Notable Books

Notable Books 46

Something New

Shadows of the sacred: Seeing Through Spiritual Illusions, Frances Vaughan, Foreword by Ken Wilber, Quest Books, Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, IL, 1995, pp. 313, $14.95.

Notable Books 46 b

I realize this is not really a new book; however, I wanted it to be listed first. This is a Theosophical book that brings together how the transpersonal movement back in the 70s and 80s joined psychology and spirituality and became a force within itself. Also, it is a Theosophical book whose timing for publication was not the greatest because Transpersonal Psychology was being overwhelmed by the Jungian movement. So, it never got the circulation it deserved. In spite of some very big names attached to the promotional of this book, such as Ken Wilber, Larry Dossey, James Fadiman, Stan Grof, and even Ram Dass, it was viewed ‘Transpersonal' and not 'Jungian'. Hence, as good as the book was, I never felt it had not even come close to its 'being read' potential. With many used copies available, it is very worthy of being on your bookshelf. 

I loved Dr. Vaughan's first book: Awakening Intuition. So, when this book came out, I thought it was even better. Today it would be a master reference book for how we got where we are. It contains the important historical points and adds to the current state. Just so the point is not missed; it slides easily into the Jungian world in case you did not notice that 'Shadow' is part of the title. It covers the usual items for someone on the spiritual path. There are chapters on Ego, Soul, Sex, Death, Love, Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and the Myth of Enlightenment. This is nicely concluded with a charter titled Spiritual in Daily Life.  

Dr. Vaughan passed away on September 23, 2017. Fortunately, we have this book which can help us in the future. I hope this book review will entice you to take a look.  

Something Old

The Technique of The Spiritual Life, Clara M Codd, TPH, Adyar, Madras 600020, India, 1974, pp. 125, Out of print, but some used copies and/or Theosophical Libraries.  

Notable Books 46 c

Original Adyar cover

Any book by Clara Codd would work in this 'Notable Books' section. At one time I had all of her books; all of which I found valuable. I chose this one for its unique fit in today's meditation world.  

Back when I started getting involved in my spiritual quest, the concept of meditation was something that was looked upon as 'different'. It was not that easy to find books and information on this topic. Much of my early readings came from Yogananda's book: Life of a Yogi. When I became a card-carrying member of the Theosophical Society, almost 50 (!!) years ago, I read almost everything the Olcott library in Wheaton had to offer on meditation. The one that had the most to offer at that time was the one now under review.  

The best part of re-reading this book, over and over, is because it reminds you of WHY you meditate. Best of all, it gives you the basic reasons of why theosophists meditate. If you go to the bookstore and buy from the large selection of books on meditation, the books will give details on HOW to meditate with research studies, supporting how this improves your body, etc. However, take a look again at the title of this book and notice that it focuses NOT on just A TECHNIQUE, but a technique for the Spiritual Life - AND it is theosophically based!

In the first one hundred pages the topics that you will not find in today's book: the Ego, Will, Body, Emotions, Mind, and the Way. The last twenty-five pages is focused on 'The Method'. As a bonus, when you get to the last page, you will have reviewed basic theosophy.

This is a wonderful theosophical book. Do not overpay for a used copy but try to make it part of your theosophical book collection. 

 Notable Books is a series compiled by Dr. Ralph Hannon

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