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Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"

Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
6/13/15 5:00 PM
"Damn Christians! How do they work?"
This is one of the things I've been wondering about. I genuinely don't have a clue.
So I was very intrigued by Ona Kiser's book. To quote and agree with Ryan from some other thread:

[...] So I'll raise my own post Ona Kiser who was gracious enough to offer her second book for free on her blog, where she gets MCTB 4th path and basically completely reorientates her life afterwards, from magickian to Christian, no less! It's one of the most interesting books I've read, and I think any serious meditator should read it on the grounds it gives a sense of potential interplay between insight and morality.

Here is the blog page referencing the book:
Here is the book:

I found the book quite fascinating. It made me contemplate whether it's a bad idea to view the 3 trainings as completely distinct.
Using only a very "technical" approach to meditation might be unnecessarily limiting.

Especially I found her struggle with her connection/relation to God very interesting.
I have no idea how that works in practice, and I still wonder if this is an experience which "Buddhist meditators" also have, but speak about in very different language.

Honestly, I find the whole God thing quite intriguing. My impression is that Christians might have found a way to get some sort of guidance in their life/practice, which I find is currently missing in my own practice. However, I seem to have absolutely no connection to the ideas, concepts and symbols in Christianity and the other theistic traditions, so this approach probably would never work for me.

Anyone else here who read the book and got something out of it?

RE: Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
6/13/15 6:15 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
I am reading parts of it for the second time now. Obviously I resonate with it, given my background. Chapter 15 of my own offering addresses the question as to whether or not this coincides with Eastern ideas about awakening.

RE: Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
6/14/15 10:20 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Hi Bernd,

I took a look at the Web link. I've encountered daemons during and after deep concentration retreats but unlike Ona, I've concluded that they are just a manifestation of my mind (see my practice memoir, Silicon Valley Monk, downloadable free as an ebook from Smashwords, for a thorough exploration of the topic). I've encountered devas too and they were the same. Daemons, devas, just mind at work like everything else.

My experience is that the human mind has for some strange reason a strong tendency to seek agenticity in cause/effect relationships. If those relationships involve helpful or harmful impact, then the agenticity manifests as gods or God, angels or devas, and devils or daemons. I don't think one needs to ascribe any agenticity to morality in order to practice towards it. The Mahayana vow: "I vow to attain enlightenment for all beings" expresses the wish to liberate yourself from the klesas so that you can be of service to your fellow beings. I see it as the foundational rock on which my practice is built. Some folks here call this the path leading to the elimination of the ten fetters. Of course there are others who have a different view.  And I've got no problem with people who want to ascribe agenticity to morality, in other words, who believe in God, if that belief shapes their life in a way that allows them to help others.

RE: Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
6/14/15 1:10 PM as a reply to svmonk.

I read parts of your book about a half a year ago or so and found it well written and interesting. However, your post completely misses the mark of what Ona's book is about. It completely misses the forest for the trees on the fundamental level. Much of the book is about her first hand account of realizing what seems to be MCTB 4th path and integrating that insight (and other insights) into her daily life. (She used to post here, she's well aware of what the DhO is about.) Your post substitutes your definition of God for hers, and so on, completely altering what she means in her book. There are very few texts I have found that discuss integration of practice with daily life and the potential interplays, ramifications that it has.

Anyways, to Bernd, I'm glad you made this topic and I'm going to simmer some thoughts of my own on this topic and post them at a later time!

RE: Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
6/14/15 8:40 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
I think the issue of compartmentalization of the 3 trainings and the Mahasi maps are a perrennial source of contention on the DhO explicitly or implicitly. I want to be clear from the outset that I'm about to wade into politically sensitive areas, because I feel what I'm about to say could open up a can of worms and get this thread off topic.

My primary inspirations are Shinzen, Jourdain, Roche, Alan Chapman, among others, and I do not get a sense that any of these four people emphasize compartmentalization. Shinzen, in his latest iteration of teaching (The Five Ways to Know Yourself) his 5th way is 'Nurture Positive', which is a generalization of the Brama Viharas to include all acts and intentions to improve: CBT, other types of heart meditation, exercise, gratitude, etc. In his book he says:

"Alternating deconstructive practice with reconstructive practice optimizes psychological and spiritual growth. One might say that the gold standard by which to measure a person’s spiritual maturity is the degree to which they appreciate the following principle: 

Dissolving into the Transpersonal Source makes it easier to be a Good Person.
Being a Good Person makes it easier to dissolve into the Transpersonal Source."

Alan Chapman has a post from years ago calling into question (excessive?) compartmentalization, and Roche and Jourdain say it in their own words too. I do like the 3 trainings as a way to think about practice at it clarifies what is what and allows a clean way to reason about it, to plan, and so forth. It definitely satisfies my intellectual sensibilities, but I also get the sense that most people cannot compartmentalize that well. Recently I was listening to a podcast by Vinay Gupta, and the first thing in this 3 hour long podcast he says is, "Mixing the different aspects of my life has allowed for my life to work the way it has." Vinay is definitely a hardcare meditation practitioner. Now, the immediate conclusion from hearing all this is to say compartmentalization is bad, but the mature stance imo is to take the platitudinous route of, "Different strokes for different folks." Obviously compartmentalization works for Daniel and other's I don't know about, but like everything else it seems to be a spectrum and its one's imperative to experiment where they lie on that spectrum.

When I read Ona's book, one of the takeways as a beginner like myself was, "Okay, to what degree can I give myself a foundation such that insights can arise more smoothly?" I'm not saying this stuff can go perfectly sunshine and rainbows smoothly, but I am saying that a rigorous foundation in morality can really smooth things out. A lot of the more traditionalists who read this will say, "Of course! That's why you have the eight spokes of the wheel of the Dharma!" But, for me at least, and from what I gather history of people like Kornfield and so on, is that Buddhist training isn't enough. That and a lot more is what we should be groping for. That seems to be one of the largest overarching notions of all the BuddhistGeeks podcasts, these insights are AMAZING, okay, now what?

"Especially I found her struggle with her connection/relation to God very interesting. I have no idea how that works in practice, and I still wonder if this is an experience which "Buddhist meditators" also have, but speak about in very different language."

Now I'm going to link to something I've wanted to link to for a long time, but have been hesitant because I'm afraid it could cause a bit of contention here. But, bombs away! The following is a blog post by Duncan Barford about attending a retreat with Alan Chapman (One of Ona's teachers). I think there are some things that may be relevant.
Some excerpts: (My apologies for any Buddhists in the house!)

So, here is an example of a retreat that tries to bridge the compartmentalization gap. I haven't been on one of Alan's retreats, but I post it as a proof of concept as relevant to the thread. Again, slight offensiveness to the more diehard Buddhists!

"I recently returned from the best spiritual retreat of my life. It was the most absorbing, supportive and productive period of practice. The retreat was taught by Alan Chapman, my friend and erstwhile magickal cohort, but before anyone concludes that my assessment is therefore biased, consider the admission it requires on my part: that whereas I have ineffectually fannied around for the past five years, Alan has created a teaching and a vocation that presents a joyful, revolutionary challenge to the spiritual orthodoxy.

Putting it frankly, Alan’s approach pisses all over Buddhism from a great height. My previous retreats were all Buddhist-based, with the attendant assumption that spiritual development demands confrontation with suffering, and that progress only occurs through intense effort. Alan’s teaching draws instead on Greek philosophy for its cosmology and methods. This is a genuine enlightenment tradition that originated in the West but, unfortunately, has not been properly understood or practised here in quite some time.

Here is how we practised it last week: we socialised; listened to Alan explain the teaching and its practice; took turns to engage in one-to-one Socratic dialogue with Alan; sat in formal practice approximately three times per day, for periods of up to 30 minutes; used a specific method for examining each other’s dreams, day-dreams and ‘random’ thoughts; ate nice food; went for relaxing walks and visited the pub.
By omitting the usual Buddhist lunacy of ‘noble silence’, last week acquired the flavour of a shared endeavour. I became absorbed not only in my own process, but also in the expression of that same process in my fellow retreatants. During the week people were indeed waking up"

Here is the type of phenomenological change Duncan got out of the retreat. I think this is the meat of the whole God thing you were trying to get at earlier. Duncan is a magickian/kinda sorta unofficial Buddhist in some ways, for the record.

"At awakening, God manifested as a radical nothingness transcending consciousness, on the threshold of which comprehension failed. But, last week, this changed in a totally unexpected way. What specifically had changed was the nature of my longing for God, the longing for the Beloved. Where, formerly, the sense of radical nothingness had appeared, as something impersonal and foreign from the nature of my being, in its place was now the longing. The longing itself had transformed into something impersonal and absolute. As such, there was no longer any distinction between my longing for God and God’s longing for me. This absolute love, a love in which loving is indistinguishable from being loved, meant that there were no longer two distinct natures. God and I were unified in a single awareness."

Lastly, in the comment section, Duncan talks about some ideas of bridging this retreat with the terms more familiar to those who frequent the DhO:
"To someone at the stage of awakening, who is used to practising in an Ingramesque / hardcore dharma fashion, I would suggest that they examine the bliss they experience from the awareness of emptiness, the longing they experience for this bliss, and (if they happen to be in a Dark Night) the longing they experience to be free from their suffering. A method like the one Alan teaches, however, which involves personifying the practice as a relationship with the Beloved, seems to me a better safeguard against the trap of approaching this as a problem to be worked out for personal gain, rather than as an intimate dance with our true nature, which is always already happening.
I haven’t managed to formulate yet any useful advice I could give to someone at pre-awakening, who is used to a Buddhist / DhO framework."

RE: Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
6/15/15 12:42 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
Hi The Poster Formerly Known as Ryan J,

Thanx for pointing this out. I just read the web page bernd pointed to and it mentioned that she baptised as a Catholic after having an encounter with a daemon. I will take a look at the book, seems like it is about something deeper.


RE: Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
6/15/15 1:20 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
"To someone at the stage of awakening, who is used to practising in an Ingramesque / hardcore dharma fashion, I would suggest that they examine the bliss they experience from the awareness of emptiness, the longing they experience for this bliss, and (if they happen to be in a Dark Night) the longing they experience to be free from their suffering. A method like the one Alan teaches, however, which involves personifying the practice as a relationship with the Beloved, seems to me a better safeguard against the trap of approaching this as a problem to be worked out for personal gain, rather than as an intimate dance with our true nature, which is always already happening.
From a practice standpoint, my life is going great. Most days I do 2 x 40 minute sittings per day, usually get good concentration by the end, sometimes maybe even into first jhana. I did a retreat with Shinzen Young in December where I had a major breakthrough (I think) which I am still digesting, though the month after was a bit difficult.

The source of my suffering doesn't come from anything I experience, longing for bliss, looking for a relationship with the Beloved or anything like that. It mostly comes from a hard, practical assessment that unless the human species gets its act together, there is a high probability that the world is going to end up much impoverished from other species being gone, probably more than 2 degress Centigrade warmer (something like 3) resulting in the destruction of many ecosystems, and with large swaths contaminated by fallout from a nuclear war. 
And my complete and total inability to do anything to change the probability that some part of this will likely occur. Every time I get into a retreat, the realization of this completely overwhelms my mind.

For example: I'm living in Berlin right now. When I lived in Germany 37 years ago, the furtherst north you could grow wine grapes was in the Main river valley, about 560 km south of here. The summers in Brandenburg were too short for the grapes to achieve enough sugar content. Today, a friend came back from a wine tasting trip to Brandenburg. They've been able to grow wine grapes in Brandeburg since 1999. I'm wondering how long it will be before they can grow them in southern Sweden, and will that make southern Germany have the same climate as Italy in 1978? I guess its great for the Bavarians, Germans are always complaining about the weather, but what about the people in Rome? Or north Africa for that matter?

Anyway, maybe what I need to do is shut down my subscription to the New York Times for a year and stop checking the online edition.

RE: Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
6/15/15 3:48 PM as a reply to svmonk.
Well, as far as climate change goes, its a huge topic and something I'm interested in but simultaneously don't have a lot of knowledge about (One can only learn so quickly.) Daniel made a new section for eco-dharma, so I think its definitely worth talking about in detail, especially so since I think most people are more in my boat, where they acknowledge that its an issue but really don't know much about it.

RE: Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
7/1/15 2:17 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
When you posted this I found it so compelling I read through it in one sitting (missing lots, no doubt). It was refreshing to read someone's path written in a straightforward way, but I was left unsatisfied about the lack of interest in mapping that territory with respect to all the wisdom traditions.

I'm sure not having an impetus to map means something in itself, but for those still with the impetus it doesn't click.

Anyway, I didn't feel the need to post the above then, but I found this little excerpt from Cutting Through by Trungpa and I just have to post it. Sorry about the super long quotes

Compassion has nothing to do with achievement at all. It is spacious and very generous. When a person develops real compassion, he is uncertain whether he is being generous to others or to himself because compassion is environmental generosity, without direction, without “for me” and without “for them.” It is filled with joy, spontaneously existing joy, constant joy in the sense of trust, in the sense that joy contains tremendous wealth, richness.

