Work Title: Books on Spiritual Practice: The "Finger Pointing at the Moon"
Work Author(s): Kristine Morris
Byline: Kristine Morris
For what may be the first time in history, large masses of people are coming into possession of a power capable of transforming the world as we know it. It is not a transformation caused by the usual methods of the past---war and domination provoked by fear and greed---for those methods have already been identified as obsolete and incapable of creating lasting, positive change. Rather, this power is the opposite of force; it is based in the awareness of the truth that all are one, and that each individual is responsible for, and capable of, creating a new way of living in the world.
Books have played a major part in this transformation. As carriers of the stories of those who have dipped into the well of Spirit, books show the ways of those who have managed to break the collective trance, who have come to personal wholeness and realized their true worth to the larger community; and in this awareness, there is power. Swami Amar Jyoti declares that "the satisfaction you get from sipping a drop of water, you will not get from reading, or hearing descriptions of water"; one must first come to the awareness that the water to relieve one's thirst exists, that others have tasted this water, and that it is available to all. This is the great service of books.
Yet books will forever be about something; they are not the thing itself. And herein lies their danger: books cater to the mind, that voracious devourer of words and concepts that is ever ready to stick a label on the inexpressible and believe that it now has it in its grasp---as though by knowing the label it knows the experience itself. Words cannot capture the essence of spirituality any more than they can effectively express what happens to someone who is deeply moved by a painting, or great music, or the beauty of the night sky. Spirit is like the air one breathes, without which life is impossible, yet which remains unseen, and, for many, not even noticed until it is absent.
Science has identified things seen and unseen, matter that is composed of energy vibrating at slower or faster rates, from rocks and metals through the spectrum of visible light and beyond it to the realm of the invisible. In doing so, science has brought us new words and concepts with which to explore spirituality---yet most would agree that a spiritual experience is...