StillPoint Contemplative Library
“Spirituality is experiencing God within and around you.”
“Mysticism is allowing God to live His Life through you and as you.”
The StillPoint Contemplative Library is a resource for exploring, developing and nurturing the Inner Spiritual Life.
Our main focus is “Mystical Spirituality” which, simply stated, is the experience of the Divine within. Our practical goal is to live to our fullest potential by being “whole and balanced,” living the full value of relative creation as well as the full value of the Infinite Being from which all life springs.
In this section we recommend a number of authors whose words definitely enrich the spiritual journey. You will see that some are of the Eastern tradition and others of the Western tradition.
This is a true spiritual classic. This great God-Realized yogi came to America in 1920, bringing a message of the central unity and harmony between the teachings of Christianity and the traditions of the East. He showed us an essential oneness between East and West. In this book he brings us through the metaphysical and spiritual journeys as he experienced them in his own life. What seems to be unique about this work is that many people report that they have a sense of "him, his presence and his consciousness" as they read his words. Some of Yogananda's clearest and most available mystical teachings have been captured on a CD of his lecture--a talk entitled "Awake in the Cosmic Dream"--which can be purchased from Self Realization Fellowship.
"The Divine Order arranges our future more wisely than any insurance company. The world is full of uneasy believers in an outward security. Their bitter thoughts are like scars on their foreheads. The One who gave us air and milk from our first breath knows how to provide day by day for His Devotees.”
This is a surprise! Here we only have six chapters translated but the understanding surpasses traditional thinking and perspective. It seems to be less a handbook of right thought and activity, and more a wonderful expression of consciousness as it becomes fullness in our daily lives.
"This Yoga is the path to Bliss. When the mind moves towards Bliss, it experiences increasing charm at every step; as when one proceeds towards the light, the intensity increases continuously. When the mind experiences increasing happiness, then it does not wander; it remains focused in one direction, unwavering and resolute. Such is the state of the mind moving in the direction of Bliss, and when it arrives at the direct experience of Bliss, it loses all contact with the outside and it contented in this state of transcendental bliss consciousness. When the mind comes out of this state into the field of action again, it remains contented and therefore maintains its resolute state to a greater or lesser degree. Through practice this state becomes established. This is what the Lord means when He says that, 'In this Yoga…the resolute intellect is one-pointed.'"
This rendition of the Bhagavad Gita is a spiritual and metaphysical treasure. I highly recommend it as a basic textbook of knowledge. This is perhaps one of the best introductions to the depths and complexity of spirituality and metaphysics ever written. This is a must for the book shelf.
This is a beautiful translation of the Bhagavad Gita without author commentary. It holds to the original poetic nature of the Gita while being very readable and accessible for Western readers.
"The Reality which pervades the universe is indestructible. No one has power to change the Changless. Bodies are said to die, but That which possesses the body is eternal…Not wounded by weapons, not burned by fire, not dried by the wind, not wetted by water: such is the Atman [Self]."
Saints in the early Christian church conceived the path to God exactly as we see in the East. It is threefold: the periods of Purification, Illumination and Union. This book is made up of three sections in which certain quotes and teachings represent the understanding and experiences at each of these three stages. It is quite enlightening to watch as understanding evolves in each state. It further proves that "Truth is experienced differently in different states of consciousness."
"What is this awesome mystery that is taking place within me? I can find no words to express it; my poor hand is unable to capture it in describing the praise and glory that belong to the One who is above all praise, and who transcends every word…My intellect sees what has happened, but it cannot explain it. It can see, and wishes to explain, but can find no word that will suffice; for what it sees is invisible and entirely formless, simple, completely uncompounded, unbounded in its awesome greatness. What I have seen is the totality recapitulated as One, received not in essence but by participation. Just as if you lit a flame from a flame, it is the Whole Flame you receive." –Symeon
The Cloud of Unknowing is a definitive work of Christian Mysticism. The unknown author predates the Carmelite mystics and it seems quite obvious that this work was part of the basis of their essential spirituality. The author tells us not to attempt this book without a sincere reverence for the Pure Knowledge described within. He portrays a somewhat ambiguous “Cloud of Unknowing” and a “Cloud of Forgetting” which, unlike in most texts, reveal themselves over time in the reading of the material. The value of this book is to re-awaken the inner sense of eternal union with the One Unity “That Is.” This is not for the spiritual “tire-kicker.” Taking on this study will subtly and forever enrich your spiritual journey. The grammar and syntax as well as some of the descriptors have medieval flavors and tones as they should. It was written in a distant time of medieval understanding, however the core message is absolutely appropriate for us today!
