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For this year’s sacred season, Kosmos has selected four books that we feel represent the Kosmos theme “personal transformation in harmony with all Life”. When you join Kosmos Community as a Jubilant Member, you will receive the book of your choice, signed by the author*, as well as a digital subscription to Kosmos Journal and all the rewards of membership in our growing community. We will even include a secret gift!
Andreas Weber, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017, 256 Pages, ISBN: 978-1603586979
Enjoy this excerpt from an upcoming KOSMOS Live podcast, in which Andreas Weber shares a passage from Matter and Desire.
“In the evening swarms of swifts arc through the air as it becomes transparent. The sky around the castle tower shrills with the birds’ screeching. Hurtling, outpacing each other in squads that interpenetrate, intermingle, and then disperse again, they chase one other. The birds with their slender wings are a gift to the air. Farther above, at the edge of the sky, more flocks dance. The air has been filled with them as though with snowflakes, with dust, with sparks of sunlight.
The swifts inhabit the air as sunlit froth, as though the old castle were a cliff, surrounded by the swell and surge of the sea. One animal after another plummets toward the walls and turns away in the last tenth of a second, leaning into the turn like a pilot flying a death- defying acrobatic maneuver. Or rather, the other way around: the pilot flying the maneuver turns like the playful swift. Our gaze moves skyward and does not turn away, seized by the birds’ dynamism. Our necks bent to follow their curves, circles, and arcs, our eyes sucked upwards into the chasing loop-the-loops and fleeing to chicaneries of wind-taut bodies, nothing but wings, curving blades that cut tracks into the fabric of the sky. Speechless and humble as our limbs tingle with the joy of life, our gaze is an homage. The birds infectious happiness is their trust in the air’s capacity to carry them, the air’s power to be void and thereby, to support.”
About the Author
Dr. Andreas Weber is a German academic, scholar and writer who holds degrees in Marine Biology and Cultural Studies. He is the author of eight non-fiction books and dozens of magazine features and is highly respected for his work in the fields of popular science and environmental sustainability.
James O’Dea, Watkins Publishing, 2017, 176 Pages, Hardcover; ISBN 978-1786780522
Soul Awakening Practice is a “prayer book of contemplation and practice for evolutionaries and activists, for deep ecologists, for spiritual seekers engaged in passionate renewal, and for all those thirsty for a spiritually coherent worldview”. It weaves together powerful essays by Ervin Laszlo, Barbara Marx Hubbard and others, with poetic contemplations by James O’Dea that will inspire, challenge, heal and comfort.
Here are a few of O’Dea’s beautiful contemplative reflections from the opening section of the book on ‘soul awakening’. Each reflection rests on its own page to allow the reader to slow down and savor the words.
Before it fully awakens, the soul is a hidden witness to the entire evolutionary process. As our DNA so brilliantly reveals, human life and all life on planet Earth are inextricably woven together as part of one truly momentous evolving story.
The joy of the dolphin, the caterpillar’s ingenious transformation, the majesty of the jaguar and the soaring freedom of the eagle are imprinted in the collective field of consciousness as life’s prodigious experiments in learning. Celebrate this lineage of creative emergence in Nature that you are an integral part of!
When you are ready to see through the illusory nature of all that divides humanity and when you are drawn to passionately serve the evolving story of the unity of all beings, your soul is empowered to shine its ecstatic all-knowing light into your heart. You experience the birth of higher, soul-guided intuition.
Soul calls you out of hiding. It takes you to the edge. Then it nudges you over the edge. It knows you must fly or live with your quest for meaning unfulfilled. A false sense of security is always the first thing to go. There can be no hedging when you take the high dive from illusion to Reality.
Soul spins the scattered clay of your life into a living chalice fired in the furnace of an almost unbearable beauty and grace. You are spirit made manifest in a world crawling out of the ooze of its own chaos, creative exuberance and suffering.
Your hands are empty and your arms stretched wide as you embrace the truth of your soul’s deepest identity and its creative assignment in manifesting evolved consciousness. You are a speck becoming a cosmos: stay open. What will unfold will blow your mind: this is not a ride for the tightfisted.
Soul’s awakening stirs reverence in the heart for all life and a deep desire to serve and protect all beings. Soul awakening dissolves separation. It is a remembrance of whole life, whole system reality. Thus, soul awakening brings with it more integrated holistic solutions.
Soul knows that, even though the process may take eons, all beings will eventually be liberated from the energies of destructive greed and violent conflict. This knowledge is the mother of soulful and conscious activism.
