What I’ve been reading

Books have a phenomenal way of getting into you and transforming the way you think and see. That goes for fiction and non-fiction, though I have to admit that I’m not much of a fiction reader. What I thought I’d do here is, rather than the usual boring book reviews, which I don’t enjoy reading or writing, demonstrate my relationship with the books I’ve been reading.

A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber.
This is a very fascinating yet difficult book to get through. I first picked it up earlier in the year and found the going a bit tough, as Wilber is a bit of a wild writer. He likes to introduce all manner of theories and topics in a haphazard fashion, and given my limited attention span, I found myself re-reading a lot. After doing studies in cultural theory at university, I found myself again attracted to his work, and making much more sense of it. He constantly refers back to the maps he has created to explain integral theory, which demonstrates how Spirit weaves in to every element of life.

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
I read this last year, and picked it up again due to the online book study being held by Oprah and Tolle. This along with The Power of Now are my favourite books, in that they demonstrate a very simple yet very profound grasp of spiritual awareness. It is through The Power of Now and then A New Earth that I finally began to grasp the idea of nonduality or oneness.

Natural Grace by Rupert Sheldrake & Matthew Fox
This little book is actually a transcription of dialogues between Sheldrake and Fox, the former being a scientist and the latter a theologian, and both being keenly interested in spirit and nature. This is a truly wonderful book, far more accessible than the previous books I’ve read from Fox (though I wonder whether my growing awareness has something to do with that). From the back cover: ‘They both believe that as the new millennium dawns (the book was published in 1996), a new vision is needed which brings together science, spirituality and a sense of the sacred.’ I’m beginning to grasp this new vision and these vehicles of it are truly a blessing.

The Radiance of Being: Complexity, Chaos and the Evolution of Consciousness by Allan Combs
I’ve only just started reading this, but have now been introduced to the idea of chaos theory and how it goes to explain the functions of conscious experience.

Re-enchantment: The New Australian Spirituality by David Tacey, who is Associate Professor of English at La Trobe University Melbourne
It’s great to pick up a book that looks at spirituality from an Australian perspective. Only just started reading this one, nothing too riveting so far as it is the interweaving of themes from previous books.

How (Not) to Speak of God by Pete Rollins
I have mentioned this before, but after being bathed in cultural theory and the work of Ken Wilber I am able to grasp postmodernism and deconstruction philosophy. This book can really only be experienced rather than explained (much like the two books from Tolle). It is divided into two unique sections, one explaining Rollins’ unique perspective on faith, the other on his very unique ‘church services’ in a pub in Dublin, Ireland. I’m an avid reader of his blog, which is a great way to access what he does (and doesn’t) have to say.

The thing most amazing about these and other books I didn’t mention is that the themes in them cross together to form cohesion. When I first approached Tolle, Wilber and Spong, the content was too far removed from my reality to be accessible. My consciousness had not yet evolved enough to grasp the meaning, since I was still shaking off my fundamentalism. Widely reading, as well as the influence of my studies in psychology and cultural theory, has brought me to being able to appreciate and understand these other perspectives. In the words of Ken Wilber, I have transcended my previous position as a conservative evangelical Christian, believing in the dogma of Christianity, yet still include the profound and mystical dimensions of faith that can be found in the scriptures. And I have seen no one better put to words how the words of Christ can be transcended and included into this evolution of consciousness than Eckhart Tolle.

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