Book Discussions & Reviews

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Book Discussions & Reviews

Members: 17
Latest Activity: Dec 6, 2016

Welcome to ASCS Book Discussions & Reviews

Welcome and thank you for your interest in books related to the mission of the Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies. Please join this discussion group, in order to be notified of new postings. Here, you will be kept abreast of new books being published (scroll to the Comments section below), books being reviewed in ASCS publications, and other news of interest.

We encourage you to let your fellow ASCS members know about the books you are reading, reviewing, or writing. If you have questions or advice about book publishing, please post them here.

See the Pages section (to the right) for our Book Review Guidelines, if you are interested in reviewing titles for the Searchlight or the Journal for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies.

Discussion Forum

Advice from members about new book

Started by Tom Butler. Last reply by Tom Butler Mar 1, 2016. 4 Replies

I am coming close to finishing a book and it is time to decide if I am going to publish it with AA-EVP Publishing (atransc.org) or try to find a publisher. I would like your…Continue

ADC

Started by Jane Fazzari. Last reply by Robert Landro Dec 2, 2015. 4 Replies

I am interested in new evidence of After Death Communication.  Continue

What is "New Age"?

Started by Donna Cox Baker. Last reply by Sharon Allen Aug 8, 2015. 23 Replies

In the other discussion we started today, Rick reminded me of something I've been meaning to bring up in this forum: the use of the term "New Age."My family calls me New Age because I believe in reincarnation and claim to have communicated with dead…Continue

Books Reviewed for August

Started by Donna Cox Baker. Last reply by Elene Gusch Jul 19, 2015. 5 Replies

The August issue of The Searchlight will have reviews on the following books:One Mind: How Our Individual Mind IsPart of a Greater Consciousness and Why ItMatters, by Larry Dossey, M.D., Hay House,Inc., Australia, 2013.Adventures in Psychical…Continue

Our thoughts on self-publishing

Started by Donna Cox Baker. Last reply by Donna Cox Baker Jul 19, 2015. 19 Replies

I work for a publisher, but often question whether I want to self-publish my first book, for reasons this article makes clear:…Continue

Are Our Books Measuring Up to Expectations?

Started by Donna Cox Baker. Last reply by Tom Butler Jul 11, 2015. 5 Replies

There is much talk in the scholarly press world of the demise of quality in books. Successful books on the market seem to be written rapidly, sold on the popularity of the author, barely edited, marketed for a quick return on investment, then thrown…Continue

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Comment by Tom Butler on June 27, 2016 at 6:55pm

I am happy to announce that my new book is finally published. Here are the details:

Title: Your Immortal Self--Exploring The Mindful Way

Author: Tom Butler

Publisher: AA-EVP Publishing, June 2016

Paperback is 508 pages, including many diagrams and photographs, a substantial bibliography and glossary of terms. The ePub and Kindle versions are in color and have many internal links.

I have attached a brochure that includes additional detail.

Brochure%20for%20Your%20Immortal%20Self.pdf

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on August 29, 2015 at 3:16pm

Routledge Press has released Occultism in a Global Perspective by Henrick Bogdan and Gordan Djurdjevic.

Amazon Description:

The study of the ideas and practices associated with occultism is a rapidly growing branch of contemporary scholarship. However, most research has focused on English and French speaking areas and has not addressed the wider spread and significance of occultism. Occultism in a Global Perspective presents a broad international overview. Essays range across the German magical order of the Fraternitas Saturni, esoteric Satanism in Denmark, sexual magic in Colombia and the reception of occultism in modern Turkey, India and the former Yugoslavia. As any other form of cultural practice, the occult is not isolated from its social, discursive, religious, and political environment. By studying occultism in its global context, the book offers insights into the reciprocal relationships that colour and shape regional occultism.

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on August 18, 2015 at 4:11pm

Spiritual Regression for Peace & Healing: Discover Your Life Mission Through Past Life Exploration (Llewellyn Publications, August 8, 2015)

Explore the Love, Light, and Joy of Spiritual Regression

The benefits of past-life regression are many: recognizing the divine plan for your life, losing the fear of death, and meeting your soul guides. In Spiritual Regression for Peace & Healing, you will discover how to use regression to better understand and resolve fears, health issues, and karmic relationships and discover your special skills and talents in this life.

Join author Ursula Demarmels as she shares dozens of fascinating case studies from more than 4,000 past-life regression sessions that she has conducted in her professional practice. Intimate and inspiring, these stories include heartwarming tales of people being reunited with their loved ones, friends, and even animal companions in spirit.

Foreword by Michael Newton, PhD, author of Journey of Souls.

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on August 13, 2015 at 1:52pm

Oxford University Press has released Perceiving Reality: Consciousness, Intentionality, and Cognition in Buddhist Philosophy.