We could say that compassion is the ultimate attitude of wealth: an antipoverty attitude, a war on want. It contains all sorts of heroic, juicy, positive, visionary, expansive qualities. And it implies larger-scale thinking, a freer and more expansive way of relating to yourself and the world. This is precisely why the second yana is called the mahayana, the “great vehicle.” It is the attitude that one has been born fundamentally rich rather than that one must become rich. Without this kind of confidence, meditation cannot be transferred into action at all.

Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people, because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy. They recharge your energy, because in the process of relating with them you acknowledge your wealth, your richness. So, if you have difficult tasks to perform, such as dealing with people or life situations, you do not feel you are running out of resources. Each time you are faced with a difficult task it presents itself as a delightful opportunity to demonstrate your richness, your wealth. There is no feeling of poverty at all in this approach to life.

Compassion as the key to the open way, the mahayana, makes possible the transcendental actions of the bodhisattva. The bodhisattva path starts with generosity and openness—giving and openness—the surrendering process. Openness is not a matter of giving something to someone else, but it means giving up your demand and the basic criteria of the demand. This is the dana paramita, the paramita of generosity. It is learning to trust in the fact that you do not need to secure your ground, learning to trust in your fundamental richness, that you can afford to be open. This is the open way. If you give up your psychological attitude of “demand,” then basic health begins to evolve, which leads to the next act of the bodhisattva, the shila paramita, the paramita of morality or discipline.

Having opened, having given up everything without reference to the basic criteria of “I am doing this, I am doing that,” without reference to oneself, then other situations connected with maintaining ego or collecting become irrelevant. That is the ultimate morality and it intensifies the situation of openness and bravery: you are not afraid of hurting yourself or anyone else because you are completely open. You do not feel uninspired with situations, which brings patience, the kshanti paramita. And patience leads to energy, virya—the quality of delight. There is the tremendous joy of involvement, which is energy, which also brings the panoramic vision of open meditation—the experience of dhyana—openness. You do not regard the situation outside as separate from you because you are so involved with the dance and play of life.

Then you become even more open. You do not regard anything as being rejected or accepted; you are just going along with each situation. You experience no warfare of any kind, neither trying to defeat an enemy nor trying to achieve a goal. There is no involvement with collecting or giving. No hope or fear at all. This is the development of prajna, transcendent knowledge, the ability to see situations as they are.

So the main theme of the open way is that we must begin to abandon the basic struggle of ego. To be completely open, to have that kind of absolute trust in yourself is the real meaning of compassion and love. There have been so many speeches about love and peace and tranquillity in the world. But how do we really bring love into being? Christ said, “Love thy neighbor,” but how do we love? How do we do it? How are we going to radiate our love to the whole of humanity, to the whole world? “Because we must, and that’s the truth!” “If you don’t love, you are condemned, evil; you are doing a disservice to humanity.” “If you love, you are on the path, you are on the right track.” But how? Many people get very romantic about love, in fact get high on it at the very word. But then there will be a gap, a period when we are not high on love. Something else takes place which is embarrassing, a private matter. We tend to seal it off; it is “private parts,” shameful, not part of our divinity. Let’s not think about that. Let’s simply ignite another love explosion and on and on we go, trying to ignore those parts of our being we reject, trying to be virtuous, loving, kind.

Perhaps this will put off a lot of people, but I am afraid love is not really the experience of beauty and romantic joy alone. Love is associated with ugliness and pain and aggression, as well as with the beauty of the world; it is not the recreation of heaven. Love or compassion, the open path, is associated with “what is.” In order to develop love—universal love, cosmic love, whatever you would like to call it—one must accept the whole situation of life as it is, both the light and the dark, the good and the bad. One must open oneself to life, communicate with it. Perhaps you are fighting to develop love and peace, struggling to achieve them: “We are going to make it, we are going to spend thousands of dollars in order to broadcast the doctrine of love everywhere, we are going to proclaim love.” Okay, proclaim it, do it, spend your money, but what about the speed and aggression behind what you are doing? Why do you have to push us into the acceptance of your love? Why is there such speed and force involved? If your love is moving with the same speed and drive as other people’s hatred, then something appears to be wrong. It would seem to be the same as calling darkness light. There is so much ambition involved, taking the form of proselytizing. It is not an open situation of communication with things as they are. The ultimate implication of the words “peace on earth” is to remove altogether the ideas of peace and war and to open yourself equally and completely to the positive and negative aspects of the world. It is like seeing the world from an aerial point of view: there is light, there is dark; both are accepted. You are not trying to defend the light against the dark.

