Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Guest: William T. Hathaway reviews The Supreme Awakening, written & compiled by Craig Pearson

February 16, 2020

Author William Hathaway is a frequent guest blogger. His review of The Supreme Awakening appears in 12 online magazines so far, including Conscious Life News. See previous articles by William Hathaway and Craig Pearson posted here on The Uncarved Blog.

The Supreme Awakening

Reviewed by William T. Hathaway

The Supreme Awakening: Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time — And How You Can Cultivate Them is the ultimate guide to higher states of consciousness. This latest book from Craig Pearson presents inspiring experiences from mystics and saints, then shows us how we ourselves can live these states permanently in enlightenment.

A sampling from the anthology:

Social reformer and poet Edward Carpenter (England, 1844-1929) describes the stages of transcendental consciousness: “There comes a time … when the … brain is stilled. It does not cease from its natural and joyful activities. But it ceases from that terrified and joyless quest which was inevitable to it as long as its own existence, its own foundation, its own affiliation to the everlasting Being was in question and in doubt. The Man at last lets Thoughts go: he glides past the feeling into the very identity itself, where a glorious all-consciousness leaves no room for separate self-thoughts or emotions. … [A]nd so there comes to him a sense of absolute repose, a consciousness of immense and universal power, such as completely transforms the world for him. … [y]ou come at length to a region of consciousness below or behind thought … a consciousness of quasi-universal quality, and a realization of an altogether vaster self than that to which we are accustomed. … To experience all this with any degree of fullness, is to know that you have passed through Death: because whatever destruction physical death may bring to your local senses and faculties, you know that it will not affect that deeper Self.”

Author Irina Starr (USA, 1911-2002) writes of her experience of unity: “[I]n some peculiar way my consciousness seemed to have expanded until it was present in a general way, far beyond even this planet. I was aware of no specific details of anywhere beyond my immediate vicinity, but I was a vastness somehow, that in no way contradicted or conflicted with my limited individuality. Subject and object had become one — had fused, in some way. There was the objective world around me … but now … there was a vast ‘plus.’ I was both my individual self and in some greater way, ‘I’ was also everything. Not the personal I, but the greater I AM. There were no longer two, only one, I AM.”

Black Elk (USA, 1863-1950), the Sioux medicine man who helped defeat Custer and was injured in the Wounded Knee Massacre, says: “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 [absolute Being], 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, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.”

Other luminaries in the anthology include Emily Dickinson, Wordsworth, Thoreau, Emerson, Rumi, Rita Carter, Goethe, Mary Austin, Meister Eckhart, Dante, Kabir, St. Teresa, Howard Thurman, Whitman, Rabbi Abraham Kook, Helen Keller, and Einstein.

Although these seekers were brilliant, most of them lacked a technique for systematically producing the experiences, which as a result were usually seldom and brief, glimpses of enlightenment treasured for a lifetime. Now, Pearson states, the Transcendental Meditation technique is enabling hundreds of thousands of ordinary people around the world to experience higher states of consciousness, not just occasionally but on a regular basis. Their descriptions match those of the mystics and saints. A sampling of similar reports from TM meditators:

“The experience of bliss consciousness has become more clear, intense, and stable not only during Transcendental Meditation but also during activity. Now I find that a soft but strong feeling of blissful evenness is present most of the time in both mind and body. Physically it is expressed as an extremely delightful liveliness throughout the body.

“This evenness is so deep and stable that it is able to maintain its status even in the face of great activity. Even  when faced with great  problems, this blissful evenness of mind and body continues. Every day it grows stronger and more stable. This evenness cushions one against all possible disruptions and makes all activity easy and enjoyable. Every place is heaven when you feel that evenness. One is completely self-sufficient. Nothing can prevent one from having that fabulous inner mental and physical blissfulness.”

