April Book Reviews

Reviews by Tony Kainauskus

Len is taking the month off. He will be back with more reviews in May.

Recently two of my friends spoke with passion about two books that have made a difference in their lives.

Below are the two reviews of books I feel you ought to consider reading.

The first review is by my dear friend and 2nd Street Coffee House hangout buddy John Theobald.

John was instrumental in thousands of New York City policemen starting the TM program back in the 1970’s. John is presently retired. He has been a New York City police Officer, educator, entrepreneur, psychologist and Private Detective.

Here is his review of THE PHENOMENON OF MAN by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

This book is probably one of the most significant books written. Teilhard describes how ever expanding consciousness, which he calls the interior of things, powers the flow of evolution in an ever increasing expression of Being. de Chardin was trained as a scientist and paleontologist as well as being a Jesuit priest. He was the co discoverer of Peking Man. Teilhard systematically observes how there is a pattern in nature, moving from a simple aggregate of atoms, to a synthesis into molecules and into organic matter, finally resulting in self reflective man. He postulates this inner nature as organizing the external nature of matter. This inner nature has the effect of being anti entropic. With each step towards greater complexity there is a greater expression of consciousness, which he defines as the ability to make a greater number of responses to a given stimuli. Eventually, with man, the possible number of responses becomes infinite, as mankind has the ability to self reflect, and thus consciously effect the direction of evolution. As a culmination he speculates on the next possible step in evolution past mankind, which would be a synthesis of humanity where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and each individual is completely fulfilled in this association. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the growth of consciousness and evolution.

And a review of THE END OF YOUR WORLD by Adyashanti
Review by Jill Spangler (Resident of New York City and long time friend)

Hi Tony.
How are you? I haven’t been in touch as I don’t read much in the spiritual field anymore. No real interest. Been just living the life and spontaneously nurturing a small group of friends on the path here in my community in NYC. That being said, I did run across a fabulous new book that I think deserves a close read and I hope that if you haven’t yet, you can order many copies for the store. The TM community could certainly benefit by reading it. Its Adyashanti’s new one called The End of Your World. In my opinion, it’s a cut above the rest of the modern day advaitists writings, and seems to signify the next stage of the awakening process that people are moving into. I’m finding in sitting with people as a guide these days that many are no longer concerned with merely awakening – that shift has occurred -but are more interested in the process AFTER the awakening has occurred but BEFORE they are resting in the Self completely. The book is explicitly written for them although anyone in any stage might enjoy it. In it, he clearly distinguishes between awakening and enlightenment – which he calls non abiding awareness and abiding awareness. As you may know, this has been a source of some confusion for many on the path. He also speaks to the many pitfalls on the road such as ego inflation after awakening _the ME that sometimes survives the wake up and thinks it’s enlightened_ as well as the traps of this ME, such as getting stuck in emptiness or meaninglessness along the way. He speaks with ruthless honesty and openness about his own process and its subtle machinations which are personal but yet universal in their manifestation. Not much has been written about the after the fact subtle process of deconditioning and dissolution that continues on sometimes for years, so this is clearly addressing that need. I loved this book and applaud Adya’s wisdom and love in sharing it. I never met him but after having read hundreds, if not thousands of books in this area over a 40 year period, and having been through all that he speaks of, I really resonate with his writing. I can honestly say, he’s one being I’d like to meet someday to thank him for his clarity and for dedicating his life to teaching. I hope that if you haven’t yet ordered this book for your store, you’ll set about getting a truckload of copies in and recommend it to the community.

Hope all is well with you and yours. Best, Jill Spangler

Thank you John and Jill for your excellent reviews.

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

Does heaven consist of all our desires coming true therefore creating our own personal hell?

Does God spend her evenings reading Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein because she finally found a character who can relate to her own personal experiences?

Were we created by machines of subpar intelligence? Did they create us so they can come to us for the answers to which they themselves cannot fathom… only to be disappointed by a human creation that cannot provide these so called answers.

In the afterlife do we relive all our experiences but only this time in sequential order… sleeping for 30 years in a row… showering for 200 days… Sitting on the toilet for 5 months?

This creative book delves into 40 possibilities or visions of what the after life can look and feel like.

Each chapter is just a few pages long and can be read in a few moments. But the humor and understanding of the human condition in each of these snippets of the hereafter is profound. This is a truly unique book filled with much valuable insight on the human condition both on a spiritual and materialistic manner.

The author is a neuroscientist.

We have just received a translation of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with commentary by Swami Venkatesananda. Swami Venkatesananda’s commentary of the Yoga Vasistha along with I AM THAT by Nisargadatta Maharaj are our all time best selling books for the past 26 years. Text includes transliterated Sanskrit with English translation.

Sometimes as I walk to work in the solitude of the warm spring sun… …there is a charge of creativity that flows through my body that for lack of another term can be called an expression of love.

Lately I have been thinking about the rejuvenating power of this energy.
When a person is in depth with deep love…

What a fortunate home that person has found.

If the love is for someone and that love is not returned… how lucky to experience that emotion and turn it inward and grow … grow with a creative power only sublimated love can provide…with total freedom for oneself and the other.

How lucky one is to be in love and detached.

Yes I am quite aware I might be just rationalizing all the date refusals I received in High School