Balsekar takes the teachings of "non-dualism" and attempts through question and answer to bring life to the meaning of individual and universal existence. We suggest that the first 89 pages will give you an excellent overview of this genre of teachings. (Dry as a bone, but a very rich look into another way of understanding Reality.)
"The body-mind mechanism you consider yourself to be, when conceived was stamped with certain characteristics: physical, mental, moral, temperamental…so that Consciousness or Totality or God could produce through that body-mind mechanism certain acts during its lifetime, the period between birth and death. And that is what is taking place."
This is a translation of the Ashtavakra Gita, which is the "bible" of non-dualism. We recommend that this be the last in the series of books that you read and make sure that you have a good understanding of Consciousness Speaks. The author explains the profound and mind-dispensing teachings that bring one from the separateness of identity with the individual wave to identification with the unbounded ocean of existence. Just the first chapter can forever change your perspective on you, me and all things. Again, this is the type of book that we suggest you read with a highlighter, a pencil and pen--take notes, go one paragraph at a time and when something seems incomprehensible, just go to the next thing. All understandings will reveal themselves in time.
"All there is is Consciousness on which spontaneously appears this universe."
This is one of the authoritative teachings of Mystical Christianity. This is definitely an advanced teaching. A good understanding of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Science of Being and Art of Living will give the framework to allow the simple yet profound teachings of spiritual Oneness to explode in your consciousness as "Yes, yes, that is what He means." Leloup helps interpret Jesus' teachings about the unity of the uncreated Father, the Mother of All Creation, and the Son that unites the two. Thomas took Christianity beyond behavior and beliefs to a state of consciousness where there is only One Consciousness manifesting as all these seemingly separate parts. He explains in parables and in short paragraphs that the mission of the Christ was to unite the Unmanifest basis of creation (the Ocean) with the waves of seemingly separate existence (the wave). Besides the works of St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila which are very difficult to read, this is the definitive work on mystical Christianity unearthed as a true Gnostic Gospel. Leloup has written other books about the Gnostic Gospels but this by far overshadows anything we have come across and it is a primary text for the teachings presented at StillPoint Retreats.
When you see someone who was NOT born from a womb, then prostrate yourselves and give worship, for this is your Father."
This Logion invites us to discover the Unborn within us: that which was not born of woman, flesh, reason, or emotion. It directs our attention to our true origin, unborn and uncreated. There is our true Father. When we discover it we can only prostrate ourselves and worship it, for we are before the Divine abyss of uncreated Being and Love.
by Sarah Young
This is a beautiful collection of daily contemplations, written as if Jesus Himself is speaking to you, offering assurance of His Love and intimate involvement in, and mastery of, every moment of our lives. Reading this book is a beautiful remembrance of our relationship with Him and provides comfort and encouragement to endure the trials of life and to see His hand in all that happens to us.
Here the author describes the spiritual journey in terms of the "seven states of consciousness." This is a blend of Eastern and Western spirituality touching on the mystical. The book is a mixture of the masculine "definitions" of God, creation, individuality, love, etc., as well as sweet feminine "mystical poetry" that captures the essence of communion and union with the One. Its primary purpose is to give clarity to the "tower of Babel" type confusion existing today in which the meanings of such fundamental elements of spirituality are either lost or misunderstood. The author clarifies in modern language the visions, principles and hope as expounded by the timeless God-Realized Masters, sages and saints.
The Mystical Life:
"God is simple; everything else is complex."