A report of unity consciousness: “Increasingly I experience everything and everyone as nothing other than my own Self. … It seems that Being … is shining and glistening and even smiling at me from the surface of everything. … It’s as if the inner Being, the Self of everything, somehow rises to the surface and makes itself apparent. … With this experience of my own Self in all things, love begins to flow — love without boundaries, without exceptions, without considerations of any sort. Love flows out towards all that I perceive and seems to flow back to me as well.”

A description of permanent enlightenment: ”’Relative life’ is still there, but it is eternally and completely cloaked in, saturated by, and imbued with this indescribable, attributeless softness of one’s own eternal Self. When that is the ultimate reality for you, life is just softer, more filled with those most fundamental qualities of creation: beauty, love, sweetness, and wholeness, in a perfectly integrated way — in their finest, most mist-like, indescribable value. It is lovely beyond words. … One begins to see that one is not the body at all, not the limited personality, but something beyond that — something eternal, unchanging, unbounded, removed from the fray of what we used to consider daily life. … Never before had it been so obvious that I have always been, that there is no end to me.”

Pearson presents scientific research showing Transcendental Meditation effectively and regularly produces higher states of consciousness. It creates a pattern of brain waves, hormonal levels, and metabolic rates significantly different from meditations based on concentration and control, which are mental activities and therefore less effective at reaching the non-active state of samadhi, transcendental consciousness, in which the mind is alert and aware but free of thoughts. TM uses a special method of non-concentrative thinking that takes the mind effortlessly to the deeper, silent, unbounded realms. There it becomes suffused with the energy, intelligence, and happiness at the source of our Being and brings these qualities back into the active, thinking dimension, where they enrich our lives and improve our performance.

The Supreme Awakening first inspires us, then shows us how to make this inspiration a reality by becoming enlightened ourselves. Pearson has given us a practical guide to living an exalted life. Chapters are posted at https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/B079K4LSQ1/ref=sr_1_1?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&keywords=Supreme+Awakening&qid=1577014849&s=books&sr=1-1.

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William T. Hathaway’s novel of the climate change, Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness, tells of an old woman and a young man healing nature through techniques of higher consciousness. Chapters are posted at https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/cosmicegg-books/our-books/wellsprings. His peace novel, Summer Snow, is the story of an American warrior falling in love with a Sufi Muslim and learning from her that higher consciousness is more effective than violence. Chapters are posted at http://shattercolors.com/fiction/hathaway_summersnow01.htm.

John O’Donohue's 4 short lines say it all for poets

January 27, 2020

These 4 short lines by John O’Donohue describe how he lived his creative life—amazed by each revelatory moment, turning them into poems.

Fluent

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

— John O’Donohue

Enjoy 3 more of his lovely poems: A Blessing of Solitude (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom); The Inner History of a Day and For a New Beginning (To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings).

William Stafford expressed the same notion in his talks and poems of being innocent, spontaneous, and responding creatively in the moment: A Course in Creative Writing, You and Art, and When I Met My Muse.

This poem my son wrote when he was in 6th grade epitomizes this idea: INSPIRATION, a poem by Nathanael Chawkin.

These poems I wrote on the process share in that same sentiment: Writing; Storytelling; and Sometimes Poetry Happens, which turned out to be a commentary on this revealed poem, ODE TO THE ARTIST: Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park.

In our efforts to fluently express ourselves, writing, primarily, is a process of self-discovery. Burghild Nina Holzer says journal writing allows us to discover who we are and what we have to say.

Talking to paper is talking to the divine. Paper is infinitely patient. Each time you scratch on it, you trace part of yourself, and thus part of the world, and thus part of the grammar of the universe. It is a huge language, but each of us tracks his or her particular understanding of it.

WHO ARE YOU?, a poem in the film, Words and Pictures, invites us to write and discover who we are. There’s a fascinating story behind it.

In the words of Donald Hall, “Writing is the process of using language to discover meaning in experience and to communicate it.”

In this collection of Writers on Writing–What Writing Means To Writers, Hall also wrote:

A good writer uses words to discover, and to bring that discovery to other people. He rewrites so that his prose is a pleasure that carries knowledge with it. That pleasure-carrying knowledge comes from self-understanding, and creates understanding in the minds of other people.