Out of the dark mud, the lotus catches fire in light and beauty. Yours is the mud and yours the lotus, on this epic journey to soul awakening. So too for all. A great soul-driven planetary civilization will rise out of the dark but potent struggle of evolving humanity, allowing us to thrive at last in the light of peace, the full spectrum of beauty in diversity and the restoration of profound harmony with Nature.
About the Author
James O’Dea is author of The Conscious Activist, Cultivating Peace, Soul Awakening Practice (June 2017) and other acclaimed works. James is a former President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Washington office director of Amnesty International USA and CEO of the Seva Foundation.www.jamesodea.com
Theodore Richards, Homebound Publications, 2017, 248 Pages, ISBN: 978-1938846946
This excerpt comes from chapter 3, Spirituality in the Age of Climate Change.
“Diversity is a word we hear all the time. Generally, in our society, it is considered a “good” thing, perhaps even a “value”, particularly among liberals. But little more is said of it than that we should appreciate diversity because it makes for a more interesting culture and because—in the name of “tolerance”—we should not ostracize those who are different. While I agree with these sentiments, I’d like to make an argument for diversity that speaks to the very survival of humanity, an argument rooted in biology and, in this case, applied to the world’s great spiritual and cultural traditions.
The current ecological crisis has brought the term biodiversity into the public sphere. Most of us, regardless of educational levels, recognize that a lack of biodiversity—that is, fewer varieties of living species—is a catastrophe in the midst of an ecological collapse and a mass extinction. This presents a problem in two ways that relate directly to cultural diversity. First, the loss of biodiversity leaves gaps in ecosystems when certain niches are no longer filled. We need a predator like a wolf, for example, because that niche has repercussions throughout an ecosystem. Without the wolf, species it preys on become too abundant, leading to the destruction of other species, and so on and so on.
It is worth pointing out that our destruction of these predators arises out of deeply ingrained fears. The wolf, the polar bear, the great cats of the African plain—these represent fears we have held for millennia. They represent the wild. As mentioned in chapter 2, to destroy the wild beyond is to destroy something wild in our selves; in paving over the world, we have paved over our own souls. And we are only beginning to recognize how deeply interconnected are the inner and the outer, the soul and the cosmos.”
About the Author
Theodore Richards is the director and founder of The Chicago Wisdom Project, (a Kosmos Seed Grant ‘Project of Promise’), a core faculty member of The Fox Institute, and the author of six books. He is the recipient of numerous literary awards, including two Independent Publisher Awards, The USA Book Award, and the Nautilus Book Award. www.theodorerichards.com
Monica Sharma, North Atlantic Book Reviews, 2017, 368 pages, ISBN 978-1583948958
This book will be available on December 1.
“Part One explores the approaches, principles, and practices of this new field of radical systems and cultural transformation. We will ponder: What are our challenges? What myths and fallacies keep our stories unexamined and maintain the status quo? How can we reverse inequity in a world of abundance that is socially rooted in separation and exclusion, with economic and financial systems that benefit only a few? How do we see and seize the opportunities presenting themselves in seemingly chaotic situations? What are the features of the unique radical response that can make a positive impact in the changing and complex world of today?
Part Two of this book takes us through the intertwined aspects of being, designing, and doing that are potential capacities inherent in everyone, and explores their manifestation through action in the world. When we draw upon our wisdom and inner capacities, we respond with courage and compassion; we embody universal values. Our courageous heart is called to respond to humanity; our discerning eye sees with pristine clarity.
In Part Three, we explore what it means to be a radical systems and cultural transformer and the strategic elements of equitable and sustainable results when we operate at scale. Scale for many simply means more—more numbers, more countries, more groups, more of everything. But scale for equitable and sustainable results is much more than larger numbers. It requires us to design and implement value-based strategies to solve problems while shifting unworkable systems and norms.
Part Four highlights practical steps all of us can take to generate a paradigm shift—how current social movements, businesses, governments, media, academia, and citizens can be aligned and synergistic to make significant positive impact in today’s complex and ever-changing world. Everyone can contribute to shift the paradigm and address complexity with sophisticated simplicity— source universal values for strategic action, manifest our full potential, interrupt divisive isms, put in place what is missing, and urgently complete the unfinished business of equity and sustainability in our world.”
About the Author
Monica Sharma, trained as a physician and epidemiologist, worked for the United Nations since 1988 for 22 years. Currently, she engages worldwide as an International Expert and Practitioner on Leadership Development for sustainable and equitable change.
*While supplies last