Three Excellent Resources
One of the most amazing and helpful changes in our culture over the past fifty years is the vast increase in available spiritual resources. When I was growing up there were only local churches. Over the decades many more resources have emerged.
In this posting I am sharing three excellent resources each of which relates to previous blogs.
1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates this is a book which has received a great deal of well-deserved attention and several literary awards since its publication several months ago. It is written in the form of a letter from Coates, an African-American, to his son. He describes in some detail the struggle of raising a minority child in contemporary America. In it he describes the struggle with racism from the inside and emphasizes the extra care minority parents have to take to protect their children. He makes it clear the ways in which racism is not dead but very much alive and thriving in our present society. Reading this book brings an uncomfortable awareness of how racially divided America still is. I felt a deep sadness as I read that reflects his lack of hope for real change. This book is available in most book stores.
2. You Tube videos by Matt Kahn. Matt is a mystic and a spiritual teacher with an increasing following. He has a web site and twelve You-tube videos most of which are about an hour and fifteen minutes long. His material is dense but well worth the effort. He teaches as well as anyone I have listened to in several years. He says that the spiritual path can become “a door way into an endless love affair with everyday life.” And, that is often what he embodies. Titles include “The Love Revolution,” “The End of Victimhood,” and “Everything is Here to Help You.” His videos are worth the effort. I encourage you to set aside time to listen in detail: be prepared to be challenged, take notes and enjoy. I know of no other teacher on the internet who is as complete, accurate and worthwhile. The internet has several interviews of Matt and one site which howls and critiques him for charging money for his seminars. It seems like the obligatory criticism from those skeptical of spiritual teachers. I wonder if they also complain about the multi-million dollar salaries of many, many CEOs.
3. My Life as a Turkey is a PBS program available both on line and from Netflix. Joe Hutto, a naturalist, was given a bowl of turkey eggs which he incubated and then raised the hatchlings into adulthood. They imprinted on him as they hatched making him, in effect, their mother. The movie tracks them through a series of adventures in their maturation including his learning their “language” until they eventually go their separate ways. Now, I never in my wildest dreams thought I could possibly find a group of turkeys totally endearing and exciting. When we decided to watch this particular movie one evening I internally rolled my eyes and prepared to be bored by the typical PBS documentary. What I experienced was total wonder. This movie changes the definition of Oneness and the relationship of humans to the rest of the environment. It is only fifty minutes long. This movie does not set out to be “spiritual” or necessarily to display Oneness. That is part of why it is so very special. It is also critiqued by a number of skeptical scientists on several sites who feel obligated to save those of us who like the movie from our own natural ignorance. The response from people who like the movie was to encourage them to chill out!!!
In all forms of spiritual teaching and development the community, the sangha, is vital. In most traditions the community evolved for hundreds of years primarily in cloistered associations, monasteries, convents and ashrams. Increasingly, the walls have come down and resources have become available to all of us in a variety of ways. The diversity of resources and their accessibility is a true blessing.