Tony Walsh @LongfellaPoet’s poem, Take This Pen, inspires Brits to contribute to @PoetryDayUK

September 7, 2019

National Poetry Day, the UK-wide celebration of poetry, celebrates its 25th anniversary on 3 Oct: the theme is truth. Enjoy, discover & share!

I came across this tweet by Tony Walsh @LongfellaPoet about this event: Delighted to share this. Please watch/tag/share. It’s my poem Take This Pen, beautifully illustrated by the wonderful @chrisriddell50. It’s an inspiration piece to launch #tellyourtruthpoem for @PoetryDayUK.

Enjoy this powerful poem and video that is sure to inspire young and old alike to creatively express their own truth in a poem. Read more on this international superstar poet, teacher, and performer Tony Walsh Poet.

Very relevant is this poem, WHO ARE YOU? in the 2013 film, Words and Pictures, inviting students to create and become who they are.

Here’s one of my earliest poems about this magical creative process: Sometimes Poetry Happens: a poem about the mystery of creativity.

My son wrote this wise and amazing poem when he was 11 years old: INSPIRATION, a poem by Nathanael Chawkin.

This post—The perils of praise or blame for young writers. New ways to help students find their own voice—is a treasure trove of knowledge and teaching strategies by poets, writers, and innovative educators.

Sage advice from William Shakespeare in the film “All Is True” on how to become a truthful writer

August 18, 2019

I’ve never let the truth get in the way of a good story. — William Shakespeare*

I love this quote, and the one below, on becoming a writer, both spoken in All Is True, an intriguing film about the final years of William Shakespeare’s life (April 23, 1564 – April 23, 1616). Brilliantly written by Ben Elton, it was produced and directed by the lead actor—an unrecognizable Kenneth Branagh as William Shakespeare. Other notables are master Shakespearean actors Judi Dench, and Ian McKellen.

Earlier on, a stranger approaches Shakespeare, who had returned home to Stratford after his London Globe Theater had burned down, and attempts to ask him a question. Shakespeare starts giving him the usual advice and tries to dismiss him. The stranger finally asks him how he was able to know everything: “There is no corner of this world you have not explored, no geography of the soul, which you cannot navigate.” After some humble bumbling, he clearly gives him this powerful advice: 

If you want to be a writer,
and speak to others and for others,
speak first for yourself. Search within.
Consider the contents of your own soul… your humanity.
And if you’re honest with yourself, then whatever you write, all is true.

This contrasts dramatically with what his unmarried, bitter daughter Judith keeps saying, that nothing is true. The reason for this clash between daughter and father slowly reveals itself bit by bit as unresolved family issues are finally addressed. I highly recommend seeing this brilliant film. I watched it twice. Also see the DVD Bonus Features.

After the renowned Globe Theatre burns to the ground, William Shakespeare returns to Stratford, where he must face a neglected family and a painful past.

*Reminds me of this quote by Pablo Ruiz Picasso: Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.

Related posts on writing: Writers on Writing–What Writing Means To Writers | Elizabeth Gilbert—Some Thoughts On Writing | Words of Wisdom on Writing from Literary Lights | Burghild Nina Holzer inspires us to write and discover who we are and what we have to say | Timeless advice on writing from famous authors | Writing—my early poem on the writing process | INSPIRATION, a poem by my son as a young student | The perils of praise or blame for young writers. New ways to help students find their own voice, with links to more content.

Dr. Schneider addresses doctors on the role of managing the mind to manage the aging process

June 11, 2019

Dr. Robert Schneider addressed medical doctors at a conference of the Age Management Medicine Group in Miami, Florida, April 2019. The Review spoke with Dr. Schneider about his presentation and published an article on page 2 of the May 15, 2019 issue (Vol. 34, #15, Maharishi University of Management). A video of his talk is embedded below.

Dr. Schneider Addresses Doctors on the Role of the Mind in Aging

Hundreds of medical doctors specializing in age-management medicine learned about the role of the mind in modulating the aging process thanks to a plenary address by Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, dean of the College of Integrative Medicine.