Amazon Description: 

What turns the continuous flow of experience into perceptually distinct objects? Can our verbal descriptions unambiguously capture what it is like to see, hear, or feel? How might we reason about the testimony that perception alone discloses? Christian Coseru proposes a rigorous and highly original way to answer these questions by developing a framework for understanding perception as a mode of apprehension that is intentionally constituted, pragmatically oriented, and causally effective. By engaging with recent discussions in phenomenology and analytic philosophy of mind, but also by drawing on the work of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, Coseru offers a sustained argument that Buddhist philosophers, in particular those who follow the tradition of inquiry initiated by Dign?ga and Dharmak?rti, have much to offer when it comes to explaining why epistemological disputes about the evidential role of perceptual experience cannot satisfactorily be resolved without taking into account the structure of our cognitive awareness.

Perceiving Reality examines the function of perception and its relation to attention, language, and discursive thought, and provides new ways of conceptualizing the Buddhist defense of the reflexivity thesis of consciousness-namely, that each cognitive event is to be understood as involving a pre-reflective implicit awareness of its own occurrence. Coseru advances an innovative approach to Buddhist philosophy of mind in the form of phenomenological naturalism, and moves beyond comparative approaches to philosophy by emphasizing the continuity of concerns between Buddhist and Western philosophical accounts of the nature of perceptual content and the character of perceptual consciousness.

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on July 11, 2015 at 2:15pm

Coming August 13, Oxford University Press is publishing an updated edition of America's Four Gods: What We Say about God--And What That Says About Us, by Paul Froese and Christopher Bader.

Amazon Description:

Despite all the hype surrounding the "New Atheism," the United States remains one of the most religious nations on Earth. In fact, 95% of Americans believe in God--a level of agreement rarely seen in American life. The greatest divisions in America are not between atheists and believers, or even between people of different faiths. What divides us, this groundbreaking book shows, is how we conceive of God and the role He plays in our daily lives. 

America's Four Gods draws on the most wide-ranging, comprehensive, and illuminating survey of American's religious beliefs ever conducted to offer a systematic exploration of how Americans view God. Paul Froese and Christopher Bader argue that many of America's most intractable social and political divisions emerge from religious convictions that are deeply held but rarely openly discussed. Drawing upon original survey data from thousands of Americans and a wealth of in-depth interviews from all parts of the country, Froese and Bader trace America's cultural and political diversity to its ultimate source--differing opinions about God. They show that regardless of our religious tradition (or lack thereof), Americans worship four distinct types of God: The Authoritative God--who is both engaged in the world and judgmental; The Benevolent God--who loves and helps us in spite of our failings; The Critical God--who catalogs our sins but does not punish them (at least not in this life); and The Distant God--who stands apart from the world He created. The authors show that these four conceptions of God form the basis of our worldviews and are among the most powerful predictors of how we feel about the most contentious issues in American life. 

This updated edition includes a new preface and afterword in which the authors reflect on their goals in writing this book, and explore trends that have developed since the initial publication.America's Four Gods provides an invaluable portrait of how we view God and therefore how we view virtually everything else.

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on July 4, 2015 at 7:03am

Rebecca Beattie's Pagan Portals--Nature Mystics: The Literary Gateway to Modern Paganism will be released July 31 by Moon Books.

Amazon Description:

Pagan Portals – Nature Mystics traces the lives and work of ten writers who contributed to the cultural environment that allowed Modern Paganism to develop and flourish throughout the twentieth century. John Keats, Mary Webb, Thomas Hardy, Sylvia Townsend Warner, D.H. Lawrence, Elizabeth von Arnim, W.B. Yeats, Mary Butts, J.R.R. Tolkien and E. Nesbit.

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on July 4, 2015 at 7:01am

Released this past Wednesday, Tibetan Buddhism and Mystical Experience by Yaroslav Komarovski might be of interest to many of our members.

Amazon Description:

In this book, Yaroslav Komarovski argues that the Tibetan Buddhist interpretations of the realization of ultimate reality both contribute to and challenge contemporary interpretations of unmediated mystical experience. The model used by the majority of Tibetan Buddhist thinkers states that the realization of ultimate reality, while unmediated during its actual occurrence, is necessarily filtered and mediated by the conditioning contemplative processes leading to it, and Komarovski argues that therefore, in order to understand this mystical experience, one must focus on these processes, rather than on the experience itself. 

Komarovski also provides an in-depth comparison of seminal Tibetan Geluk thinker Tsongkhapa and his major Sakya critic Gorampa's accounts of the realization of ultimate reality, demonstrating that the differences between these two interpretations lie primarily in their conflicting descriptions of the compatible conditioning processes that lead to this realization. Komarovski maintains that Tsongkhapa and Gorampa's views are virtually irreconcilable, but demonstrates that the differing processes outlined by these two thinkers are equally effective in terms of actually attaining the realization of ultimate reality. Tibetan Buddhism and Mystical Experience speaks to the plurality of mystical experience, perhaps even suggesting that the diversity of mystical experience is one of its primary features.

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on June 30, 2015 at 8:01am

Inner Traditions will release The Kabbalistic Mirror of Genesis: Commentary on the First Three Chapters on August 1. 

