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Awakening Universe, Emerging Personhood: The Power of Contemplation in an Evolving Universe Paperback – December 20, 2002
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Her unique, compelling book is her creative synthesis of science and spirituality, can effectively guiding readers toward a positive future. -- Ewert Cousins, Professor Emeritus of Theology, Fordham University.
Mary Coelho has created a guidebook for every serious contemplation of the cultural and spiritual significance of contemporary science. -- Brian Swimme, California Institute of Integral Studies
From the Back Cover
"I have feelings of deep gratitude for the work that Mary Coelho has done. As I have read it I am sometimes moved to tears as it confirms what my heart has known all along. Marys gift is that she is at home in the scientific venture but she is patient and careful as she demystifies the language and learning of its quantum pioneers." Sr. Miriam Therese MacGillis, OP, co-founder of Genesis Farm, Earth Literacy Center, N.J.
"Many times as I was reading, I thought of the unnameable people in the future who will be served, touched, guided, inspired by her insights, scholarship, intuition and vision. Mary Coelho has created a guidebook for every serious contemplation of the cultural and spiritual significance of contemporary science. A distinguished and vibrant work integrating science and spirituality in ways directly relevant to contemporary societys deepest challenges." Brian Swimme, California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, Ca. & Dir. of the Center for the Story of the Universe.
"In this time of global crisis, the human race is caught up in the greatest transformation of consciousness in history. To make the transition into the future, we need guides who are learned in both science and spirituality and are gifted with a vision of hope for the future. Mary Coelho is such a guide for she has been trained as a scientist and as a specialist in classical Western spirituality, including the vision of Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. What makes her book unique and compelling is her own creative synthesis of science and spirituality that can effectively guide the reader toward a positive future." Ewert Cousins, Professor Emeritus of Theology, Fordham University.
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The Power of Contemplation in an Evolving Universe
By Mary Conrow Coelho
In this book, Mary Coelho provides a new story for humankind integrating the findings of science from astrophysics, to biology, to depth psychology, to the discoveries of mystics in the search of the divine. She seeks and finds in its origins the Fiery Fountain of God irradiating the universe, shaping it, directing it, but not a God in the sky but God of the Abyss, a God of the plenum empty yet full, forcing the expansion of that tiny firecracker known to us as the “Big Bang” and continuing to direct it from inside through eons on the path to becoming among other things that self-conscious beast we now know as us. We find ourselves now, having proceeded from the age when we saw ourselves primarily as tribal members, to seeing ourselves as self-standing and self-directing individuals approaching another axial change. On the edge of the new way of being we can find guidance in that which is buried in all of creation but accessible only to us who have the power to look inward.
Three hundred seventy eight pages of material make it impossible for me to describe this paradigm changing book to you but I can give you a few “learnings” and one question that arises in me from reading as an example of what you find when you enter the Universe according to Mary and a lot of other deep minded people.
I’m impaled on the fact that this whole thing started from a single burst of energy, (matter coming eons later) and nothing has been added. This whole thing is a whole thing. I am part of you, and part of the moon and sun and moons and suns yet to be discovered. I can call all living things “my relatives.” (We have finally caught up to the Indians.) Let’s just say “Wow” and go no further.
I am heartened to know that everything is alive and intentional trying to become something else, surging towards some good not discerned at all by most of the whole but dimly discerned by those few us capable of contemplation. Things are not all that “thingy” but proceed on some interior compass or design. If the gravity pull on our planet were to increase a squinch, the earth would become a golf ball. But it does not. This is not dead matter aimlessly crashing into itself. God who exploded from the abyss lives in all still.
Using the tools of depth psychology and the insight of mystics we can come to understand our own being and direction from the map left inside us from the time the bang went bang.
Since we religious types are cuddled up close to scientists in this particular endeavor we must remember that this is a hypothesis, and the test of a hypothesis is does it work better than any other hypothesis in the same arena. So I, while greatly enamored with this hypothesis held somewhat tentative about it. But I have tested it at least once recently.
When I was about thirty, (I am now eighty-one) after a wall cracking personal growth retreat, on the way home, I decided I really should tell my mother I loved her since I had not done that since, maybe forever. I called her to warn her and then twenty minutes later plunged through the front door, sat with her on the sofa, (I remember the color of her dress) and poured my heart out while both of us wept. I thought it a little over the top that I was a different person for the next two weeks, as the Quakers say, living in the innocence of Adam before the fall. I recalled all this when Mary told me that the infant just out of the womb sees this being holding her as the same home she just left and sees that face beaming down on her as signaling to her that she is a wondrous thing and that signaling finds an echo in her being and call to consciousness the truth buried within that she is God! Wow! The way I now analyze my story is that my mother, although very much a lover in other ways, was not a great holder. The weeping and holding on the davenport filled a tidal gap in my being. In this working hypothesis depth psychology is a window into the inner world sometimes called soul, and this time what happened fit the hypothesis!
As to the work of mystics, Mary is hampered by, in deference to the world in which we live, the use of Christian mystics trapped within the theology framed by people who thought too much. (So says Thomas Aquinas about himself). Hindus will find all this much easier to understand for they learn as children that they are God with a body not separate from God without a body, an understanding some Christians reached only after the spilling of blood and cries of “heresy.” The spilling of blood and condemnation for heresy came from the majority. It was a tiny minority who grasped the truth. Ah yes, Eckhart is a prime teacher now in the Western church but when he was teaching not so! Difficult though the Christian path was, the mystics of the western religions dug there way to unity with the One who brought them joy, power and peace. There is there a hope for all of us. Although this is a road less traveled in western religion it is becoming the obvious road to travel.
I wonder what Mary would tell the churches to do? Bringing this story to local pulpits would bring new life to the churches. She has written to the individual here. But the churches need this story as a way to present a cosmic meaning of life that takes account of the cosmos as we now know it. No barrier between science and religion but each a support for the other, explaining reality together.
To greater days! Praise God!
Mary Coelho has done a great deed for the universe. Awakening Universe Emerging Personhood is a gift to all who seek to understand the transformation of human consciousness occurring today. With a solid grounding in the latest scientific understandings of the natural world in its cosmic context, a thorough knowledge of philosophy and religion, and a transparent telling of her own story using the insights of psychology, Coelho sets forth the basis for a new paradigm of human action. She shows the deep connections of the Western contemplative tradition to the insights of quantum physics and cosmology in a compelling way.
This book is a work of significant scholarship that brings materials from diverse disciplines together in a coherent story. Practically every page contains fresh insights into the nature of humans as totally at one with the universe while totally unique. Divisions between God and humanity, the environment and humans, religion and science no longer appear relevant in a universe that expresses itself in many different forms while maintaining its unity.
Coelho has created a guidebook that illuminates a path to enlightenment in a time when we face critical choices about our future. We can continue along the path of division, defining our enemies, asserting our arrogance and acting in ways that betray our ignorance and destroy our home and its inhabitants. Or we can choose a contemplative life that leads to acts of liberation for ourselves and others, a transformation of our story and our world:
"By becoming conscious of our full identity we find it highly possible to choose ways of transforming our relationships with the earth and all its peoples, with our close human and other than human companions, and with the institutions that govern and teach about these relationships." (p. 378)
Coelho�s book reads easily but is not easy reading. It is a call to grapple with the deepest insights of Western contemplatives and the challenges of the natural sciences and to examine the persistent patterns of our own lives. Those who heed this call will be richly rewarded.
Andy Smith, [...]