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Keep It Simple
Keep It Simple
54 used & new from $1.25

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical, brilliant, human, SOULFUL, April 25, 2008
This review is from: Keep It Simple (Audio CD)
Thank you, thank you, thank you for a record that cuts through BS. If you've been moved to tears by Springsteen's wish to "hear some rhythm" that could obliterate Radio Nowhere, this is the record for you. The moment I heard Van's voice I realized how starving I was for real music, a real man's voice, and a singer whose technique was technique-less. This is RADIO SOMEWHERE.

On Becoming an Alchemist: A Guide for the Modern Magician
On Becoming an Alchemist: A Guide for the Modern Magician
by Catherine MacCoun
Edition: Hardcover
30 used & new from $7.37

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Profound Book, March 10, 2008
I've actually been moved to tears a few times since beginning this book, out of gratitude. It has answered many questions and affirmed unspoken experiences. Using the principles of alchemy as her working basis, MacCoun names inner states and energetic patterns with breathtaking clarity and freshness. It's truly a thinking person's guide to magic, magic being the transformation of poison to medicine, of ignorance to clear seeing.

The first half of the book delves into principles of magic. The second explains the 7 non-linear stages that comprise the process of magic. The names alone evoke tremendous curiosity:


MacCoun's writing and reasoning are wonderful--deadly sharp (not sure why previous reviewer found it muddled), deep, and also funny. (Love her dry sense of humor.) While describing deeply spiritual experience, she retains admirable distance from her readers, allowing us tremendous space to encounter the material on our own. This book is equal parts profundity and friendliness--not a common combination.

Thank you Catherine MacCoun. You are giving me confidence and inspiration on my personal path. "On Becoming an Alchemist" is, as another reviewer described, a new classic.

A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are
A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are
by Stephen Mitchell
Edition: Hardcover
87 used & new from $0.01

121 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GUIDE TO FEARLESSNESS, February 6, 2007
Katie's work is absolutely different from anyone else's. Most self-help books aren't really about anyone's "self" except the author's. They provide you with their ideas about how you can be happy, and these ideas are supposed to work for everyone. But instead of offering a one-size-fits-all strategy, Katie has shown me how to craft my own solutions, under any and all circumstances. The value of this really can't be overstated.

In addition to helping me with problems after they've arisen, Katie's work showed me how to stop the problems from arising in the first place. I've learned that the way to counterbalance difficult emotions is not necessarily to explore or analyze them, but to catch them as they present themselves, question their validity, and then simply let them go. Once I examine any thought whatsoever, I'm struck by what it really, truly is in the first place: a thought. A thought has no bearing on reality. If you're suffering from a broken heart, for example, when you look, you see that your heart is not really broken. No matter how hard you try, you literally cannot find a broken heart. There is only the thought that a broken heart exists. The funny thing is that if you stop thinking that thought, the heartbreak also stops--not because you've healed it, but because it was never there anyway.

It can be difficult to believe that it's this simple, but it is. Most self-help strategies are detailed commentaries on complex psychological or spiritual theories. But Katie's suggestions are almost pre-psychology and even pre-spirituality. They're about how the mind naturally works, no matter how you were raised or what you believe. She helps you step off the merry-go-round of newer, better, perkier self-help strategies and instead relate plainly and directly to your life as it is, without a lot of sturm und drang. It's so incredibly practical.

Katie's emphasis on self-inquiry shines a light on the present moment, something all spiritual teachers tell us we should do. However, they usually don't tell you how. But Katie does. She taught me how to set aside my beliefs and philosophies about what is going on and instead relate to what is going on. That's pretty deep when you think about it, but it also may be the reason you may not get the power of her work right away. It's so stripped down and essential. It's not a system of belief, and we're not used to things that aren't assigned to a particular school of thought. But because it's a living tool (not a system or belief), it's always relevant and can be customized to meet any situation.

One way this has shown up for me is with my husband. Even though I don't always succeed (ahem), I've learned how to separate my projections about who he should be and how I need him to act from who he really is. It actually strikes me as funny to realize that up until I could do this, I was probably having a relationship with my thoughts about my husband instead of a relationship with him. I like him much better than I like my thoughts about him.

Just like Katie's method of self-inquiry, the Tao Te Ching is not a checklist of actions you can take that will solve all your problems. Instead, it's an uncannily accurate description of how reality works and what the mind responds to. Just as our Western scientists have mapped and catalogued the physical world, the Tao explains human nature. What Katie and the Tao have in common is that both explain how to step out from behind the veil of calcified belief systems and instead meet your world directly. Both explain how the mind works when left to its own devices and that if we can just get out of the way, its natural wisdom will reassert itself and provide exactly the right solution in all cases.

At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey
At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey
by Claude Anshin Thomas
Edition: Hardcover
122 used & new from $0.01

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book, September 14, 2004
This book tells an amazing story: how one man, abused in childhood, a combat soldier in Vietnam, a homeless drug addict, found the means for healing. Beginning with an encounter with Thich Nhat Hanh (the Vietnamese Monk) and then Bernie Glassman Roshi (Zen Peacemaker Order), he came into alignment with the pain of violence--his own and others. Now a mendicant monk, he has much to teach us about where the responsibiity for violence really lies--within us all. A powerful (and very readable) book.

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