The action of the bodhisattva is like the moon shining on one hundred bowls of water, so that there are one hundred moons, one in each bowl. This is not the moon’s design nor was it designed by anyone else. But for some strange reason there happen to be one hundred moons reflected in one hundred bowls of water. Openness means this kind of absolute trust and self-confidence. The open situation of compassion works this way rather than by deliberately attempting to create one hundred moons, one in each bowl.

The basic problem we seem to be facing is that we are too involved with trying to prove something, which is connected with paranoia and the feeling of poverty. When you are trying to prove or get something, you are not open anymore, you have to check everything, you have to arrange it “correctly.” It is such a paranoid way to live and it really does not prove anything. One might set records in terms of numbers and quantities—that we have built the greatest, the biggest, we have collected the most, the longest, the most gigantic. But who is going to remember the record when you are dead? Or in one hundred years? Or in ten years? Or in ten minutes? The records that count are those of the given moment, of now—whether or not communication and openness are actually taking place now.

This is the open way, the bodhisattva path. A bodhisattva would not care, even if he received a medal from all the Buddhas proclaiming him the bravest bodhisattva in the entire universe; he would not care at all. You never read stories of the bodhisattvas receiving medals in the sacred writings. And quite rightly so, because there is no need for them to prove anything. The bodhisattva’s action is spontaneous, it is the open life, open communication which does not involve struggle or speed at all.
Here's an exercpt from A Soul Suspended,


On March 9th I received a startling email from my former teacher Alan Chapman. He said he had had a
second awakening. I was annoyed at what seemed like a curve ball in the model of awakening he had taught since I’d known him. Others seemed equally thrown off balance by that, as well as by his new inclusion of Christian language. There was a flurry of emailed discussion among the several older students with whom he had shared the story. I wrote to him:

“Dear Alan, I am happy to hear you have had some further and striking unraveling. It sounds as if it has been profound for you. Giving everything to God resonates with me, as it is my own practice now. Following the spontaneity of things when they lead in unexpected directions also resonates.

“For me the 'giving away everything' you mention seems very rooted in love. A near blinding love of God, a love which is not even my own, but His, really. I don't find much resonance in more clinical descriptions of spiritual experiences, because my own path seems so passionate and intense and deeply felt; at least so far it has been that way.

“What also seems important now is being in the world as a simple human being, with that love burning away any sense of being special (which seems always tied to separation), and burning away anything in me that flinches from that full engagement with each moment, as it is, in love. The 'Yes!' of Mary.

“Last March was when I fell in love, in a way that was as life-changing as my awakening. What God cares to do with the rest of my days on this earth I leave in His hands.

“Not sure any of that resonates with you (and I don't think I have experienced something like you are describing, or I would probably understand you better), but I would be interested in your thoughts.”

He replied: “Yes, that all resonates! Just keep giving everything away, as it already is being given away.

“All of our problems come from an inability to give the gift of our lives away, and even though it's a shitty gift - the wrapping is soggy and torn, the box crushed, the bow on top is missing, and we can hear the broken pieces of the present inside - we desperately want to keep it for ourselves. But only the person it is intended for can open it, and so it remains a broken gift we cannot even enjoy. It's only when we give it away freely - let go, with no expectations, nothing to lose, no position to defend - that we discover it is us who receives it, and opening it, find that what's broken inside is fixed more than we could ever know.”

The conversation went on for several more days among those who had received the initial email. I was still a bit bothered but I decided that the whole incident didn’t really matter. My life was in God’s hands, and what He wanted to do with it was up to Him. Alan’s destiny was was not mine, and there was no purpose in having any goal or desire in my own life. “Thy will be done” would remain my only guideline.

And yet one phrase struck me from Alan’s response: Just keep giving everything away, as it already is being
given away. It stuck in me like a knife. I couldn’t shake it. What did it mean? When I chewed on it I ran into a dizzying wall: A wave of bliss that crashed up against “What???” and could go no further.

As time passed I saw how important Alan's email really was, as it shed light on my inexplicable tumble into the intensive penitential practice that had started back in December. My vague notion that there was something I’d been missing was not misplaced. Where I had been saying “I have to do this but I have no idea why and no one else I know is doing it" now it seemed clear that the fumbling around with the theme of giving and receiving was not a fluke.