At a conference of the Age Management Medicine Group held last month in Miami, Dr. Schneider explained how stress, such as anxiety, depression, and social isolation, accelerates the aging process by causing physiological damage, including inflammation and free radicals. These in turn damage telomeres, parts of the DNA that protect cells from premature aging.

“The doctors were very interested to hear how the mind-body connection can speed up or slow down the aging process,” said Dr. Schneider. “I explained that one needs to manage the mind to manage the aging process.”

Dr. Schneider then spoke about the research on the Transcendental Meditation® technique showing that it mitigates a range of physiological conditions associated with aging.

For example, it reduces harmful free radicals, lowers blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors, and increases telomere repair. He then pointed out that indeed research shows reduced mortality rates in subjects who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique.

“The contribution of lifestyle to aging is becoming a major theme in contemporary medicine, so these physicians were fascinated to hear how Transcendental Meditation can modify aging,” Dr. Schneider said. “This was the only session to show research on how science supports the mind-body connection. My talk spoke to their desire for evidence-based recommendations in mind-management medicine.”

Medical doctors can now become certified in age-management medicine. The physicians at the conference received continuing medical education credit for participating in Dr. Schneider’s presentation.

A video of Dr. Schneider’s presentation, The Role of Stress & Stress Reduction in Age Management Medicine, is now available for viewing.

Takeaway: If doctors want to practice evidence-based age-management medicine they should learn TM and prescribe it for their patients.

See more about Dr. Robert Schneider on this blog.

The perils of praise or blame for young writers. New ways to help students find their own voice.

April 13, 2019

The teaching of writing has evolved over the decades. Teachers used to praise students for duplicating what they were instructed to write, or criticized and graded poorly for not meeting established norms. This practice of praise or blame created consequences that were detrimental to the writer. They doubted their own natural ability to express themselves in writing, wondering whether it was good or not.

W.S. Merwin, in his poem, Berryman,* about his college professor John Berryman, asks him “how can you ever be sure that what you write is really any good at all?” He gives him an unexpected honest answer.

I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write

Nearly three decades after he mentored Merwin, Berryman would encapsulate his advice to young writers in this Paris Review interview, on the perils of praise and blame.

I would recommend the cultivation of extreme indifference to both praise and blame because praise will lead you to vanity, and blame will lead you to self-pity, and both are bad for writers.

It’s interesting to see this explanation—how praise (fame) or blame (criticism) might influence a young writer’s psychology, and therefore his or her creative output and development as a writer. Advising them to stay true to themselves, remain unswayed by public opinion, would allow them to maintain their own integrity as artists.

David Lynch is another artist who always follows his own muse and tells young filmmakers to do the same. Answering a student’s question about his creative process, he says we’re nothing without an idea. Using a fishing analogy, he explains that a desire for an idea is like a bait on a hook. He gives a detailed account of how he falls in love with ideas, turns them into a script, and transforms them into a film, or other works of art. To catch bigger fish, you have to dive deeper. David describes daydreaming and TM as ways to get there. He tells students to stay true to their vision, to meditate, and most importantly, to always have the final cut.

In this interview, he answers the same question, but from a different perspective: In the other room, the puzzle is all together, but they keep flipping in just one piece at a time.

Learning by doing: writing and teaching

When writers and poets were asked to teach creative writing, some conveyed the enterprise as a process to be explored and unfolded, not as a specific product to be reproduced. What they said made sense. I practiced their suggestions and discovered my own process of becoming a writer and a poet.

I also shared their strategies with my students facilitating them as writers. The most important takeaway was this: If you took care of the writer, the writing would take care of itself.

I enjoyed asking younger students questions to find out what they were passionate about, to help them uncover their own voice. If they said something interesting, I had them write it down, then asked them to combine their thoughts into a rough draft. I had them listen to what they had written by reading it aloud to me, to use their skills as a reader. Once involved in the process they naturally wanted to clarify their writing, to include relevant details, to edit their work. They had become intrinsically motivated writers!

