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The Tao of Walt Whitman: Daily Insights and Actions to Achieve a Balanced Life (Sentient Tao Series) Paperback – March 16, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1591811046 ISBN-10: 159181104X Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is a nice, inspirational book. There are a lot of inspirational books that give us food for thought each day. This one goes a little further in also giving us a simple meditation or exercise to do each day to fully absorb the thought of the day. I tried some of them and found that they really do help me understand and integrate the thoughts and inspirations of the day. -- Anita Burns, The Messenger, 09/01/2012

This purse-sized volume containing Walt Whitman’s words and additional comments by the authors is the sort of aid to “keeping cool” that many people at their prime will appreciate. Daily life can be so harried that we forget who we are and want to be. These wise advisors remind us to stop in our tracks and really dwell on a single idea. It takes a willing heart, however. Fifty-two weeks of daily meditations are included here in spare prose (the reading of which will take no more than ten minutes out of your day). There are no long literary passages from the American “poet of the people.” Shaw, a poet in her own right, and Allen, a student of consciousness and leader of transformational seminars, have carefully chosen a few lines for each ponderable subject: paradox, authenticity, miracles, wonder, shadow, chaos, and so forth. Then they have added their suggestion of a quick application to the reader’s own train of thought. Sundays are reserved for their thoughts, brief and provocative, arising from their practice of Taoism. The introduction explains that Taoism is the “ancient Chinese philosophical and spiritual tradition that emphasizes compassion, humility, and moderation.” Who can doubt that these qualities are needed as correctives to the competiveness of the workplace and playing fields of our time? Wisdom that is “ancient” gives us perspective, as does the sensibility of an observant 19th century poet. Whitman was born to a working class family only three decades after George Washington was named President of the United States. He grew up in Manhattan, then just becoming an urban center in a nation that was newly formed as a democracy, inspiring pride in its leaders. His biographers (whitmanarchive.org) note that he loved riding the ferries and thus the idea of “crossings” became central to his mystical thoughts; crossing was the passage from life to death; it was the service of his poetry to cross from poet to reader and back. Shaw and Allen are quick to say that none of what they have compiled is required reading; they want us to use what they have culled from ancient and historic thought as we see fit. They also confess that they are not Whitman scholars. English majors such as I am may find it frustrating not to know the source of each poem excerpt – or they might find themselves trying to remember. That’s a distraction. Still, the handy guide to improving each day by one positive act (whether it is to host a party or simply smile big at passersby) is extremely useful, especially to Americans who will appreciate that the gift of democracy is, at its core, plain decency. --Karen Dahood, bookpleasures.com; 9/11/12

Just like the Tao Te Ching, The Tao of Walt Whitman offers down-to-earth pointers to living life peacefully and joyfully, connected and aligned with nature and the universe. As you contemplate the verses of Walt Whitman, immediately after, you will find that authors Connie Shaw and Ike Allen have also provided reflections and insights that you can further contemplate, as well as actions that you can take. Altogether, these tools can be used to help you cultivate your daily life into a more peaceful and joyful one. Through simplicity and being fully present in each day, through inquiry into the nature of things, taking time to reflect upon and cultivate your life, helps you to maintain balance, where you are fully connected to life—to nature and to the universe. In this day and age, we are overloaded with and bombarded by technology and living a fast-paced life, which has cut us off from nature and the simplicity of life, creating more stress in our daily lives, so we have to make a conscious effort to reconnect to source, at least until it becomes effortless and a natural way—Tao of life. The Tao of Walt Whitman helps us to reconnect and remember our true nature, providing us with tools that we can use to rediscover the Tao of life that is the most fulfilling, connected, all-embracing, body and soul, where we are living a balanced, peaceful and joyful existence. --Pamela J. Wells, www.selflessbeing.com; 9/12/12

Just like the Tao Te Ching, The Tao of Walt Whitman offers down-to-earth pointers to living life peacefully and joyfully, connected and aligned with nature and the universe. As you contemplate the verses of Walt Whitman, immediately after, you will find that authors Connie Shaw and Ike Allen have also provided reflections and insights that you can further contemplate, as well as actions that you can take. Altogether, these tools can be used to help you cultivate your daily life into a more peaceful and joyful one. Through simplicity and being fully present in each day, through inquiry into the nature of things, taking time to reflect upon and cultivate your life, helps you to maintain balance, where you are fully connected to life—to nature and to the universe. In this day and age, we are overloaded with and bombarded by technology and living a fast-paced life, which has cut us off from nature and the simplicity of life, creating more stress in our daily lives, so we have to make a conscious effort to reconnect to source, at least until it becomes effortless and a natural way—Tao of life. The Tao of Walt Whitman helps us to reconnect and remember our true nature, providing us with tools that we can use to rediscover the Tao of life that is the most fulfilling, connected, all-embracing, body and soul, where we are living a balanced, peaceful and joyful existence. --Pamela J. Wells, Selfless Being

