Mindfulness

Mindfulness

 

Book: “What’s Beyond Mindfulness: Waking Up to This Precious Life?” by Stephen Fulder, Watkins Media Ltd., 2019.

Book Review by Mary Mikawoz

Book available January 15, 2019

It has taken me quite some time to read this book as I had to keep getting re-acquainted to the book as I needed to keep putting it down for consideration and reflection The book is about mindfulness. It is about Buddhism being part of our way of life that can be inclusive of already understood religions like the Judeo-Christian ones. Buddhism, as a way of life, adds to these existing religions in a way that is not adverse to them and so it is a good adjunct.

Stephen Fulder has done a lot of things including having Israeli-Palestinian workshops trying to give peace a chance in the Middle East. People leave behind their pre-conceived notions of the “enemy” and come to see that there is a humanity and spirituality in all people.

I appreciated the appendix as it offered a question/answer format. I would have, in many ways, preferred if the entire book had been written this way. Buddhism some may say is easy to learn, however, I find it much more difficult to understand and therefore difficult to write and read about.

I appreciated quotes from spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi and the many Buddhist and Hindu spiritual leaders. The books goes into the stories of the bible like Jonah and Job, as well as into a number of psalms. Stephen also has written a number of poems throughout the book.

One quote early on I like is “We can live a wise inner life of reflection, creativity and inspiration, a life with wide horizons.” Another quote towards the middle that I like is “Consciousness is pure, it is our Buddha-nature, our pure being.” Finally, a quote near the end is that “The Sanskrit wordsamadhiis used for deep quiet, serenity and concentration, and it actually means to gather ourselves together. To bring ourselves back home.” The eight tenets of Buddhism were mentioned as well.

There is a lot of information provided but I am coming from a spiritual/New Age perspective so I found myself at odds with a number of the concepts. One example is karma. I disagree with what the books says. I do think it is about cause and effect. I do think that what you have done in a previous lifetimes affects you in your current life. Many situations that you are dealing with in life are as a result of either good intention or bad intention actions in past lives.

I appreciated the vocabulary of terms in the appendix in the back. I commend Stephen Fulder for the positive work he has done in society overall.

I am giving this book 3.5 stars out of 5 because it is informative but not in a structured way. Like I mentioned above, I think the book would have been more logical to understand and also more focussed if it were a question-answer process as the concepts are difficult to grasp due to our dualistic way of thinking.

Tags:Buddhism Buddha, Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi. Judeo-Christian, Jonah, Job, Psalm, karma, situations, dualism, cause and effect, spirit, spirituality, New Age, lifetime, consciousness, reflection, creativity, Sanskrit, Mary Mikawoz, Mikawoz, Book Review.

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Book Review: The Seat of the Soul

Seat of the Soul

Seat of the Soul

 

 

 

Book: “The Seat of the Soul” by Gary Zukav

Book Review by Mary Mikawoz

I read the “Seat of the Soul” many years ago. I remember liking it very much as I remember having a lot of “Ah Ha” moments. I did not have my copy with me so I borrowed somebody else’s copy to read again. This time I found myself less impressed. I am not sure if it is because I have read many books since and I dealing with this subject matter from an entirely different perspective or that the points he makes are not new to me. Nonetheless, I found myself more critical this time.

It did not help that the person who owned this book wrote in the margins comments and added question marks to what they did not know or understand. This made me more critical too. I began to wonder what exactly was Gary Zukav trying to say.

The book covers many great areas such as evolution, karma, reverance, heart and so forth into intuition, light, relationships, souls, power and trust. It is though provoking and I am sure it would make an excellent book or literature circle book. I came to challenge a few concepts. One of the first ones is Gary Zukav’s use of the word “personality” which I personally would change out with the word “ego.” This to me, is a better indication of what he was more likely saying although perhaps this would be too much of a psychological word for him.

The second thing that I take issue with is his assertion that pets and other animals don’t have personal or individual souls. He believes that animals belong to the group soul. So, a cat or dog does not have his own personality or soul. From my observation of our pets, they definitely have their own personality and are able to tell if you are sad. There is cognition on the part of some animals because they do have the ability to understand what is going on. Maybe they do not understand everything but they are certainly capable of more than we give them credit for. I understand that many religions and thought processes would agree with Gary Zukav but I do not.

There are many fine points such as that there are five-sensory people and there are multiple-sensory people. He talks about karma, reincarnation and illusions. He indicates how the law of attraction will bring to you that which you are exhibiting. If you are being negative, negative situations and people will appear in your life. He talks about the only thing that is real is to be loved and loving.

Finally, Zukav makes the point that we are a soul with a body not a body with a soul and that we are struggling to achieve authentic power in our lives. Spiritual psychology will be able to explain psychological problems in terms of a splintered soul and not only from a strictly medical model.