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THE STILL POINT

THE SIMPLICITY OF SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT

An informative, if often familiar, manual of spiritual development.

A spiritual guidebook accompanies readers on a journey of self-discovery with a meditative focus on the constancy of the inner self.

The first chapter of this manual of enlightenment posits, “Our lives have both a dynamic quality and a static quality to them.” This notion that human existence is composed of ever changing experience swirling around an unmoving core is present in a number of religious traditions. Biotechnology executive Krenitsky calls this core the “Still Point,” but he points out that it’s also been called “Awareness, Consciousness, Knowing, Being, Holy Spirit, Presence, Tao, and so forth.” Around this Still Point, the author notes, humans experience a number of unhelpful thoughts and emotions that he summarizes as “the insane conditioning of the ego, which has brought you nothing but fear, worry, and conflict.” Chapters such as “The Seduction of Thought,” “The Absolute Need To See the Ego Self as False,” and “The Illusion of Control” expand on the idea that happiness requires one to tune out a cacophony of feelings, desires, and ideas in order to become aware of one’s “true, unchanging nature.” After this, the seeker’s next step, the author asserts, is to expand this moment of consciousness into an “ever-present awareness”—which, in turn, can lead to personal as well as social change. Much of the book is presented in a question-and-answer format, and Krenitsky presents it all in the style of a good teacher; the overall tone is direct and respectful, without pretention or condescension. His evocation of the Silent Point, that thing “you have called ‘I’ when referring to yourself your entire life,” is likely to feel relevant and compelling even to those who are unfamiliar with practices of meditation and self-realization. At the same time, there’s not much new here for longtime practitioners of New Age or Eastern spiritual traditions, but instructions such as “Be the Actor and not the Character in the Movie of Life” may provide seekers with helpful ways to approach enlightenment.

An informative, if often familiar, manual of spiritual development.

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-954968-82-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Waterside Productions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2021

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A JEW

An important dialogue at a fraught time, emphasizing mutual candor, curiosity, and respect.

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Two bestselling authors engage in an enlightening back-and-forth about Jewishness and antisemitism.

Acho, author of Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, and Tishby, author of Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth, discuss many of the searing issues for Jews today, delving into whether Jewishness is a religion, culture, ethnicity, or community—or all of the above. As Tishby points out, unlike in Christianity, one can be comfortably atheist and still be considered a Jew. She defines Judaism as a “big tent” religion with four main elements: religion, peoplehood, nationhood, and the idea of tikkun olam (“repairing the world through our actions”). She addresses candidly the hurtful stereotypes about Jews (that they are rich and powerful) that Acho grew up with in Dallas and how Jews internalize these antisemitic judgments. Moreover, Tishby notes, “it is literally impossible to be Jewish and not have any connection with Israel, and I’m not talking about borders or a dot on the map. Judaism…is an indigenous religion.” Acho wonders if one can legitimately criticize “Jewish people and their ideologies” without being antisemitic, and Tishby offers ways to check whether one’s criticism of Jews or Zionism is antisemitic or factually straightforward. The authors also touch on the deteriorating relationship between Black and Jewish Americans, despite their historically close alliance during the civil rights era. “As long as Jewish people get to benefit from appearing white while Black people have to suffer for being Black, there will always be resentment,” notes Acho. “Because the same thing that grants you all access—your skin color—is what grants us pain and punishment in perpetuity.” Finally, the authors underscore the importance of being mutual allies, and they conclude with helpful indexes on vernacular terms and customs.

An important dialogue at a fraught time, emphasizing mutual candor, curiosity, and respect.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781668057858

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon Element

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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GREENLIGHTS

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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