Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spiritual Paths and January

About four years ago (it was around May of 2007), someone I knew invited me to read along with her and together we agreed that we would explore a different spiritual path for six months.  Initially we chose Buddhism but then she asked if we could switch to Catholicism and I was open to anything because I was looking forward to this as an adventure.

When the six months came to a close she confessed to me she’d found her spiritual path and didn’t want to read along with me any longer.  So about three years ago, I was left to myself and my own devices.  I’ve since devoted six months to reading about Buddhism and Islam, including some sutras and the Quran. 

After debating if I wanted to continue doing this on my own, I’ve decided that I do but I’m also posting about it here in my blog just in case anyone wants to join with me in this exploration. 

Beginning in January, I’ll be reading on Hinduism.  I have a few books on hand (see below) and may have more in my bookshelves which I have yet to dig out.  My intention is to read these books mindfully, with the same openness I gave to Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, A Course in Miracles, etc.  Of course I realize that six months is hardly enough time to fully appreciate any sacred path, especially one with as long a tradition as Hinduism.  The intention is simply to get a taste, an idea about the teachings and beliefs.  From there, who knows.  As history has already proven, it is not impossible that a spiritual path will prove to be the one that speaks to the heart. 

So that is one of the things I have in store for 2012.

Would you like to join me in this six month journey?  I would love to have the reading company and I know that having someone share in this with me allows for an enhanced over all experience.

Naturally I should begin with the Rig Veda.  I've had this book for a while (since around 1992) so it is probably overlapping with my Fifteen in 2012 list a bit but there's nothing that says I can't merge one reading commitment with another.  And whatever else I may choose to read or try to get around to reading, I have always made at least one sacred text a priority in whatever spiritual tradition I am exploring.  I don't know if this is a good translation of the Rig Veda or not but it is where I shall begin.  I may also need to have a dictionary of some sort close by because no doubt the names of various deities will confuse me otherwise.

Hinduism for Dummies is a newer book to my collection, having picked up the latest edition through the vine program.  To be honest, this and the previous book pretty much determined what I would do in January.  The list is not terribly long and Hinduism seemed like a logical direction since I've been pondering whether I should go more contemporary or more traditional.  For some reason, more traditional appeals to me more.  Perhaps because the roots go more deeply.  Also perhaps because this is such an ancient spiritual path and yet it is still flourishing while so many others have fallen away and been forgotten.

The Yoga Tradition will be the third and last book to which I will absolutely commit for this look into Hinduism.  I think I'm blurring the lines here a bit because yoga is not solely a Hindu practice.  There are several schools of yoga and some are off-shoots of Hinduism while others are more aligned with Buddhism.  But I believe this book will work as a resource because no doubt I'll learn more about how yoga grew from and through these various sacred paths.  Besides, on my last visit with my mother she gave me her copy of this book and I can honestly say that it looks like she never read it so this poor (and very impressive looking) book deserves to be read by someone.  Why not me?

Of course, these are just the foundation and, time permitting and inclination leading, I may read others.  So now I shall cross my fingers and hope that maybe someone else will choose to explore Hinduism with me . . .


  1. Satia, I had thought you closed down your blog. I'm following again. Thank you so much for your kind comments on my blog. I explored these religions in college. The Catholic is too deeply ingrained and in some ways a comfort to me. The exploration though was very positive as some of the philosophies do help in dealing with daily stress.

  2. I'm hoping that the issues I experienced with the new blogger interface will be ironed out before blogger shoves it down my throat. If not, I don't know what I'll do but I can decide at that time.

    I think Rob is the same, Catholicism running too deeply. I was raised atheist although I self-identified as agnostic most of my adolescence.

    I'd probably love taking a comparative religions course. I'd also love to take a feminist studies course. Instead I'm studying macrophages and leukocytes. My brain is not wired for this.

  3. Feuerstein's book is great. I personally haven't found a book about the "history/philosophy of yoga" which is that extensive and understandable (from a agnostic westerner's point of view) at the same time.
    You might also want to read the Bhagavad Gita, just because it's such a classic (the text itself is very short - get a good commentary though!).

    What exactly are you studying? Immunobiology? My head is currently spinning with the weird vocabulary of (IP) law... @___@

  4. Coming from you, the recommendation for Fuerstein carries a lot of weight. I've read the Bhagavad Gita several time but there's no saying I wouldn't read it again during my six months of exploration.

    I wish I were studying something interesting like immunology but I'm studying anatomy and physiology for a medical billing and coding certification which I hope will help me get a job. If I had a choice, I'd be going for my MFA but, alas, that is not yet meant to be.

  5. While non of those books calls to me, if I read of you reading one that does I will join you. I have discovered Buddhism myself and have I believe found a spiritual home.

    I will have to look back through your blog to see what you read when studying Buddhism. I'm not sure how much my local library has. I am getting a nook for Christmas though so I can buy books that way which excites me

  6. Well, I was going to suggest that you use the search to look up "buddhism" and you will easily find them.

    Except I forgot. Blogger messed up all of my old posts so what you find may be an utter mess, a block of writing with no paragraphing whatsoever.

    And it doesn't matter because apparently if you search my blog for "buddhism" blogger says there's only one ppost with the word in it. Yet, I've labeled at least 19 posts with the word and if I search for it within my "edit posts" I get a list of 39 posts.

    I don't know if all of these issues I'm having have to do with the upcoming user interface changes or what is going on but now I can add another annoyance to an already long list of annoyances.

    Here's what I can say off the top of my head:

    Thich Nhat Hanh (gentle teaching)
    Pema Chodron (practical and sometimes more provocative teaching)
    Dalai Lama (naturally)
    D T Suzuki (more challenging but definitely worth the effort)
    Sharon Salzberg (wonderful teacher, also Sylvia Boorstein)
    Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (read first and only book at the time and loved it--he's since published another)

    I hope that helps.

  7. Patches, If you do a search in blogger (upper left-hand corner), type "buddhism" you'll have one post shown. Click "older posts" and some more will show up. Just do that until you've seen all the posts for a list of books I've read on Buddhism. The above list pretty much covers most of them.

    There are three more over on my reviews blog: