything I have ever read or imagined or heard men speak about.  I was Adam walking alone in the first Paradise.  That it was a garden near the outskirts of London in the twentieth century made no difference, for time was not, or had come round again in a full circle.  Though I was Adam, I had no need of Eve, for both combined within me.  Marriage and maternity fulfilled and surpassed, I had run beyond womanhood and become a human being.  

     I love the quote "for both combined within me" because it echoes one of the themes of The Gemini Bond, that the masculine and feminine aspects of our personalities must combine in order for us to evolve and grow.  Delicious stuff. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

A Book to Treasure

      With the continuation of the pandemic and the need to avoid public places like bookstores (sigh), I've been exploring some of the books that have been sitting on my own bookshelves for years.  And I came across a real treasure.

     Entitled Heaven's Face, Thinly Veiled: A Book of Spiritual Writing by Women, this is a compilation of writings from women across many centuries, many different spiritual traditions, and in many forms.  Poetry, essays, letters, book excerpts; Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, traditional; voices from centuries ago to contemporary writers -- they are all represented here.  Many of the writers were unknown to me, which was a special treat.  And some of the writers that I did know expressed themselves in ways that were unexpected and very touching.  

     I don't think I ever read this book all the way through before.  I must have just peeked at different sections here and there.  I do recommend that you take the time to read it cover to cover.  The compiler and editor, Sarah Anderson, did a wonderful job of organizing the chapters into seven topics:  the world as a work of art; aiming at the highest; finding a constant source of pleasure; burning with fire; lost in the abyss; grace under pressure; and how this life is the germ for the next.  It's fascinating that despite the differences in life circumstances or the time in which they lived, so many writers echoes each others' sentiments on these topics.  Get this book.