Here are a few favorite writers who inspired me along the way.

What some favorite poets, writers and teachers say about writing

(more…)

Mary Oliver advises us to open up to joy and not hesitate if we suddenly and unexpectedly feel it

March 13, 2019

                    DON’T HESITATE

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

— Mary Oliver, Evidence (2009), Devotions (2017)

See this remembrance of Mary Oliver with links to more of her poems.

The nurturing effect of rainwater in Mary Oliver’s poems Lingering In Happiness At Blackwater Pond

March 13, 2019

These two poems by Mary Oliver describe the nurturing effect of rainwater in nature deep within the body of the earth and inside her own.

LINGERING IN HAPPINESS

After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground

where it will disappear—but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel;

and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.

— Mary Oliver, Why I Wake Early (2004), Devotions (2017)

AT BLACKWATER POND

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, whispering
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?

— Mary Oliver, At Blackwater Pond (2006), Devotions (2017)

See this remembrance of Mary Oliver with links to more of her poems.

A keen, patient observer of nature, Mary Oliver’s poetry shone a light on the creatures around her

March 13, 2019

I long to be the empty, waiting, pure, speechless receptacle.

From a young age, Mary Oliver loved the great poets—Wordsworth, Whitman, Emerson and Thoreau. They were her companions. She was destined to become a great poet herself.

To commune with the muse is every poet’s wish, and she succeeded. A keen, patient observer of nature, Oliver honored the creatures around her through her poetry. To do them justice she always strove to be an “empty, waiting, pure, speechless receptacle.”

Go easy, be filled with light, and shine.

Nature was her teacher. When she was among the trees, she felt uplifted by them. “I would almost say that they save me, and daily.” Sometimes sensing her low self-esteem, they would tell her to “Stay awhile.” She would see the light flowing from their branches.

They would remind her, “It’s simple,” and encourage her, “and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.” And she did! These two poems track part of her journey.

BLUE IRIS

Now that I’m free to be myself, who am I?
Can’t fly, can’t run, and see how slowly I walk.
Well, I think, I can read books.

……………“What’s that you’re doing?”
the green-headed fly shouts as it buzzes past.

I close the book.

Well, I can write down words, like these, softly.

“What’s that you’re doing?” whispers the wind, pausing
in a heap just outside the window.

Give me a little time, I say back to its staring, silver face.
It doesn’t happen all of a sudden, you know.

“Doesn’t it?” says the wind, and breaks open, releasing
distillation of blue iris.

And my heart panics not to be, as I long to be,
the empty, waiting, pure, speechless receptacle.

— Mary Oliver, Blue Iris: Poems and Essays (2006), Devotions (2017)

WHEN I AM AMONG THE TREES

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
…..but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

— Mary Oliver, Thirst (2006), Devotions (2017)

See this remembrance of Mary Oliver with links to more of her poems.

Mary Oliver’s poem, The Loon, may leave you suspended, like the poet in the early morning

March 8, 2019

To get a feeling for what Mary Oliver heard and how it affected her, listen to this video, Voices: Common Loon, before reading her poem, The Loon.

                                   THE LOON

Not quite four a.m., when the rapture of being alive
strikes me from sleep, and I rise
from the comfortable bed and go
to another room, where my books are lined up
in their neat and colorful rows. How

magical they are! I choose one
and open it. Soon
I have wandered in over the waves of the words
to the temple of thought.

…………………………………And then I hear
outside, over the actual waves, the small,
perfect voice of the loon. He is also awake,
and with his heavy head uplifted he calls out
to the fading moon, to the pink flush
swelling in the east that, soon,
will become the long, reasonable day.

……………………………………………….Inside the house
it is still dark, except for the pool of lamplight
in which I am sitting.

……………………………I do not close the book.

Neither, for a long while, do I read on.

 

— Mary Oliver, What Do We Know (2002), Devotions (2017)

See this remembrance of Mary Oliver with links to more of her poems.


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