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Spirit: Book 3

February 03, 2010 By: Julie Clayton Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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The Stone Boy and other stories (1996)
By Thich Nhat Hanh

Parallax Press

Published in 1996, The Stone Boy remains a perennial favorite of mine, written by Zen master and teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn. He is a master storyteller and poet, and this collection of short fictional stories explores the universal themes of love and compassion, against a backdrop of Vietnamese culture and his own spiritual experiences. I personally appreciate being introduced to another culture, and particularly when the author is able to show how the thread of human connection transcends the visible world. These stories are infused with cathartic wisdom that permeates your soul, and showers you with sparks of inner awakening to the sacredness of all life. If words define our reality, this clustering of words articulates a mindful and luminous world of interconnection.

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Spirit: Book 2

February 02, 2010 By: Julie Clayton Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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Dying Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me (2006)
By William E. Hablitzel, MD

Sunshine Ridge Publishing

This book is a rare gift that reminds us of our divine grace on the path of life. A gem of heartwarming wisdom about the beauty and courage of the human spirit, you will want to share this book with your friends and enemies alike. Taboos around death in the Western world might make us want to shy away from any book title with the word “dying” in it: be assured that this book is about life and living fully, even—and especially—in the face of the inevitable.

Sooner or later, each person in the book realizes that the healing in dying, or in life circumstances in which we metaphorically die, comes from one life-affirming choice: to fully embrace each moment that life offers. We are touched by these people’s fragility and their strength, for we’re not simply reading stories, we are being included in intimate and life-changing moments. That some of the people in these stories are dying (and eventually pass) from their condition is not a failure for physician or patient; it is, for both, their greatest inspiration for living.

Dying was the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me baptizes readers in a well of profound heart wisdom that is deeper than any one person or single act. Each story spills like a waterfall into our own heart of wholeness, reminding us that we too are here now because we have said yes to life.

Please join me tomorrow for the final book in this series.


Part 3 of 3: Spirit

February 01, 2010 By: Julie Clayton Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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Spiritual Tools for Conscious Living

When contemplating  which books to highlight for this final installment of Spiritual Tools for Conscious Living, I realized something I hadn’t previously identified. While there are valuable and profound books that offer systems, teachers, and tools toward awakening and the process of enlightenment (what I call applied spirituality), it is the storytelling books that I was drawn to. Inquiring within about the differences, I realized that more profound than the differences is the presence of a common theme regardless of the path illuminated: it is only through the heart that we can have a spiritual experience.

The Institute of Heartmath states, “When you feel genuine hope, care, and compassion, your heart is sending harmonious and coherent signals to the brain/mind, replacing feelings of separation with a sense of connection. The heart and brain are aligned and in sync.” Spiritual storytelling evokes this range of feelings, activating these coherent signals—and we have a direct experience of connection, and to our own spiritual essence.

Join me over the next week as I explore three books whose stories greatly impacted my spirit. Following is book 1 of 3.


Bridge Between Worlds: Extraordinary Experiences That Changed Lives (2009)
By Dan Millman and Doug Childers

New World Library

This is a compilation of 40 true-life stories of dramatic and miraculous events that permanently and profoundly changed the lives of their authors. They are stories of healing miracles, out-of-body realms, redemption, letting go, perseverance of faith, angelic intervention, and transformation in many unexpected guises—each offering an expanded vision of reality that opens us to the possibility of something beyond the ordinary.

Each story invokes the mysterious and the miraculous: while reading we are connected to a higher vibration that is both us, and not us, but is in sync with our spiritual essence. Vicariously it is our miracle, our mystery, and our life that is changed, just by reading these accounts. They are food for the heart-mind.

Since I missed the original version of this book, published in 1999 as Divine Interventions, I thoroughly savored reading this for the first time. However, some things are worth reading (and publishing) over and again.

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Mind: Book 3

January 21, 2010 By: Julie Clayton Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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The Great Field: Soul at Play in a Conscious Universe
By John James, PhD

West Grinstead Publications

The Great Field is a hopeful evolutionary story about the place of the human soul within a vast, energetic universe. Far from being new, it is a perpetual story that we already know, but one that continually evolves as consciousness changes and the human story unfolds. The author presents an absorbing and original investigation into a unified theory: the Great Field. He describes it as a limitless field of energy from which everything has been created and within which everything exists. As a transpersonal psychotherapist, James’ intention is to explore the power of the personal field of energy we call “soul,” within this immense domain.

