Posts Tagged ‘enlightenment’

What does Vlad the Impaler, a peasant boy, an African-American family in the Deep South, and spiritual enlightenment have in common? ME. They all appear in the books I’ve selected to read throughout the month of July.  Each month I want to read at least three books from the categories I include on my Reading List 2013: adult fiction, adult nonfiction, and children’s literature. Not all of the books I will be reading each month will come directly off my reading list.

The adult fiction selection is a 642 page debut novel about one woman’s search to uncover the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula; and through that discovery a secret is revealed from her own past.

The Historian by ElizabethKostova

The Historian

There are two choices this month for the children’s literature selection. Both books are required summer reading for 7th/8th graders at the school I’ll be teaching Junior High English this upcoming school year.  They are both historical fiction. The first one takes place in fourteenth-century medieval England. Crispin is a thirteen-year-old peasant boy falsely accused of committing a crime, thus causing him to embark on an incredible  journey of self-discovery.

Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi

Avi-The Cross of Lead

The second one takes place during the Depression in the Mississippi Delta. The Logans are an African-American family coping with the struggles associated with that time and place in history. Excellent story! I fell in love with the Logan family many years ago when I taught the novel to a 6th grade Language Arts class.

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Roll of Thunder

The adult nonfiction selection is all about practicing how to be PRESENT until it transforms your life. I am a fan of Tolle’s teachings ever since reading A New Earth. Even though I’ve grown by leaps and bounds in this area of my life, I still struggle with being PRESENT and overcoming EGO. This book is a practical guide to living in the NOW, not the past or the future.

Practicing The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Practicing Power of Now

These are my reading selections for the month of July. Let me know what you’re reading. Happiness!

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~ Charles William Eliot

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Last night, I completed the book Why God is Laughing? by Deepak Chopra. The first part of his book is a fictional story about a comedian named Mickey Fellows. The story teaches Mickey about himself. Afterwards, Chopra includes a section called “The Path to Joy: Ten Principles of Spiritual Optimism.” This section explains the lessons Mickey learns along his spiritual journey and gives us a guide to discover joy and spiritual optimism. 

Four years ago, I read A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle and participated in a ten week on-line class with Oprah and Eckhart. The idea of a spiritual journey took root. I had read books on spirituality in the past; however, I really didn’t know how to utilize the information in my life.  I was in a rut and burnt out, especially with work. Many days I felt like I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown.  Interestingly, it took another year, another reading of A New Earth, a repeat of the on-line classes, and discovering Wayne Dyer’s work on spirituality to really start my journey to spiritual enlightenment. Through both spiritual teachers, I learned a great deal about EGO (edging God out) and being “present.”  EGO is responsible for fear, among many other unflattering human qualities and emotions. And, I soon discovered it had been FEAR holding me back all this time. So many times throughout my life, FEAR was the factor helping me make many of my decisions. 

While I have not totally eliminated FEAR and the EGO from my life, I have made progress at keeping them at bay. When I make decisions, I ask myself if my decisions are based on FEAR or driven by the EGO.  Currently, I’m struggling on a personal level. Frankly, I assumed all my burn out was related to work. My weight, daily routines, uncertainty about what I really want to do with my life have me stuck in another rut. Chopra’s book has explained why I’m stuck. Addiction. I’m addicted to my old self. I’m stuck on things that never bring me what I really want. Now, I have to figure out how to break the addiction. While all ten principles have valuable insights, Chopra’s sixth principle deals with inertia and getting unstuck. That’s where I’ll start. I’m optimistic I WILL eventually get out of this rut.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it./Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” ~ W.H. Murray

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