23 Dec 2016

EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE: HOW TO BREATHE YOUR WAY TO A MINDFUL LIFE & THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS.

Two books, both GoodReads wins, both published by Watkins ...


INNER FRONT COVER BLURB: Being mindful of your breath simply means observing and opening your awareness to your breathing without controlling or judging it in any way: letting it be. This inspiring book consists of 16 mindful breathing exercises and is based on the words of Buddha, called the Anapanasati Sutta, in which he brought the teachings of mindfulness to the world.

FIRST SENTENCE {PROLOGUE}: We are all born with the perfect tool of mindfulness.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {PAGE 57}: Becoming mindful of our breath enables us to open our awareness to the whole of our body, accepting it, healing it. 

MY THOUGHTS: With its words of wisdom and 16 exercises all based around different aspects of breathing, whilst this has Buddhist teaching at it core I'd suggest it as being suitable for those of 'faith' as well as those who aren't. 

Easy and clear to understand guidance, ideal for those wishing a momentarily respite from the modern 'rat race'. Every Breath You Take is a handy pocket size read that is perfect for dipping into as and when.


I came to this book with a mind that was at once both cynical and yet open in the hope of mastering my breathing whilst calming my mind. Still early days, I can't claim to have conquered all of the techniques no matter how clearly they are written, but, unlike other so called 'self help' books that I've given up on, I have hopes this one may prove beneficial.


BACK COVER BLURB: The Gnostic Gospels , discovered at Nag Hammadi, are a collection of ancient texts dating from the 2nd to the 4th century AD. Of the 54 texts discovered, 14 have been chosen for this collection for their relevance today. The selected gospels reveal sayings of Christ not included in the New Testament and throw light on the intimate relationship between Jesus and his disciples.

FIRST SENTENCE {INTRODUCTION}: Jewish beliefs marked Christianity permanently until the fourth century, when Jewish Christians who had been prominent in the New Testament were reduced to a remnant.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {PAGE 173: THE SOPHIA OF JESUS CHRIST}: He meditated with his bride Sophia
and his first offspring was born,
an androgyne.

His male part is named
the Son of God.

His female part,
the Sophia,
Mother of the Universe.

MY THOUGHTS: One might think this an odd choice for someone who isn't of the faith but, interested in religions/spirituality to begin with, I was particularly eager to learn what insights a women (IE Mary Magdalene) might have to offer ... if any.

Of beautiful quality, I can't tell you how much I was impressed by this edition of the Gnostic Gospels that, after a forward by the author, included ...

  • The Fable of the Pearl
  • The Gospel of Thomas
  • The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
  • Melchizedek
  • The Gospel of Philip
  • Poimandres
  • The Apocalypse of the Great Power
  • The Sophia of Jesus Christ
  • Human Suffering
  • The Gospel of Truth
  • The Greatest Human Evil is Forgetfulness of God
  • The Secret Book According to St John I, II and III
  • Thunder
  • The Gospel of Judas

Arguably at a bit of a disadvantage in that my understanding of the Bible is at best rudimentary, I think I struggled in so much as I wasn't able to read this selection of omitted texts/excerpts from texts with any real sense of context. However, that said, I found some of them quite thought provoking and, to my surprise, some immensely moving.


6 comments:

Gina R said...

You've two review today too? Small world! 😄 Certainly an unusual mix but it sounds as if you enjoyed them equally in their own right. I'm afraid I had enough theology exploration in school so the latter is out for me... as for the breathing, perhaps. In either case, thanks for the share!

Brian Joseph said...

I have been wanting to read these Gnostics texts for a long time. It is actually an omission my reading that I have not yet done so.

I also an an unbeliever, yet I find religion and theology to be very interesting.

Natasha Hill said...

I really like the sound of the mindfulness book as I struggle with anxiety and find the practice really helpful, especially when there are breathing exercises involved, so I'll keep an eye out for that one! The other sounds interesting too, will let my Dad know about it as he's the Theologian in my family. Have a wonderful Christmas Tracy! - Tasha

Kelly said...

I have a collection of "lost gospels" that might be these Gnostic gospels somewhere on my shelf. Maybe I need to look for them.

I'm a firm believer in the power of Oxygen and diaphragm breathing and have utilized a method off and on (mostly on) for close to 15 years.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

As a firm non-believer, I probably wouldn't read either of your picks this time, although I am more likely to stick with 'Every Breath You Take' and might possibly even gain something from reading it and maybe actioning some of the ideas !

Either way, you obviously wouldn't have entered the Goodreads competition if you hadn't been interested in reading the books, so "Well Done" on the win and thanks for sharing, I only wish I was a little more open-minded.

Wishing you and yours a Very Happy Christmas :)

Yvonne

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I am glad to hear you enjoyed both of these. They sound interesting. The one about breathing intrigues me the most because I do know that the way we breathe impacts us more than we realize. Thanks for sharing. :)

Merry Christmas, Tracy!