I remained shaken. The things I saw in practice seemed more overwhelming than ever now. How mind-boggling God's love for us, to offer us this much. How enormous the sacrifice of Christ, and from such love. We are so unworthy and so broken, and God just loves and loves. Freely given, infinitely, unconditionally. That's what Alan was getting at. God's love is utterly unconditional. But is mine? Could I love God utterly even if he were to tear out my soul and cast it into hell, abandoned forever? Even if I were to suffer the worst bodily torment? The former was so much more painful to consider. God is Yes! always, always. By trying to say Yes to God, we are trying to find that place where we are aligned with His Yes, for really we cannot say it, only find His Yes. And what Alan said about the giving - we are always already giving everything away. That I couldn’t see that had to be a clinging to my self, a No, a holding on to a sense of security in my sense of being, in the consolations of God's love, in the trust in God. Could I love unconditionally? Even if I got nothing at all in return or indeed if everything I had were taken away completely? Could I?

But there was this, too: I knew deep down that I didn’t need to because what I was struggling with was based on not seeing clearly. The questions I had were based on a sense that I do anything at all, that I am separated from God, that I do things for Him or to Him. And that was fundamentally false. Yet I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

I thought it seemed apt to say that my struggle with effort and grace was like this, as I wrote in my journal: “God's love is so infinite, so enormous, and so sufficient in and of itself... and yet I feel this sort of agony in not being able to return it. It's like receiving a gift from a king, and all you can offer back is some lint from your pocket, and even that's from a pair of pants he clothed you with. This has been building into a constant sense of utter insufficiency and helplessness. When I do ordinary sitting in particular I keep feeling like the answer to this problem is flickering just out of sight. It's right in front of me, but I can't see it.

“I feel like the desire to participate by giving back is somehow both absolutely vital and yet somehow entangled in delusion. I can't give enough back. Anything I give back is already given by Him in the first place, not really coming from me - so there's something going on here with effort versus grace. And Alan said everything is already being given... and yet that runs into a wall for me. A wall that brings up that old fear reaction. It disturbs. The idea that God is not only sufficient, but infinitely sufficient... means that in some weird sense I am totally unnecessary. But that runs into that wall again.”

Yet I found the way things were going curious and even fun, despite the misery involved. It was fascinating to see things untangling themselves. Things would sort themselves out as they needed to, in their own time.

I was going to bold some parts, but I think the resemblance is striking enough, at least to me. No idea what to say about this. I might post about it later.

That Duncan retreat report was posted awhile back by Florian, something like "For the map geeks"

RE: Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
7/2/15 12:16 PM as a reply to svmonk.
Hi svmonk
I can very well relate to what you´re saying. I have been (and still am) very compassionate about climate change (and other environmental disasters). Whenever climate change stopped being some abstract future and I saw the real consequences to be expected, the suffering of humans, the deaths of ecosystems, I would get very angry and frustrated with a strong desire to do something about it but at the same time feeling helpless. 
A while ago, I heard a Buddhist teacher say that we must accept the fact that mankind may very well lead itself into destruction. That idea was really alien to me at first, as I have always been convinced that that future must be avoided at all costs. At the meantime, the thought has helped me greatly, though. I haven´t stopped feeling passionate about it or stopped my own small steps to change something, but I do so from a much more accepting and open perspective.

RE: Ona Kiser's "A Soul suspended"
7/2/15 1:45 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.

Honestly, I find the whole God thing quite intriguing. My impression is that Christians might have found a way to get some sort of guidance in their life/practice, which I find is currently missing in my own practice. However, I seem to have absolutely no connection to the ideas, concepts and symbols in Christianity and the other theistic traditions, so this approach probably would never work for me.

Anyone else here who read the book and got something out of it?

Since I started facing my own demons through partaking in the A.A. 12-step program, a different perspective about spirituality opened up.
I´ve started praying to god in an honest way, to heal me and remove my defects of character stemming from addiction.
I still am inspired by this expression of spirituality which, as a core, lies in e.g. Christianity. It is all about relating to a higher power than oneself (call it god, or whatever). It is personal and intimate, and it is about love.

Check out the A.A. speakers, such as Peter M. (Peter Marinelli)! Strong theistic langu
age, I had to get used to it ;-)

I think Sasaki Roshi said "there is no love in Zen". My path is different...



(edited: inserted link)