"The life of a mystic is simplicity itself. To a mystic this life is not centered on a grandiose sense of needing to "do" something external. It focuses not on what we do, but who we become. It is measured not in outer accomplishment, but by the depth of our Self-Realization. Its effects on the human race and material nature are profound. This life concerns itself with changing consciousness, not beliefs and conditions. Conditions are the products of consciousness. When you change the root cause of conditions (consciousness), then right conditions emerge spontaneously."
"The Mystical Path is about living life outside the boundaries or dream of duality. It does not concern itself so much with creating a personal reality as much as realizing Ultimate Reality. The purpose of the Mystical Path is that we express our true nature, which is a merging of the individual self into the Source of Self Itself--Divine Union."
"This is not a path of the old age, nor is it the path of the new age. It is as ageless as its message: Nothing short of the direct experience of God will ever satisfy our need for wholeness, fulfillment and completion."
For us this book starts with Chapter Two. Ma's teachings are truly universal. Although she lived in a Hindu culture, she is an Avatar of cosmic dimensions. Her teachings apply to all people at all times. She is profound in her compassion and depth of experience. She is an incarnation of Divinity Itself.
"God is within everyone, but man goes out in search of Him. This is what constitutes God's Play and God's Creation."
Samplings of the works of some of the greatest mystical teachers of East and West:
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Catherine of Siena
St. Theresa of Avila
St. John of the Cross
In All Things--St. Francis of Assisi
"It was easy to love God in all that was beautiful. The lessons of deeper knowledge, thought, instructed me to embrace God in all things."
Here, ancient Christianity is preserved, practiced and taught by Eastern Orthodox monks of Mt. Athos. The monks remind us of the importance of prayer, invoking the Sacred Name in the ancient tradition of the Jesus Prayer, and illuminating us about the more hidden aspects of the Christian contemplative journey. This is a wonderful primer and "reminder" of some of the many teachings and principles that have been lost to modern Christianity.
"When a human being eradicates personal desires (overshadowing personal desires, not the natural desires to eat, sleep and think), and reaches a state of liberation from egotistical (overshadowing) passions, they become a 'vessel of the Holy Spirit.' Then whatever that person wishes is given because it is what God actually wishes. The consciousness of the Saint is fully attuned with the Spirit of God."
"When we empty our self of the 'me,' all that's left is God."
Swami Muktananda introduces the technique of watching or witnessing the thoughts of the mind as a means to attain mental stability and peace. Muktananda is a prolific writer and teacher. He is a teacher of the ancient tradition of Kashmir Shavism, which starts with the truth that is at the end of the mystical search: "There is only One Consciousness."
"Shavism refers to three innate impurities that cause our understanding to become contracted. The first of these makes us feel imperfect, the second makes us feel we are different from others, and the third makes us feel that we are the doer of good and bad actions. The truth is that there is only One, doing all things perfectly."
St. John of the Cross is one of the few Christian mystics who attempted to put into words what the mind cannot fathom. Fr. Steuart did an excellent job helping us to understand the mystical journey as St. John described it. He held strictly to the teachings while making the understanding available to all who take the time to contemplate what only the heart can comprehend.
"God is known by Silence, not by reason; by intuition, not by imagination."
This book is the only book that we can endorse as to its validity with respect to the experience of the Afterlife. This account tracks what is taught in ancient sacred texts rather than popular near death experience accounts with angels' breath, fairy dust, etc.
This is one of the most important books I have ever read. Although the grammar and syntax are somewhat laborious, even after three centuries the message is clear and sublime. God can be found in and as every moment of our lives. This is the sequel to De Caussade’s other masterpiece Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence. In mystical spirituality we identify five primary spiritual practices: meditation, contemplation, prayer, selfless service and the practice of the Presence. This book is the authoritative work on the most Sacred Practice of God’s Presence every moment. It is one of the top shelf books in my bookcase.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi left his body in early 2008. The world is a far better place for what he gave his life to--his teachings of Transcendental Meditation and the Vedic principles that underlie all spirituality. We recommend this book as a text for the definitive understanding of the metaphor of "the wave and the Ocean." We tell students that the first two sections say just about everything there is to say about the elements, technology and meaning of true "enlightenment" and living a full life with a foundation of unchanging happiness and bliss. Read these sections over and over and then move on. The more they are read the more they reveal their beauty and meaning. We encourage readers to read with a highlighter, and a pencil or pen--take notes and underline. We do have one caveat! Over the years Maharishi got very involved in politics and the first section of the book is a "sour turn off" for many people. We urge you to look past the politics to the core teachings. Jerry Thomas has often said that he experiences Maharishi as the clearest and most practical teacher of our time. His message is not new, but the way he describes the principles and the journey is both exquisite and uplifting.