As a guide to the transcendent, Whitman’s poetry offers illumination for those on the path of Taoist harmony. This book is an inspired blend of bite-size samples from Whitman, along with the authors’ reflections and exercises. --Marci Shimoff, author of Happy for No Reason and Love for No Reason

The Tao of Walt Whitman presents gem-like excerpts of his verse, along with creative, thought-provoking activities and commentary, to bring the essence of this exhilarating poet into our daily lives. --Judy Morley, publisher of Science of Mind magazine

About the Author

Connie Shaw is the publisher at Sentient Publications, which focuses on books with fresh perspectives on holistic health, transformative spirituality, alternative education, and ecology. She lives in Boulder, Colorado

Ike Allen, is a seminar leader and conscious filmmaker who has spent over two decades studying the nature of the human experience, Ike guides individuals to leap beyond limits in all areas of their lives.
He has researched and been exposed to a plethora of visionaries and teachings, gaining wisdom from experiences ranging from immersion in the ancient cultures of Asia to interviewing a wide variety of spiritual leaders. Ike is the Founder of AVAIYA. AVAIYA is committed to guiding individuals to discover their own truth, to live a life beyond perceived limits. AVAIYA creates transformative movies, such as Leap!, A Course in Miracles The Movie, The Tao of Quantum Physics and the New Thought book series, 45 Days With.

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Product Details

  • Series: Sentient Tao Series
  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Sentient Publications; 1 edition (March 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159181104X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591811046
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,714,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tamarack Song on April 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
If there is any person who had a life dream and followed through on it, it was Walt Whitman. He set out to write America's book of poetry--verse for laborer and intellectual alike. His vision was to have poetry be as common as grass, and he was so dedicated to the pursuit that his collection, titled Leaves of Grass, was the only work he ever produced. He not only self-published and promoted it, but he spent the rest of his life revising it and putting out new editions.

As is often the case with writings that touch a common thread, they speak for the current generation and then get relegated to the shelf of classics, only coming down to be studied in some college literature class. Not so with Whitman. With his unabashed yearning for the substance of life and the courage he exhibited in fulfilling his sexual and cultural yearnings, he was a beatnik before the word was invented. He became a guru of the Beat generation, and in doing so helped inspire the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.

Now his verse comes to inspire another generation, in the form of Connie Shaw and Ike Allen's The Tao of Walt Whitman. For a contemporary audience, Leaves of Grass in its original form has a flaw--it is a book. A century ago, inspirational books were commonly found on the mantles and desktops of homes throughout the country. The world has changed, and our reading styles with it. I know of very few people who sit down to a leisurely breakfast anymore, or spend a quiet evening at home with family, where a favorite book might be read from. Yet we need that insight and pause for reflection on a daily basis--perhaps now more than ever. It has to be a bite-size piece that we can take with us on our busy day, or a pearl to reflect on in meditation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lee on May 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
When I first picked up this book, I didn't expect what happened. What began as an isolated, somewhat detached curiosity and interest in a writer I know to be amazing, poet Walt Whitman, became an immersive experience across time, space, spiritualities, worldviews, and experience. The bite size pieces of Walt Whitman are excellently chosen, a joy unto themselves; the questions about those pieces bring everything back home to me, and I'm no longer a spectator of beautiful poetry. I join Walt Whitman, very much a human, and the authors Connie Shaw and Ike Allen, and we muddle, soar, puzzle, and sit with, our lives and what they mean, gaining perspective from each other. The end of the week reflections by either author were so touching to read, so honest and real. I'm grateful for all of the threads that this book brought for me, and I see how they easily weave me into the exploration I think many of us are on with so much access to so many ideas, how we incorporate so many different philosophies, experiences, thoughts, and ways, into our lives without overloading. That there is a distillation that works and overlaps with so much else out there. Walt Whitman was working on balance, and so it is with Taoism, and so it is with me, and the authors. It's a little treasure, and it's easy to use over and over again. The reflections at the end of each little piece of poetry were truly inspirational, often difficult and surprising, but always something I knew I could use to explore. I'll be using this book for a long while.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Slade on April 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
I love this book. So simple in concept: a quotation from Uncle Walt for each day of the week. Editors Connie Shaw and Ike Allen footnote each bite-sized chunk with a modest reflection. Weeks are subdivided into 52 themes: "Transcendence" ... "Authenticity" ... "Nature" ... etc., and within that context, Whitman's graceful homilies set a tone for the day, a meditation for the week. And why not? Whitman himself thought of LEAVES OF GRASS as a new Bible. He tells his reader, "I considered long and seriously of you before you were born," and in this Song of the Open Tao, a living Whitman springs from the pages into your arms, your mind, your heart.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book has little snippets to think about. And when you're in the Dentist offices, etc. sometimes you need to think about bigger issues.
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