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Posted May 9, 2013

Book: The Simple Path of Holiness
Author: Will Raymond
Sacred Books Publishing Company. Clinton. MA. 2012. Pp. 263

An Excerpt from the Prelude:

Despite peoples best efforts with religion, psychology, or meditation they have not found an effective way to resolve the painful hardships of their life or to find relief from difficult emotional states. They continue to hope a more clear understanding of truth will help them cultivate the exalted experiences of peace and deep healing they have heard are possible. Part of the general challenge for many in this particular predicament is they cannot find any clear way to sort out the important truths from the distorting they encounter in a particular culture they are drawn in. For anyone who experiences these kinds of painful frustration, it is dearly hoped this independent commentary on silent meditation will be of real help.

An Excerpt from the book:

Sacred Exercise

Sacred forms of exercise such as Yoga or T’ai Chi will not only help heal and tone the body. These forms of exercise are practices in meditation and mindful awareness in their own right. They are also excellent preparations for silent meditation. This healing and toning of the body will also dispense the conditions that generates torpor which is defined best as sluggish and dull mind. Torpor, or ennui, or a general sense of malaise, are hindrances that will prevent a person from moving forward.

Look carefully at the body.

You will be amazed at how complex, intricate, and subtle the body is.

As you seek to do some basic stretching exercises, prior to meditation, notice where the body may be sore and tight and how sore it is. This will give you an idea how sore and constricted the emotions and conflicted the thought-structures in the mind may be as well. As you are able to heal and tone the body, this will also lead to a more supple and relaxed mind, although it may take quite a bit of patience to work through any serious health issues you are experiencing. These forms of exercise also help the breath settle into a good and steady rhythm and this too, will help you prepare for times of silence, stillness, and emptiness.

Wilderness hiking or swimming or other forms of general exercise are other good choices. But the subtleties of Yoga or T’ai Chi and like practices are uniquely suited to heal the body. These disciplines help by restoring a healthy flow of blood throughout the body, improving the quality of the digestive process, and refining the energy fields of the nervous system.

A slower, steadier rhythm to the breath and a more relaxed body and mood tone are all very practical and beneficial preparations for meditation. The same is true for positive experiences with therapeutic massage.

These efforts all contribute to an overall enhancement of the tone and quality of life, health, and stamina, all of which are needed for serious effort.

Table of Contents:

1. Awareness

2. Stillness, silence, and emptiness

3. Sacred exercise

4. The basics of meditation practice

5. Concentration and insight practice

6. Affirmation

7. Confession and grace

8. Fear and practical skills

9. Faith and fear:
Part 1 basic definitions and choices
Part 2 simple steps

10. Freedom and intimacy:
Part 1 the causes of excessive desire
Part 2 Skillful means to diminish excessive desire

11. Humility and vanity

12. Insight and illusion
Part 1 foundations of the house
Part 2 above the tree line