Meditations From a Spiritual Journey

For me, the best poetry stirs my soul; it awakens my spirit through its clarity and simplicity. Its purpose is clean, pointing me towards greater understanding of who I am in this world, or, even better, towards comprehension of the divine that indwells both this world and me. It is this comprehension, this movement towards the divine, that enables each of us to make this world better as we work for justice and an "acting-out" of the divine's attributes.

Much poetry that is published does not fall into this category for me. I find it bland; I struggle with the lines, struggle to make sense of it, and eventually give up. But every once in awhile I am rewarded with a rich vein of spirituality comes to me. William Simpson, spiritual master of the Conscious Living Foundation (www.consciouslivingfoundation.org) has provided this vein for me, in his recent book, From the Path: Verses on the Mystic Journey. The poems in this book are food for the soul, providing both inlet and outlet for contemporary journeying with the divine.

Mr. Simpson is well aware that spirituality is a journey, that one never arrives. Through his long years of meditation, Simpson has discerned that each of us is here for a purpose. For him, part of that purpose was to record these sixty-six poems "found" during the course of his summer meditations in 2004. (He also includes a helpful primer on "first steps," described on the back cover as "practical techniques for growth and transformation.")

While he wrote, he struggled with his self-with whether the poems made sense, or how it would end. This struggle demonstrates the reality of the spiritual life as we move between the two poles of doubt and faith, darkness and illumination.

This struggle is clearly scene, and enhanced for each of us, in several of his poems. For example, in "And So I Sit," Mr. Simpson details the difficulty in maintaining a spiritual practice: "Distracted and enticed by / Flaws and indiscretions / I am pulled away from / Your presence." The joy of knowing the divine is attested in "To Rest In You," even with the awareness that a glimpse of truth now is not the end of the journey: "What a relief to rest in You! / To let go of pain. / To let go of tension. / To just let go?. / And what of the world? / Terror and war." Finally, we learn in "Another Kind Of Love" that the path to the divine is learned and lived by love: "There is another kind of love. / One without an unfulfilled desire. / One that seeks no selfish end?. / When the best way / To get it- / Is to give it- / Purely. / There is another kind of love."

We can thank Mr. Simpson for showing us how to dance. It is up to each of us to follow his lead and enter into this mystic dance.

Jeremy M. Hoover is a freelance reviewer and proofreader. For a quote on proofreading, or to request a review, email Jeremy at jeremyhoover@gmail.com or visit his website, http://hooverreviews.blogspot.com.

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