Amazon says:

A bold line-by-line reexamination of the first 3 chapters of Genesis that reveals the essential nature of mind and creativity 

• Deconstructs each line of Genesis chapters 1-3 with esoteric methods derived from the oral teachings of the Kabbalah 

• Reveals the sefirot, the Tree of Life, as the Divine blueprint of the creative process 

• Explains how Genesis reveals the Divinity of mind and consciousness 

Hidden within the first three chapters of Genesis rests one of the greatest jewels of Western mystical literature. For millennia religious literalism has dominated our understanding of the Bible, imprisoning its subtle inner wisdom within the most coarse and superficial aspects of the narrative. Generations have been led to believe that Genesis 1-3 is only a primitive proto-cosmic history, a mythological explanation of the human moral disposition, a religious fairy tale. But by accepting the text as pure kabbalistic metaphor, the mystical content of Genesis springs forth, revealing the Divine nature of creativity as well as a new understanding of the human mind. 

Deconstructing each line of Genesis 1-3 with esoteric methods derived from the oral teachings of the Kabbalah, David Chaim Smith reveals how the ten sefirot, collectively known as the Tree of Life, are not simply a linear hierarchy. They are a unified interdependent whole with ten interactive functions, forming the template through which creative diversity manifests. Through acts of creation and creativity, the mind expresses its Divine nature. Through our Divine creative power, we are able to touch upon Ain Sof (the infinite), the lifeblood of all creative expression. Smith’s line-by-line examination of Genesis 1-3 reveals a complete model not only of Divine creativity but also of the predicament of the human mind, of the Divine nature of consciousness as well as our inability to recognize the mind’s Divinity. 

With this new interpretation, which removes the concept of a Creator God, we are able to transcend the contrasting notions of “being” and “non-being” at the heart of conventional habits of perception and awaken a new mystical understanding of Unity and the fathomless depth of Divinity.

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on June 13, 2015 at 1:55pm

Samael Aun Weor's Gazing at the Mystery: Paranormal Events Explained (Glorian Publishing) was released June 1.

Amazon: 

In this simple and lively book, Samael Aun Weor describes his experiences of a wide variety of metaphysical and paranormal phenomena. In a question and answer format, he responds to the inquiries of people who have experienced events they cannot explain, like strange visitors, out of body experiences, and more. Discarding the usual pseudo-spiritual beliefs and illogical theories, Samael Aun Weor answers with lived experiences that anyone can scientifically verify for themselves. He introduces the reader to Gnosis, the practical science of awakening the consciousness, by means of which any person can experience the realities that exist beyond the physical senses. Just as anyone can acquire practical knowledge of gravity or other physical phenomena, anyone can acquire knowledge of the physics of other dimensions. The only difference is that while physical phenomena are measured with physical senses, the paraphysical phenomena ― that which occurs beyond the range of physical senses ― require corresponding senses capable of perceiving them. Those senses are latent in every person; one simply needs to know how to activate them. By awakening consciousness, we acquire the means to have our own Gnosis: the experience of what is real and true. Then, one does not need to believe or disbelieve: one knows, because one has experienced the truth.

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on June 4, 2015 at 5:15pm

"Carney explores how those who go to extremes to achieve divine revelations—and undertake it in illusory ways—can tangle with madness."

 A Death on Diamond Mountain: A True Story of Obsession, Madness, and the Path to Enlightenment (Gotham) by Scott Carney was released in March.

Amazon:

An investigative reporter explores an infamous case where an obsessive and unorthodox search for enlightenment went terribly wrong.

When thirty-eight-year-old Ian Thorson died from dehydration and dysentery on a remote Arizona mountaintop in 2012, The New York Times reported the story under the headline: "Mysterious Buddhist Retreat in the Desert Ends in a Grisly Death." Scott Carney, a journalist and anthropologist who lived in India for six years, was struck by how Thorson’s death echoed other incidents that reflected the little-talked-about connection between intensive meditation and mental instability.

Using these tragedies as a springboard, Carney explores how those who go to extremes to achieve divine revelations—and undertake it in illusory ways—can tangle with madness. He also delves into the unorthodox interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism that attracted Thorson and the bizarre teachings of its chief evangelists: Thorson’s wife, Lama Christie McNally, and her previous husband, Geshe Michael Roach, the supreme spiritual leader of Diamond Mountain University, where Thorson died.

Carney unravels how the cultlike practices of McNally and Roach and the questionable circumstances surrounding Thorson’s death illuminate a uniquely American tendency to mix and match eastern religious traditions like LEGO pieces in a quest to reach an enlightened, perfected state, no matter the cost.

Aided by Thorson’s private papers, along with cutting-edge neurological research that reveals the profound impact of intensive meditation on the brain and stories of miracles and black magic, sexualized rituals, and tantric rites from former Diamond Mountain acolytes, A Death on Diamond Mountain is a gripping work of investigative journalism that reveals how the path to enlightenment can be riddled with danger.

 

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