The Fruitful Darkness: Reconnecting With the Body of the Earth

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9780062503138: The Fruitful Darkness: Reconnecting With the Body of the Earth

Celebrated world traveler Joan Halifax's report from the spiritual frontier on how contemporary searchers can rediscover the interconnectedness of all life. " . . . a warm and potent testament to the author's beliefs and to a life lived vigorously for the sake of the spirit."--Kirkus Reviews.

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About the Author:

Joan Halifax, PhD, is a Zen priest and anthropologist who has served on the faculty of Columbia University, the University of Miami School of Medicine, the New School for Social Research, and Naropa University. For forty years she has worked with dying people and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Medical School, Georgetown Medical School, and many other academic institutions. In 1990, she founded Upaya Zen Center, a Buddhist study and social action center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1994, she founded the Project on Being with Dying, which has trained hundreds of health-care professionals in the contemplative care of dying people.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Radical ecospiritual memoirs and meditations from a globe- trotting seeker of truth. Halifax (Shamanic Voices, 1991, etc.--not reviewed) boasts impressive New Age credentials: ex-wife of psychologist Stansilav Grof; former assistant to Joseph Campbell; creator of California's spiritually experimental Ojai Foundation; student of assorted shamans and of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh (who offers a grateful introduction). During her decades of world travel--her memories here range from circumambulating a sacred Tibetan mountain to eating peyote in Mexico's Huichol Sierras--Halifax has evolved a worldview that rejects what she calls Western society's ``dualistic'' perspective in favor of one that perceives ``a self coextensive with all phenomena.'' Simply ``by being born,'' Halifax contends, we share ``the World Wound''--a state of universal suffering--that we can escape through several paths, or ``Ways'': the Way of ``Traditions''; of ``the Mountain''; of ``Language''; of ``Story''; of ``Nonduality''; of ``Protectors''; of ``Ancestors,'' and of ``Compassion.'' Each Way involves a return to ``the fruitful darkness''--the shadow side of things, found in the root truths of Native religions, in the fecundity of nature, and in the stillness of meditation. Halifax writes of these paths, and of how she's walked them, in loamy, para-poetic prose: ``Mountain's realization comes through the details of breath. Mountain appears in each step. Mountain then lives inside our bones, inside our heartdrum.'' While declarations such as these, examined in reason's cool light, can seem opaque, even wooly-headed, they gather real force as they roll over pages, ultimately offering a warm and potent testament to the author's beliefs and to a life lived vigorously for the sake of the spirit. Not for those enamored of logic and common sense. But those who wish to ``hear,'' as Halifax puts it, the ``language of the river, rock, and wind,'' will find much to listen to. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Joan Halifax
Editorial: Harper San Francisco (1994)
ISBN 10: 0062503138 ISBN 13: 9780062503138
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Halifax, Joan
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Joan Halifax
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