Friday, January 2, 2009

New Book Club -- meeting times and book selections (Spirituality - Empowerment - Wellness), everyone is bothered by violence in the world, economic and ecological collapse, cancer and disease... ugh.
Are you tired of blogging, protests, petitions, lawsuits, voting, doctors, analysis, and other ineffective strategies...?

Want to do something about it all... that WORKS!?

Well then, I hope you all will consider participating. in the
The Binghamton Spirituality, Empowerment, and Wellness Book Club
The image
Topics may include:
Spirituality and Spiritual Practice -»- Meditation -»- Alternative Healing -»- Sustainability -»- Feminism and the Divine Feminine -»- Personal Empowerment -»- Native Wisdom -»- Creation Technologies -»- Ecology -»- Yoga -»- Buddhism/DharmaIncreasing the Peace - Love - and Happiness in Our World and in Our Own Lives  -»- Sustainability -»- Permaculture -»- Nonviolent Communication -»- Peace-Making -»- Restorative Justice -»- etc.
It's working in conjunction with our new local independent bookstore:

River Read Books
5 Court Street
Downtown Binghamton
607 217-7292

Look for a sign up sheet in the store to get on the email list.
Focus will be on practical solutions towards
  • feeling better,
  • taking control of our own lives and happiness,
  • and creating a better world through self-transformation.
Purchase or order new books at River Read Books on First Friday (or anytime after)

In about a month, we will meet and discuss it (Saturday after First Friday) 
You can obtain the book anywhere, (check at the library) but why not help out this great new LOCALLY OWNED downtown bookstore and help yourself in the process! (They will be giving us space to meet and working w/us to get stock of our selection)
So in a way, this is my personal pledge of spending $15-20/mo. to support River Read Books. I hope you all will join me!

Here's an idea for really cash-challenged folks (like me!) get together with 3 friends and share one book! Our selection for Februrary 7 (12 noon @ River Read Books): .....ORDER NOW!


by Georg Feuerstein & Brenda Feuerstein

... is a crucially important book, which addresses the vital interrelationship between self-transformation and the preservation of our natural environment. The worldwide environmental crisis demands that we now do our utmost to help restore Earth's balance, so that future generations can have a habitable planet to enjoy and to support both their mundane and spiritual aspirations. At its best, Yoga is a holistic tradition that fully acknowledges the interdependence of everything. Its contemporary teachers and practitioners are called to translate the yogic wisdom teachings into a viable "green" lifestyle, which treats both the inner and outer environment with reverence. This book reviews the shocking evidence of the environmental crisis, unsustainable lifestyle choices, and overwhelming human folly, and spells out in straightforward language what this means in practical terms. It is must-reading for anyone seeking to practice Yoga or indeed any other spiritual tradition in a meaningful and responsible manner in the twenty-first century. This is a clarion call for those who actually want to live by the principles of Yoga "off the mat."
The image Our selection for March 7 (12 noon @ River Read Books):

Noah Levine: Against the Stream

Review by Donna Freitas, Religion BookLine -- Publishers Weekly, 4/4/2007

When RBL caught up with Noah Levine, this meditation practitioner of nineteen years was teaching a weekend workshop called "Meditate and Destroy" at Naropa, a Buddhist university in Boulder, Colorado. With the release of Against the Stream (Harper San Francisco, July) this summer, readers won't have to travel west to get a taste of Levine's Buddhism-for-rebels rhetoric.

But don't be fooled, Buddhism isn't just for punk rockers.

"That's the thing about malcontents, rebels and truth seekers," Levine said about his target demographic. "They don't come in any certain package. Part of my intention is to serve Generation X, but it's also broader. There are punks, hip hop fans, recovering addicts, the middle aged, anarchists, and teenagers all interested in Buddhism."

Levine's take on this Eastern tradition is decidedly unlike what he describes as the New Age "feel good" version. "We are not talking about simply getting happy, but making positive changes in the world," Levine said. "The New Age tradition has watered down Buddhism and fed people delusions about happiness and feel-good philosophy rather than presenting what the Buddha presented, which is radical engaged transformation."

Readers looking for candy-coated Buddhism should steer clear of Against the Stream. It's for "true spiritual revolutionaries" who are looking for both "inner and outer spiritual rebellion," Levine writes. "The inner is about conquering the demand that life must be pleasant all the time or we are going to be unhappy," said Levine. "The external is related to how we experience the oppression, hatred, and greed in the world. As we gain more compassion for our own confusion, we gain compassion for the confusion of the world."

One of Levine's central messages is that life is going to continue to be difficult—even after reaching enlightenment. That's in large part due to Mara, a "demonlike character" with whom Siddhartha (the original Buddha, who Levine refers to as "Sid") contends, who "personifies all of the strong negative emotions that, when taken personally, cause us to suffer," Levine writes.

Said Levine, "Even enlightenment doesn't get rid of Mara. Mara is part of the human condition. But enlightenment helps us to encounter it and see Mara for what it is: a byproduct of the psyche."

At thirty-six, Levine works as a psychotherapist, Buddhist teacher and author. He recently moved to Los Angeles because his first book, a memoir called Dharma Punx (Harper SF, 2003) has been optioned and Levine is helping write the screenplay.

What's it like to live in L.A. and turn his life story into a movie? Levine said he's now "dealing with the Hollywood Mara."

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Bill Huston
Binghamton NY
607-321-7846 c

email:  WilliamAHuston at gmail

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