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Michael: I read the piece about reading spiritual books. I spent most of my reading life as an adult reading just that kind of book. All traditions. I joke to myself and others, that even though I've read and studied scores of these kind of books, I can't really give satisfactory explanations of much of what I've read. I had to conclude that it wasn't important to me to retain most of what I've read, but that something of the essence of what I read has become part of my being, consciousness, on some level. It becomes me, even if I can't recall a lot of it. Sometimes I asked myself if I'm wasting my time, but knowing some of who I've become, the master of spiritual teaching are a part of me. I've also questioned why am I pursuing these readings; what is driving me to know what these teachers have experienced; what is it about spiritual teachings that is moving me? I've concluded, sort of, that I can't stop myself from wanting to know and understand the highest of human experience. Having read and studied Sufism more than the others, and put much of that into practice I know consciousness has altered. For what purpose; again, to understand and live life holding in me the wisdom of the masters, saints and prophets. Having been at this for decades, almost four of them, I'm astounded. I've looked back at why this interest was there initially and at first I wasn't sure, but again, something in my nature wanted to know. What? and where did it come from? I guess it's hard to know from the surface of their life, so I had to look deeper and concluded there was something in me from birth, coming with me from whatever plane I descended. We did descend? Yes. No, from where? No certain answer. I've heard i said that sometimes we can't remember what happened yesterday, so not remembering where we descended from into this life is not surprising, but I, we, some of us get clues along the path. During my meditation practice I've had enough clues to convince me that something is going on in existence way beyond anything from this plane. One of the teaching of Sufism is, that in part, there are practices that help our consciousness get beyond the physical plane we know best; for most, is all they know. Science has caught up. One level we can understand; science easily talks about how limited our sight, hearing is based on the physical structure of our sense organs, but stuff is around us all the time that we can't see or hear; so mystics, share that we can see, hear without using our senses. Or knowing without using the mind. Where does intuition come from or how does it work? Why does it work at all? But for many of us there is a knowing without knowing where the knowing came from.
Well I won't go on, and I'm not even sure where all this writing came from, but this subject is part of my nature, as I see it is of yours. And many of us. So, let the blogging go on.

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Comment by Michael Levin on August 25, 2008 at 9:59pm
By the way, for those of you who are interested in the piece Sh'mal referred to, here it is:

Place your mind before the mirror of eternity; place your soul in the brightness of His Glory.
– Saint Clare of Assisi

We are shaped by what gains our attention and occupies our thoughts. Today, amidst all of the conditioning to the contrary, we need constant reminders of our higher nature, and that is why spiritual reading can be very helpful. The media drown us in such a low image of the human being that it is essential to remind ourselves constantly of something higher.

All of the world’s religions provide nourishment for the spirit distilled from centuries of spiritual exploration. It is a wise investment of time to take half an hour or so each day for reading from the scriptures and the writings of the great mystics of all religions. Just before bedtime is a particularly good time, because the thoughts you fall asleep in will be with you throughout the night.

Our consciousness takes on the color of what we think about. By reading the words of a favorite saint or mystic, we imbue our mind with thoughts that are beautiful, true, and full of light.



The Thought for the Day is today's entry from Eknath Easwaran's Words to Live By.

Comment by Michael Levin on August 25, 2008 at 11:25am
I was given a book by Ajahn Chan called Food for the Heart recently. It's an intro to Buddhism.

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