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Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 28, 2015
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“A celebration of the life-enriching—indeed, indispensable—properties of the night . . . [Clark] Strand delivers a significant amount of experiential melding to existential thoughtfulness in this book about the sublime and elemental powers of the dark. . . . An exigent, affecting summons to rediscover the night.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This book is small in size and mighty in spirit. It is at once a clarion call and a meditation. Sonorous, deep, soul-stirring, and profoundly comforting, Waking Up to the Dark is a rare book that will be pressed from one hand to the next with the urgent, whispered words: You must read this.”—Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion
“In a modern world flooded with artificial light, Clark Strand reminds us what we have left behind in the dark. This beautiful, haunting meditation is filled with surprises and lost knowledge. Read it by candlelight—you will never forget it.”—Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America and One Simple Idea
“In this exhilaratingly original work, Clark Strand shows us that the key to enlightenment lies where we don’t want to look. It is hidden in plain sight, but we have to turn the lights off to find it.”—Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart and The Trauma of Everyday Life
“Breathtaking and revolutionary, a small masterpiece for a world that has grown uncomfortable with the darkness and a poignant plea to take back the dark as the Hour of God, as the great friend of faith, awakening, and soul nourishment.”—Gail Straub, co-founder of Empowerment Institute and author of Returning to My Mother’s House
“Wonder, solitude, quiet, intimacy, the holy—darkness holds these treasures and more. If we want to connect with God, argues Strand in this wise and compassionate book, we will ‘awaken to the dark.’ ”—Paul Bogard, author of The End of Night
“A wonderfully reassuring antidote to the punishing electronic churn of the digital mega-machine, Waking Up to the Dark offers a brave, lyrical, and singular challenge to the techno-narcissism that rules the day.”—James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and the World Made by Hand novels
“This wondrous book reminds us of a forgotten place, a place obliterated by our screens and shining surfaces that catch the glancing light and hide the depths from us. Strand proposes a ‘Dark Revolt.’ Join him as you read this revolutionary book!”—Joan Halifax Roshi, abbot of Upaya Zen Center and author of Being with Dying
“Clark Strand has written a powerful book, an insightful testament that reminds us what it means to be human. It enables us to revision and reclaim the dark as an ally in our need to rediscover wholeness for our world and for ourselves.”—David Spangler, author of Apprenticed to Spirit and Igniting Earth
About the Author
Clark Strand, a former senior editor at Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, has been studying the world’s spiritual traditions for more than thirty years. The author of Waking the Buddha, Meditation Without Gurus, How to Believe in God, and Seeds from a Birch Tree, Strand has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Washington Post/Newsweek “On Faith” blog. He is the founder of Way of the Rose, a growing nonsectarian rosary fellowship open to people of any spiritual background, with members around the world. He lives on a dark road with no streetlights in the southern Catskill Mountains.
Will Lytle (illustrator) grew up in the Catskill Mountains, where, after years abroad as a hitchhiking, train-hopping vagabond, he returned to build a small house with wood from his family’s lumber mill. Lytle is the creator of the guerilla-style Thorneater Comics series.
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Top Customer Reviews
I like to be challenged and dislike spoilers in reviews, so without getting too specific, the author looks at the phenomenon of sleeplessness in our current time, normalizes it as culture and time specific instead of being a medical anomaly, (and frankly he had me right there) and then he related it to an event I never even think about any more, the birth of electric lighting. Fascinating, right? Cultural changes resulting from the availability of extended artificial light are explored, and believe me, I am dull, Mr. Strand's writing is friendly, readable and light.
As a frequent reader of non-fiction, and this work may push that line for some, I also read reviews before purchase. If there are a few outraged1's, readers who could not finish, etc., I know I will have a good time having my boundaries stretched. To learn anything, I strive to be open. I can always close or narrow the door later if it suits, but the inability to read or hear another's respectful thoughts is usually not the problem of the writer.
Finally, the author relates the dark to nature and the spiritual. Christians for example, will use the phrase the 'Mother of God' easily, often it seemed to me over the years without really thinking about those words. Since childhood, I have not been able to think of a species where the child arrives before the mother, and yet the divine feminine is a difficult topic for many.
Read this book. It is a compelling beautiful work of uncommon wisdom without being preachy in any way. Helps me understand and accept my night owl nature, while whittling away at my electric bill too.
Though I found the book incredibly inspiring with its message to embrace darkness for humanity's sake, one criticism I have is that Strand places emphasis on the oil bubble and impending doom from lack of oil. It was once thought we were going to run out of oil within this century; however, due to oil production from fracking, there is much more oil in the world than previously thought.
This book is miraculous in how it weaves seemingly disparate elements such as a sleep study, a press conference at the White House, religious observances and practices that take place at the "Hour of God," with the author's own personal experiences of the "Dark." The book then goes beyond these and shares the author's nightly visitations by a young woman who is later identified as Mary. Through her loving guidance and instruction, She leads him and us, if we care to follow, further into the ancient path of "deep time" and towards prayer and union in the darkness.
For a culture saturated with light and "daylight" consciousness, which leaves its people starved for true intimacy, this book shows us the path that can feed our souls once again, a path that perhaps can lead us to "salvation." Not the salvation sold by organized religion, but the salvation of our souls, and of all beings.
Wise, compassionate, deep and poetic, this book is a true gospel for our times.
Read it and you will want to pass it along to others.