Friday, 25 September 2009

Dancing With Your Shadow

Christian books on meditation do not lie thick on the ground. There's Anthony De Mello, of course and John Main and Laurence Freeman. There's a wealth of classic material if you can find it and if you can come to terms with the archaic language. Morton Kelsey has a couple of titles which include some reference to meditation, but after that my own knowledge of the literature is starting to wear a bit thin. Which is why I was very pleased to be lent this book a week or two ago. As far as practical advice on beginning and continuing meditation goes it's the best I've come across. There are some useful chapters on the theory of meditation and some advice on what is likely to happen as you settle down to a committed practice.

Kim Nataraja has had a varied spiritual journey which began in Christianity and took the scenic route through various world faiths before arriving back where she started. She is now a leading member of the World Community For Christian Meditation. She is a spiritual director and teacher of meditation of many years standing. Her book has all the marks of rising out of year after year of coaxing people into growth in the art of arts. It is very readable and practical in its advice but doesn't skimp on the deeper stuff either. Mrs Nataraja's advice comes from a well worked philosophy of the whole person in which integration seems to be a recurring motif. Something which particularly pleases me is her use of story: points are illustrated by stories from all manner of traditions, always apt and always enjoyable for their own sake.

A quick glance at the table of contents tells you the scope of the book:
  • Foreword by Laurence Freeman OSB
  • Introduction
  • Prologue
  • CHAPTER ONE: Meditation – the art of arts
  • CHAPTER TWO: Stilling the body and the mind
  • CHAPTER THREE: Conditioned thoughts
  • CHAPTER FOUR: The interplay of the ego and the deeper self
  • CHAPTER FIVE: The worldview – old and new
  • CHAPTER SIX: Purifying the emotions by watching the thoughts
  • CHAPTER SEVEN: The spectrum of consciousness
  • CHAPTER EIGHT: Ultimate Reality
  • Epilogue: The Roots of Christian Meditation
  • Appendix I(Scriptural references to meditation)
  • Appendix II( Practical advice on how to meditate )
  • Bibliography
  • About The World Community of Christian Meditation
It is available on line at a reasonable price from the World Community of Christian Meditation For members of my parish therre is one in the parish library.

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