In his first two books (A Heart of Stillness; Silence, Simplicity, and Solitude), David A. Cooper wrote about the value of retreats and regular spiritual practice. Now in Three Gates to Meditation Practice, he shares the nature of his spiritual journey during a 15-year period.
Each chapter of the book is centered around a retreat ranging in time from one to one-hundred days. Cooper notes that each of these is "like a voyage into unexplored terrain, and each has its own personality." The author uses excerpts from his journals to provide access to his state of mind and his self-discoveries during the retreats. He adds Sufi and Buddhist practices to Jewish rituals in his quest for heightened consciousness, stillness, clarity, personal healing, and spiritual renewal. In his accounts of his experiences, he covers all the pitfalls and satisfactions of serious meditation.
Cooper and his wife spent eight years living in Jerusalem. He offers fascinating insights into the Holy City's wonders and terrors, the rigors of his devotional life, and the pleasures of Sabbath meals with friends and neighbors.
Although Cooper focuses on his Jewish path of spiritual development, his perspective is refreshingly ecumenical. He admits that Sufi and Buddhist meditation practices have deepened and enriched his Judaism. Ordained as a rabbi in 1992, he now calls himself "post-denominational," which he defines as "more concerned with an intimate and personal relationship with the Divine than with the formulas and definitions of group identity."Three Gates to Meditation Practice is an excellent resource for all spiritual seekers. Cooper writes: "We are all mystics on one level or another and now we are discovering that our capability for individual spiritual growth is limitless." The author's exciting odyssey proves that each person can tailor retreats and spiritual practices to the specific nature of his or her own soul. Bon voyage!