Category Archives: Spirituality

Wisdom Books: A Confession by Leo Tolstoy

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This work marks the author’s movement from the pursuit of aesthetic ideals toward matters of religious and philosophical consequence. The poignant text describes Tolstoy’s heartfelt reexamination of Christian orthodoxy and subsequent spiritual awakening. Generations of readers have been inspired by this timeless account of one man’s struggle for faith and meaning in life.

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Wisdom Books: Poison for the Heart by Kevin Solway

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In these few marks on paper, I offer you everything that I have, and everything that I am. Thus I exist in this work both physically and spiritually. If you read me as you read the works of others, I will appear empty. Project your own understanding onto me, to make me meaningful, and you will destroy me. Dismemberment does not appeal to me, so I will warn and warn again in an attempt to confound. And even if my warnings touch only a single one of you, the effort will have been worth the trouble.

These writings will not be welcomed by the run of humanity, nor are they intended for such animals – the herd, obsessed with happiness and the preserving of the life. My wisdom is not for the public life and the organizations within it, neither for mass movements nor break-away sects. Groups appeal to the herd mentality, but the wisdom I speak of in these writings cannot exist in such an environment and in such minds. Rather, I preserve this work for the mere handful of worthies, the true individuals, few though they be and far between. You will know yourself to be one of these precious ones when the externals of authority and tradition fill you with disgust, and when you at last delve into your own intelligence in search of your own wisdom.

~ Kevin Solway

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Wisdom Books: Rediscovering Plato by Norman D. Livergood

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The Greek thinker Plato (428-348 BCE) speaks trenchantly to us today about twenty-first century barbarism,” writes author Norman D. Livergood in the introduction to Rediscovering Plato and the Mystical Science of Dialectic. “No other single thinker offers us the weapons to defeat contemporary oppression and ignorance.”A demonic cabal has seized power and imposed a fascistic dictatorship on the United States,” writes Livergood. “It is only when teachings like Plato’s dialogues become current again in the West that we will be able to rise above barbarity and depravity to a more enlightened existence.”Not only can Plato teach us how to withstand a constant barrage of propagandized power-plays, but Plato also provides esoteric Perennialist instructions for realizing our spiritual potential, which is even more important than struggling against despotism and benightedness. Plato helps us to rescue ourselves not only from political-economic-religious tyrants, but also from our own tyrannies: our mindless self-indulgence, our acquiescence to ignorance and self-satisfaction.

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Wisdom Books: Uniting Humanity by Sanderson Beck

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Before we leave our earthly bodies at death, we could ask ourselves these questions: Are we leaving our Mother Earth and the human race in a better condition than they were when we were born? What kind of a society and world will our children and grandchildren inherit?

Since my birth in 1947 human population has tripled to about 7.3 billion people. The consumption of natural resources, especially by industrialized societies, is increasingly straining the environment. Based on scientific evidence about 99% of climate experts have concluded that the emission of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide resulting from human activity is causing the Earth to absorb more heat from the sun, thus increasing average temperatures. This global warming is changing the climate and causing more extreme weather conditions such as destructive storms and the melting of glaciers and permafrost. If this trend continues, initially more rain and melting snow will cause floods. Then lack of snow will reduce fresh water in rivers with devastating consequences for agriculture, industry, and domestic uses. Global warming will also cause more heat waves, droughts, and wildfires. Rising oceans will flood lower elevations, and excessive carbon will increase deadly ocean acidification.

Since the end of World War II nuclear bombs, other weapons of mass destruction, and advancing military technology threaten humans with mutual destruction unless our society learns how to resolve conflicts without the massive violence of wars.

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Thought-Provoking Movies: My Dinner with Andre (1981)

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The film depicts a conversation between Gregory and Shawn (not necessarily playing themselves) in a chic restaurant in New York City. Based mostly on conversation, the film’s dialogue covers such things as experimental theatre, the nature of theatre, and the nature of life, contrasting Shawn’s modest, down-to-earth humanism with Gregory’s extravagant spiritual experiences.

Gregory is the focus of the first hour of the film as he describes some of his experiences since he gave up his career as a theatre director in 1975. These include working with his friend Jerzy Grotowski and a group of Polish actors in a forest in Poland, his visit to Findhorn in Scotland and his trip to the Sahara to try to create a play based on The Little Prince. Perhaps Gregory’s most dramatic experience was working with a small group of people on a piece of performance art on Long Island which resulted in Gregory being (briefly) buried alive on Halloween night.

The rest of the film is a conversation as Shawn tries to argue that living life as Gregory has done for the past five years is simply not possible for the vast majority of people. In response, Gregory suggests that what passes for normal life in New York in the late 1970s is more akin to living in a dream than it is to real life. The movie ends without a clear resolution to the conflict in worldviews articulated by the two men. Shawn reminisces during a taxi ride back home about his childhood and mentions that when he arrives at home he tells his girlfriend Debbie about his dinner with Andre, as Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie No. 1 plays in the background.

“Andre: “OK. Yes, we are bored. We’re all bored now. But has it ever occurred to you Wally that the process that creates this boredom that we see in the world now may very well be a self-perpetuating, unconscious form of brainwashing, created by a world totalitarian government based on money, and that all of this is much more dangerous than one thinks? and it’s not just a question of individual survival Wally, but that somebody who’s bored is asleep, and somebody who’s asleep will not say no?”

~ My Dinner with Andre

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