Arjuna Ardagh is the founder of the Living Essence Foundation in Nevada City, California, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the awakening of consciousness within the context of ordinary life. In his last book, Awakening Into Oneness, he described a spiritual phenomenon in India called "the Oneness Blessing," a powerful transfer of energy from one person to another. In this even more practical and profound work, Ardagh presents 72 spiritual practices with commentary on escaping from the confinements of the mind in order to experience the wonders and miracles of the present moment.
"Practice is the bridge between your unmanifest potential and your manifest capacity to give. You practice not to reach a goal, but to create beauty. You practice not for the future, but for a more ecstatic now." Ardagh is convinced that we can move beyond the narrow interests and selfish schemes of the ego and live a fuller and deeper life in the service of love itself. We can even take "the habits of personality, the habits of desire and fear and addiction that once served the obsession with a separate me" and put them to use for the benefit of others. This involves both the masculine and feminine energies and the courage to risk all. "Leap out of the mind into a life of unbridled generosity of spirit."
This paperback is divided into the following spiritual practices. Each is rated according to its level of difficulty:
• Meditation practices to calm oneself and see more clearly.
• Insight practices using intelligence and common sense to combat the false beliefs of the mind.
• Daily-routine practices to bring zest and aliveness to our activities.
• Body practices using the physical form to usher us into the present moment.
• Feeling practices to surf our emotions.
• Intimate relationship practices to open our hearts and express our deepest feelings.
• Sex practices to make this experience of intimacy special and spiritual.
• Family practices to take this togetherness to new levels of meaning.
• Nature practices to connect with this multidimensional world.
• Devotional practices to enable us to worship and celebrate.
• Compassion practices to break down the barriers that separate us from others.
• Community practices that make a place for social and political action.
Impatience is one of the hallmarks of our times. Most of us need practice in the art of waiting. Here is a practice for just that:
"Whenever you can, sit and wait.
There is no need to distract yourself by filling the gap with random activity.
At the gate of an airport,
in the few minute before it's time to leave the house, while waiting for the bus.
Rather than picking up a book,
Or flipping the pages of a magazine,
Or checking e-mail or switching on the TV,
Just sit and wait,
Present. . . ready. . . available.
Waiting for the next thing to happen.
No need to meditate or get spiritual.
Just wait, like a cat, or a bird in a tree.
Become the waiting itself.
Wait for the kiss of the divine.
Wait for the kiss that kisses your lips
From the inside."
There are many practices in this collection of 72 that spoke to us! We'd like to single out these in particular: "Enter the Darkness", "Could You Let It Go?" "Slow Down," "Standing in Line," "Get It All Done Before Nine," "Take the Day Off," "Yawn," "Cradle Negative Feelings Like a Baby," "Give Thanks for Blessings," and "Be An Invisible Angel."