In the latter half of the book the author draws from twenty years of therapeutic practice to describe his experiences of working with clients from this paradigm: therapy becomes “transformation,” and healing occurs in the deeper fields of vibration that form our psyche. Accepting and experiencing what lives beyond the physical senses can “help to clarify all creation and give meaning to the conflicts that so damages our species,” James optimistically concludes. Writing with an innovative synthesis of scientific evidence, cultural wisdom, spiritual truth, and therapeutic data, The Great Field pioneers an original vision of human potential.

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Mind: Book 2

January 20, 2010 By: Julie Clayton Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

Healing and Transformation Through Self-Guided Imagery
By Leslie Davenport

Celestial Arts

This book is about seeing with the heart and allowing your unconscious imagery to surface when you do, particularly in response to psychological trauma and crisis. It is one of the best written self-facilitated, self-help books I’ve seen in a while: easy but profound worksheets walk you through your own process, case studies model how the process can work, the guided imagery really does guide you, and the author’s heart-based wisdom comforts you as if she were right at your side through the entire process.

Please join me tomorrow for my review of the final book for “Mind”  in my Spiritual Tools for Conscious Living series.

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Part 1 of 3: Body

January 13, 2010 By: Julie Clayton Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

Spiritual Tools for Conscious Living

There is so much information available these days about taking care of our bodies. At times it can seem overwhelming, not to mention contradictory. How do we recognize what is useful, what is coherent with our own unique biological system, and what will fit into our lifestyle?

With intention we can attune our awareness to the various elements of our body, which will provide feedback to support our particular health needs. With intention we can notice the innate intelligence within our body, expand our knowledge and understanding through outside information, and take responsive action.

As a new consciousness book and film reviewer, I read hundreds of books each year. Below I highlight one book for our physical, mental and spiritual “bodies” that I have found particularly useful. It just happens that these are mostly contemporary books, but there are many, many books, old and new, which can inform, inspire, and invigorate our intentions.

Beth Shaw’s Yogafit: The program for a more powerful, flexible and defined physique
Beth Shaw
Human Kinetics, 2009

Over the years I have been both a student and teacher of yoga, and like so many of us, my commitment to yoga goes in cycles of intensity according to my life circumstances. But what I always give myself is fifteen minutes of yoga stretches each morning, just to keep my joints loosened, my muscles stretched and worked, and to assure my body that I haven’t forsaken it. Beth Shaw’s Yogafit is a practical book suited for novice and experienced yogis alike. It has enough background information about yoga poses to satisfy our intellectual understanding, and specific experiential instructions to get us into each pose, hold it, and modify it, along with a photograph of someone in the pose. The last section of this book has ready-made workouts for fitness and specific sports activities, along with a chapter on diet and nutrition, and meditation. You can follow her workouts, make up your own, or just choose poses that resonate for you. Remember to take your time and breathe. And be sure to quiet the inner critic: yoga is not a competition, even with yourself. It’s a journey.

The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy
Cyndi Dale
Sound True, 2009

Brain research has demonstrated that our mind can’t tell the difference between something real or imagined. So, for those who may be skeptical about energetic healing, I propose that it doesn’t matter if it is “true” or not. If, in our collective psyche, we have imagined and “experienced” it to be so, then it is so. Every health issue has a physical and energetic component and every organism has numerous energy bodies within it (think acupuncture meridians, chakras, light, electric frequencies, and so on). Ancient systems mapping these energetic bodies and “information highways” have stood the test of time; more modern research of our energetic nature permeates many related fields, including quantum physics.

Although Subtle Body does not present anything new in holistic healing, it is an outstanding compendium of subtle energy anatomy, where mechanism and mysticism find common ground in whole being consciousness. More so, it is marks a milestone in the merging of science and subtle energy healing traditions, without getting too esoteric. It is visually pleasing with outstanding color photographs and overall is an extraordinary body of work and reference book for subtle energy healing.

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