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Newsletter Number 33 • July 10, 2007

Books

I will start off this newsletter with a question: “What do Chili peppers; pork products, alcohol, and sex have in common?”

The answer is that anyone who has “surgery” at The Casa de Dom Ingnacio de Loyola in Abadiania, Brazil must abstain from all four for forty days after their treatment by Joao Texixeira de Faria, known as John of God. John of God: The Brazilian Healer Who’s Touched the Lives of Million, by Heather Cumming and Karen Lefler is a book that has just been published which describes the private life and personal history of the world’s most extraordinary medium and healer.

In my opinion, there have been three extremely well-documented human phenomenons in the 20th and 21st centuries, which certainly transcend the typical Western scientific materialism viewpoint of how the world works.

First is Edgar Cayce. I will categorically state that everyone must read There Is A River, by Thomas Sugrue, the best biography about Cayce. Cayce’s ability to diagnose and cure human illness while in a self-induced hypnotic trance is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” that we live in a spiritual, not a material world.

Sai Baba, famous for his ability to “materialize” things is best described in the book Sai Baba, Man of Miracles, by Howard Murphet.

These two books and others about Sai Baba and Edgar Cayce are reviewed on this website and we invite you to read these reviews.

John of God is still quite active in his unique healing. I know two people who have visited him and I am thinking that perhaps some day I will go there.

While this book is not extremely well-written, it is clearly written from the heart and is very informative and powerfully uplifting. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I will guarantee that if you have never been exposed to spiritual phenomena and how they can affect the material realm these books will change your life for the better.

I guess I am way behind the times, or you could say I am very late to the party. Whatever, I am finally enjoying the fiction of Paulo Coelho, who, unbeknownst to me has probably become the world’s most read living author. According to the book jacket of The Witch of Portobello, Coelho’s books have sold over 85 million copies in 63 languages. (I guess I am being drawn to Brazil, as both John of God and Coelho are Brazilian.)

The Witch of Portobello is a novel unique in style and content, and almost mythic in its presentation. This is the story of Athena, named by her adoptive parents Sherine Khalil. The story is recounted by excerpting statements made in taped interviews by those who knew her. The story is fascinating, deep, and lilting. There is not much I can say because I don’t want to spoil the experience for the reader. It is a fascinating story with a very wonderful and surprising denouement. Coelho is a master of both narration and insight. I found the following quote to be particularly entrancing and I believe it gives some flavor of the writing and the wisdom:
“We see the divine in each speck of dust, but that doesn’t stop us from wiping it away with a wet sponge.”

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable is the second book I have read, enjoyed, reviewed, and recommended by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. This book is more than a worthy follow up to Fooled by Randomness.

If you have any interest in markets, predictions, probabilities, and explanations of how things really happen, then I highly recommend this book. Taleb is a totally “out-of-the-box” thinker. Taleb is an excellent raconteur and uses many sources to make some very thought-provoking points. This book is already a best-seller and it combines unique insights, controversial thinking, honesty, and is also fun to read.

The underlying thesis of this book is that causation is very complex and as a result the typical linear thinking of economists, climatologists, stock market forecasters, and political scientists is almost never correct. I found this book totally fascinating and very compelling. I hope many of you will read and enjoy it.

Just for the record, “A black Swan” is a highly improbable event with three characteristics: It is unpredictable. It carries a massive impact. And after the fact we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random and more predictable.”

Those are the criteria set forth by the author. He uses fascinating examples of how Black Swans have affected us in the past and provides a glimpse into how they may affect us in the future.

Taleb is very personable and very eclectic and this book was lots of fun to read. For example he twice quotes that estimable philosopher, Yogi Berra:

“It is tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” (attributed to?) Yogi Berra

“The future ain’t what is used to be.” Yogi Berra

Whether or not you are serious about markets and investing, this book provides so many unique insights into a wide variety of the aspects of life that I think almost everyone would enjoy reading it.

Len Oppenheim

 

Darshan (Three Times in India with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) a photographic exploration of 3 teacher training courses in Rishikesh has long been unavailable. Recently I was able to secure 30 copies of this 1968 photo book of Maharishi. This is a real collector’s item and something we believe many would like to have for their permanent collection. The price will be $70 and we expect to sell out immediately, so we will try to be fair and sell on a first come, first served basis. You can purchase your book right now on our website, and we will take the book off our site once all copies have been sold.

We also have a new spiral bound booklet of quotes of Guru Dev. Source of Silence, compiled from several sources, is part of the series of booklets imported from Croatia which have been perennial best-sellers at our store.

A recording of the Sri Guru Gita has just been released on CD. Guru-Gita is a dialogue between Lord Shiva and Matha Parvathi, where Bhagawan Shiva glorifies the importance and the necessity of the Guru to Matha Parvathi. He also illustrates how upaasana to the Guru should be carried out. Guru-Gita is comprised of 182 shlokas. This exceptional recording is chanted by an ethereal feminine voice.

Norwegian Wood is a dreamy novel that slowly grows on you, written with a masterful hand by a Japanese author. It took me a bit to get into it but as each page went by I found myself totally enjoying this book of Japanese youth in the late 1960’s. It tells of the romance and idealism of that period of life. I was struck by how the Japanese experience closely parallels our own during these turbulent times. Very sensuous and fulfilling, this is a sad and tragic story yet ultimately optimistic.

Norwegian Wood is a sexual, lovely portrait of a time and place with vividly realized characters. The main character has fallen in love with 2 women ... one trapped in her mind… living in a half way house both physically and emotionally and the other a vivacious funny college student who seems to have her mind a lot on sex. His emotional and moral struggles find us bonded to his plight and saddened when the book reaches its conclusion. If you like fiction that is soft as summer evening rain, you will enjoy this story. It is truly an artful piece of work by a master story teller. What the writer has accomplished does not register fully till the last joyous paragraph is read and some time has elapsed. Norwegian Wood has sold millions of copies in Japan.

Control and force will usually get you the opposite of what you desire.

Years ago I was in an acting class, doing a scene from the Rainmaker. My objective was to have the character Liz desire to spend the night with me in the barn. Nervousness and fear overtook me and I began to become harsh and forceful with the actress. I was left alone on the stage.—not good. My teacher was not happy and I felt a spiritual weakness inside.

The next time I did the scene I relaxed within myself. My attitude was if she wanted to be with me she would, if she wanted to go I would let go with love. Well, letting go worked and she easily wanted to stay. After the scene I felt a spiritual healing had taken place within me.

It seems that the more you try to control and make an event turn the way you feel is best, the less likely the successful outcome. To be relaxed and acceptant of whatever the outcome creates a result that is the best, even if it is not the one you desired.

After this happens a few times a trust is developed in the process and this leads you to a place of total surrender and peace.

Tony

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