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Brother David Steindl-Rast joined a Benedictine community in New York in 1953, after earning graduate degrees in art, anthropology, and psychology in Vienna.  He later served as a post-doctoral fellow and lecturer at Cornell, and then, following "years of monastic training and studies in philosophy and theology, Brother David was sent by his abbot to participate in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, for which he received Vatican approval in 1967."*  As with Thomas Merton, his voice has called many to enter the religious life and to pursue inter-religious dialogue.  "For decades, Brother David divided his time between periods of hermit's life and extensive lecture tours on five continents. . . .  His wide spectrum of audiences has included starving students in Zaire and faculty at Harvard and Columbia Universities, Buddhist monks and Sufi retreatants, Papago Indians and German intellectuals, New Age communes and Naval Cadets at Annapolis, missionaries on Polynesian islands and gatherings at the United Nations, Green Berets and participants at international peace conferences. Brother David has brought spiritual depth into the lives of countless people whom he touches through his lectures, his workshops, and his writings." *  Meetingbrook is pleased to recommend three books reflecting Brother David's deep wisdom.

Text Box:  Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer:
An Approach to Life in Fullness
(introduction by Henri Nouwen)

In Gratefulness, Brother David addresses the practice of gratefulness that naturally arises out of being truly awake and the prayerful state that follows from that gratefulness.  "To bless whatever there is, and for no other reason but simply because it is, that is what we are made for as human beings."

Text Box:  Listening Heart :
The Spirituality of Sacred Sensuousness
(introduction by Matthew Fox)

Asserting that "any sensuous experience is at heart a spiritual one: a divine revelation," Brother David challenges the reader to reach for the divine by transcending the merely physical aspects of the senses.  "Our eyes see, but only our heart looks through things to their meaning. Our nose registers scents, but only our heart will track like a hound its ethereal quarry. Our tongue tastes, but only a heart can feast. Skin touches skin, but being in touch is a matter of heart. Our ears hear, but only a listening heart understands."  Brother David describes this revised edition A Listening Heart as a favorite of his own books.

Text Box:  Music of Silence:
A Sacred Journey through the Hours of the Day
(written with Sharon Lebell, introduction by Kathleen Norris)

Through an examination of the canonical hours, Music of Silence invites readers to a renewed consciousness of time, rhythm, and silence, "Music is not merely a rhythmic arrangement of notes, but derives its life from the matrix of silence out of which it arises and into which it inevitably flows. And it is the silence between the notes that gives them meaning and grace. . . . This silence is not merely sound’s absence, but a mysterious presence, the immense nothingness that is our origin and our home. If we listen carefully, we discover that when all is said and done, chant inducts us into this silence that is the ground of our being."

*from http://www.gratefulness.org/brotherdavid/bio.htm.


Previous Recommendations

Beauty: The Invisible Embrace
by John O'Donohue
Harper Collins, 2004

The author of Anam Cara and Eternal Echoes brings us a book on beauty, which, he says is "like a divine breath that blows the heart open." O'Donohue declares that "When we awaken to the call of beauty, we become aware of new ways of being in the world." "Drawing from his own Celtic wisdom and the writings of Keats, Rilke, Thomas Aquinas, and others, John O'Donohue guides readers to attune to 'that which shows us the surprise at the heart of everything'" (Ingram).

As It Is, Vol. I
by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1999

A 20th-century master of both the Dzogchen and Mahamurda traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche taught throughout Europe, the U.S., and Southeast Asia in the last decades of his life. "Less concerned with the systematic categories of topics of knowledge or with the logical steps of philosophy, Tulku Urgyen directly addressed the listener's present state of mind. . . . His method of teaching is 'instruction through one's own experience.' Using few words, this way of teaching points out the nature of mind, revealing a natural simplicity of wakefulness that enables the student to actually touch the heart of the Buddha's Wisdom Mind" (from the publisher's biography of the author). As reflected in its chapter headings, such as "The Basis: Buddha Nature," "Existence and Nonexistence," and "Expression of Awareness," Volume I explores the developmental stage and its related practices and is composed primarily from talks Tulku Urgyen gave during his travels. Volume II focuses on the completion stage and its practices. We have both volumes in stock.

"This Embrace"
Wild Dove Music, 1999

Maine native Kirtana has been studying spirituality and meditation for over 30 years and, in effect, documenting her life's journey through her music. "This Embrace" grew out of her meeting, in 1997, with her beloved teacher, Gangaji, who joins her on this album, along with Alex de Grassi, Spencer Brewer, and others. Eckhart Tolle has used Kirtana's compelling music in his seminars.


Last Month's Recommendations

Passionate Presence:
Experiencing the Seven Qualities of Awakened Awareness
by Catherine Ingram
Gotham Books (Penguin Putnam), 2003

Renowned dharma teacher Catherine Ingram has worked with thousands of students in the U.S., Europe, and Australia, and Passionate Presence is the result of that work.  In it, Ingram celebrates the seven traits inherent in passionate presence—silence, tenderness, embodiment, genuineness, discernment, delight, and wonder.


Stillness Speaks
by Eckhart Tolle
New World Library, 2003

With his bestselling first book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle reached millions of people worldwide.  Now in his much anticipated new book, Tolle gives us the essence of his teaching in short, simple pieces that anyone can easily understand.  Stillness Speaks is both ancient and modern, filled with timely and powerful messages.


"Quiet Heart/Spirit Wind"
Richard Warner
Enso Records, 1996

Flute master Richard Warner draws on folk, classical, and jazz influences and his study of philosophy and theology.  This 2-CD set features Warner on bamboo and alto flutes against an ethereal background of tuned crystals, creating a restful, meditative sound.
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