While I haven't read this book, the initial description of the book in one of my WOW emails caught my attention. Today's blog has information about Myrna's book, herself, and she even took time to guest blog with us today. Without reading the book I can't make a recommendation either way but after reading her guest post and more about her spiritual journey, it sounds different than my own yet each of us have a story to tell. This is Myrna's story and I'm glad to have her join us today and I hope you'll offer her some encouragement while she visits.
"Myrna Smith opens her story one Sunday night when she returns home from a ski weekend with her three children. While she was on the slopes, her husband had moved out. That had been the plan.
Yet her story, though it encompasses her divorce, is much larger. Ultimately, Smith sets out to love herself, to find an inner place where she can rest and grow."
The quest really started, she realizes, in her childhood on an Oregon farm where she and her older sister were once “converted” in their father’s pea patch by two young Bible summer school teachers barely out of their teens. The school was part of the tiny church their mother attended while their father stayed home, read Edgar Cayce books, and mused on reincarnation.
Later, drawn by the mysticism of the Hindus, Smith’s journey leads to Bangalore where she touches the robes of Sai Baba, the Indian saint. Back home in New Jersey, she finds herself in a country farm- house getting prescriptions channeled through a medium for every- thing from her back woes and diarrhea to an obsession with money.
She also writes of the demons that surface during a years-long love affair with her beloved Charlie and what A Course in Miracles stirred within her.
Smith’s story is one of adventure and effort that, in the end, reveals three simple yet essential truths that are both the journey and the destination."
By Myrna J. Smith
"Because my memoir God and Other Men: Religion, Romance and the Search for Self-Love is about my spiritual journey, religious and spiritual texts have had a big influence on me and on my book, mainly because they gave me concepts I had not considered before.
My divorce made me question all of my assumptions about life and set me on a long search for answers. The Bhagavad Gita, an important Indian religious text, gives four paths to God, that of karma (action), bhakti (devotion or worship), raja (meditation), or jnana (self-knowledge). Having attended a fundamentalist church until I was about twelve, my experience of church was that of devotion, devotion to Jesus. I knew fairly early that was not my path because I could see that the attitude of my church-going friends was so much different from mine. I had not fallen in love with Jesus as they apparently had.
My father was reading Hindu books at home, so I knew Christianity was not the only possibility, but the Gita showed that there are different styles of worship that might go across religions. Once I discovered I was primarily jnana, I gave up reading books of prayer and instruction for meditation and focused on self-knowledge. The goal of the jnani is to realize that the atman, the individual “soul” is the same as Brahma, the universal soul—we could say “God”— but he/she does it through examination of the mind.
A Course in Miracles, the text that I have adopted as my truth, gave me other words and concepts that I have incorporated into my writing. One of the big ideas of A Course in Miracles is that projection makes perception. What we see is entirely determined by our minds. The world, according to the Course, is an illusion, a common and individual projection. If we see with God’s eyes, we have vision, but if we see with eyes of the ego, we have perception, which is determined by our human minds. These are difficult concepts, ones that take hundreds of pages to clarify in the Course. Intellectually, I accept the truth of these statements, but I don’t always act as if I believe them. I try, however, to hold onto them in my writing.
Many of the ideas in A Course in Miracles have existed in Buddhism for twenty-five hundred years, and the idea that the world is maya, illusion, has existed in Hinduism for longer than that. As Buddhism spreads in the western world, as it is surely doing, the ideas will become more widely known.
One last spiritual book that influenced me is Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. In one of my sessions with the mystic I studied with, she, or “the spirits,” told me that the true personality no longer had dreams about the future, but that the false personality still has these dreams. (A Course in Miracles would use the terms ego and higher self, rather then true and false personalities.) Near the end of Yogananda’s autobiography one of the holy men is coming to the end of his life. He has one unfulfilled dream: establishing a large, beautiful ashram, something he just could not bring into form in this incarnation. Another, more evolved, teacher projected one for him. It appears in all of its glory with bright lights around the roofline. He marvels; then he and the reader realize that this can be the end of dreaming, his final one having been fulfilled. He is now on the cusp of totally awakening—enlightenment.
In my writing I want to bring forward the ideas that most of the world would see as patently untrue and perhaps even bizarre. In explaining these ideas in terms of my own life, I am hoping that readers will find them more acceptable. And by writing them, I am hoping I can deepen my own belief in them."
Publisher: Cape House Books
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1939129044/
"Myrna J. Smith, EdD, is a retired professor of English and comparative religions who continues to travel and explore the world’s spiritual traditions. God and Other Men is her first book."