"In order to be able to use one's full potential, the first step will be to infuse stability into the ever changing phases of relative life."
This is a charming and profoundly insightful series of observations as to how evil seeks to get us off track.
It is absolutely amazing that an Eastern monk so brilliantly captured the essence of Christianity's most complete teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus taught not with words alone, but from His own state of consciousness and Swami Prabhavananda captures it in a way not heard from modern theologians and theology. This is an excellent read bringing a new understanding and light to one of Jesus of Nazareth's most sacred "sermons" about the nature of living a life based on the way He lived His Life! Or, to put it another way, how to find inner peace and serenity by living in harmony with God's Will and the Universal Laws of Nature.
This is a collection of prayers from the Sufi tradition, one for each day and night of the week. They are beautiful expressions of devotion to God and contemplation of Union.
This life story and teachings of the great 19th century Avatar, Shirdi Sai Baba, contains the essence of all mystical knowledge--both East and West. Many report miracles of faith, understanding and joy, as well as the cessation of much suffering simply by attuning to Shirdi Sai, his stories and his unbounded knowledge of Ultimate Reality.
Please contact us at (603) 490-2271 if you would like more information about this course.
This is a beautiful account of redemption, acceptance and love. Fr. Boyle's stories of his work with the "homies" of Los Angeles are deeply moving and often laugh-out-loud funny! His profound compassion and commitment to his ministry inspire greater patience and acceptance of humanity as well as ourselves, and include many powerful reminders of God's infinite love and acceptance of us.
"Meister Eckhart says 'God is greater than God.' The hope is that our sense of God will grow as expansive as our God is. Each tiny conception gets obliterated as we discover more and more the God who is always greater."
"Recognizing that we are wholly acceptable is God's own truth for us--waiting to be discovered."
Here is a compilation of sacred wisdom as written in poetry by the great Sufi Masters. Each poem is, in itself, a contemplation of God and Ultimate Reality.
"God is Silence and is most easily reached in Silence."
"All this talk and turmoil and noise and movement is outside the veil; inside the veil is Silence and calm and peace."
This is a hidden gem of Christian non-duality--"There is only One." Its text is centered around the idea of God's Will as the sole will in all of creation and alignment to that Will is our freedom, fulfillment and liberation. A synopsis of the book can be found in the Contemplative Essays section of the Library page.
"Faith is knowing that our lives are orchestrated by a Divine Intelligence. The circumstances and conditions of our lives come to us specifically to give us the opportunity to 'un-self'--to clear the vessel such that only God is left."
"The secret of happiness and contentment is to remain indifferent to good fortune or to adversity--by accepting it all from the hand of God without questioning, not to ask for things to be done as we would like them but as God would have them done."
This is a hidden treasure in our line of work. Often people come to retreats and at the end they say: "How on earth could I ever begin to introduce these ideas to the people around me?" Well, Cheryl Richardson wrote a masterpiece of introduction. The first half of the book is a "journey of grace." The second half gets deeply personal and lovingly "spiritual" (from chapter 6 on). Cheryl has a number of dimensions: she is a world class "expert" on taking care of the self--the wave: teaching us how to build our individuality and train it so that it can function with grace and fullness. And unless this wave is functional, the journey cannot begin! She is also a lover of God and a deeply spiritual woman. Her book is a self-revelatory journey that can benefit anyone who is even vaguely curious about the type of spirituality that leads to Divine Communion; the type of spirituality that StillPoint teaches to all who can receive it.
