March 16, 2013

Flip the Switch to Realization with These Two Books. ~ Marlena Rich

It’s very easy to be stuck inside a narrow world view, seemingly pigeonholed by life, tempting depression with the very fear it feeds on.

Yet, it’s equally easy, so I repeatedly have discovered in life, to flip the switch in the other direction and just say, “Yes!” to the full power of being richly human—rich in awareness and choosing to embrace some simple practices.

Just the ticket through my last round of very challenging days (okay months) have been two powerful guides from wise masters, concisely edited by New World Library’s co-founder and publisher, Marc Allen. Thank you Marc for providing these 21st century versions which deliver simple truths so clearly!

The Art of True Healing: The Unlimited Power of Prayer and Visualization by Israel Regardie affirms what I know to be true, and gently reminded me to integrate these methods as a part of my life. I’ve studied many systems and engaged in dozens of practices over the years—prayer, meditation of many types, affirmation, invocation and so on. All share this:

“By turning the fiery, penetrating power of the mind inward upon itself, and exalting our emotional system to a certain pitch, we may become aware of previously unknown currents of force, currents that are almost electric in their interior sensation, and that are healing and integrating in their effect.”

The Art of True Healing details a powerful, yet simple, conscious breathing meditation that engages our own power to shift every aspect of our life. It releases blockages to the life force energy that’s available to us at every moment of every day, enabling great health and magnetism of all that our hearts desire and deserve.

Dr. Regardie’s Middle Pillar meditation is a technique that combines the mystical concepts of yoga’s Chakras and the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life. It stimulates the body, mind and spirit as an effective healing tool.

“The force of life is infinite; we are saturated, permeated through and through with this force, this energy. It constitutes our higher self; it is our link with the entire universe; it is God within us. Every molecule of our physical system is permeated with the dynamic energy of this force; each cell in our body contains it in abundance.”

Like few books before or since, The Art of True Healing provides both the practices and theory necessary for achieving well-being and fulfillment.

A Guide to Zen: Lessons from a Modern Master by Katsuki Sekida is another gem edited by Marc Allen, who spent many months in his youth studying with Sekida at the Maui Zendo developing practice that has not ceased since. In some ways, I found resistance to reading about that which I believe should be learned through practice. Yet, I found that in the case of A Guide to Zen the art and science come together in mind convincing ways well worth the brief read. Especially for us Westerners whose minds are easily rigidified, it is important to provide our minds the companion to deep embodiment of that which the body instinctually knows as truth.

It was when I read this quote that I was on board for studying this book, “Zen is not, in my view, philosophy or mysticism,” says Sekida. “It is simply a practice of readjustment of nervous activity. That is, it restores the distorted nervous system to its normal functioning.”

God only knows that working in the modern world is formula in itself for distorting the nervous system. Sitting in front of the computer for hours a day is not what the creator had in mind for these beautifully tuned bodies. So, it’s logical to me that we should re-calibrate our systems each day to return to harmony. Right?

It’s a relief to know that in a short 110 pages one can learn everything about Zen one needs to know to get on with a meaningful practice that is soul healing, life affirming and doesn’t conflict with any religious belief systems.

How many systems have we been tempted to invest $5,000 into, only to come away over-cooked, under nourished and ready for the next practice?

“No peace of mind can be obtained unless it is fought for and won with our own body and mind.” We are talking about deep ongoing practice here that challenges assumptions built into our psyche by social programming, including about death itself…“to become emancipated from the spell of the problems of life and death.”

“When consciousness has lost its root, it finds itself floating like a piece of driftwood…Only when consciousness is awakened and firmly grasps its root can it stand securely by itself,” and so the practice of Zen teaches us to awaken at the most intuitive level, to ultimately embody existence within, to “realize the vacancy of the individual ego” and bring about the collapse of the world of opposition.

A tall order, yet achievable through practice, practice, practice, a joyful attention necessarily coaxed from within, and clearly outlined in A Guide to Zen.

Excerpts are from the A Guide to Zen by Katsuki Sekida ©2013 Marc Allen and The Art of True Healing by Israel Regardie ©2013 Marc Allen. All are published with permission of New World Library.

Assistant Editor: Sara McKeown

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