"Twenty years ago I made a decision to wake up and alter the direction of my life. This set in motion a series of events that proved to me there are no coincidences. Every event we experience and every person we meet has been put in our path for a reason. When we awaken to this fundamental truth, we begin to understand that a benevolent force of energy is available to guide and direct our lives. I call this energy the unmistakable touch of grace. This book tells the story of how grace has transformed my life as well as the lives of others. While some stories may seem unbelievable, all of them are true. As you follow the journey, you'll start to see the influence of grace in your life, too. And, once you've finished, the way you view your life (and the people in it) will be changed forever."
Once my spiritual director placed before me a two gallon bucket of walnuts. He said, "Eat them."
I said, "I can't, they are still in the shell."
"Like the wisdom of the Bible. Try to eat these nuts like chocolates and you will break your teeth, not get the meat, and get very discouraged. Take one nut of wisdom at a time and open it in contemplation. It may take a year or more just to open one nut. But soon you will discover that although each nut appears different, they hold the same nourishment and message."
Personally, I spent months on "In the beginning there was the Word…" After a long time I came to realize that there is only the Word and we are all IT!
This is a tale of a pilgrim who wanders Russia practicing the "Jesus Prayer." He has many personal encounters with the profound transformational effects of this sacred practice. This book inspires and enlightens the path of continuous prayer and of using the Sacred Name to transform ourselves from human separateness to Divine Communion. We advise that you look past the old and traditional cultural language that sometimes goes with ancient orthodox articulation of Truth and capture the spirit of Love Itself taking possession of the heart.
"These and similar consolations led me to conclude that the fruits of the Prayer of the Heart can be experienced in three ways: in the spirit, in the emotions, and in revelations. In the spirit, one can experience the sweetness of the love of God, inner peace, purity of thought, awareness of God's Presence, and ecstasy. In the emotions, a pleasant warmth of the heart, a feeling of delight throughout one's being, joyful bubbling in the heart, lightness and courage, joy of life, and indifference to sickness and sorrow. And in revelation, one receives the enlightenment of the mind, understanding of Holy Scripture, knowledge of speech of all creatures, renunciation of vanities, awareness of the sweetness of the interior life, and confidence in the nearness of God and His Love for us."
This is one of the best books written on the lives and teachings of women mystics and saints of the 20th century. The nine saints illuminated here represent the essence of all the major traditions. For instance, for years we have been searching for the best resource for Ammachi's teachings [Amma is a living saint who teaches and tours the world amma.org]. We believe that what Timothy Conway did in thirty or so pages is the best written and compiled so far. The same can be said for the teachings of Anandamayi Ma, a contemporary of Paramahansa Yogananda and spiritual "friend" to the great saint, and Anasuya Devi, a true, true mystic and phenomenal teacher. This is another must-read book. The teachings of these great saints awaken the soul and sweeten the heart.
"The primary spiritual practice is to turn inward by quietly thinking a Name of God." -- Anandamayi Ma
“Om Jesus Christi, Miserere Nobis” - “O Lord Jesus Christ, shed Thy Grace on us.”
The Name of God is the same as God. Using the Name of God is merging with Him, becoming Him and experiencing the Bliss, Love and Peace that is His Nature. What the mind dwells upon…it becomes. Our thoughts are creative sounds that manifest according to their own nature. The Nature of Christ is peace, and peace in action is love. Thinking peace, chanting peace, spreading peace, is an act of love. And to the mystic that is the purpose of life.
Om Sai Shri Sai Jaya Jaya Sai
OM means the Universal Aspect of God within Creation
Sai is the Universal Divine Mother
Shri is the title of utmost respect
Jaya is a word that endearingly refers to the concept of “honoring”
Chanting the Name of God fills us with His Presence. As wisdom is the mind’s completion, devotion is the heart’s completion. As inquiry is the beginning of the journey, adoration is its end. This is the mystical act of “unselfing” and experiencing of the Source of All…Life, Wisdom, Peace, Love and Bliss.
Om Sai is one of the devotional chants of the great saint Sai Baba of Shirdi.