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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some holiday reading!

I recommend two books I have read recently. Two very different authors (a middle aged man and a teenage girl); two very different challenging life experiences; two different religious affiliations - both inspiring!

I am Malala: the Girl who Stood up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai with Christine Lamb
Although I have read several other books about the Taliban in Afghanistan this one gave a much greater "grass roots" feeling for living right in the midst of their reign of terror. (It is set in Pakistan - but the issues are the same.) What courage! I can't imagine being anything like  as brave as this child/teenager. I realized too that her father was a hero in his own right. The news understandably  focussed on Malala but the book gives the perspective of the whole family.

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife.
by Dr Eban Alexander
I was initially rather skeptical of the title so I hedged my bets by buying a Kindle version! Now I wish I had bought a regular book so I could lend it. The medical people who cared for Alexander during his  bacterial meningitis and week long coma did not expect him to survive, or if he did he would have severe brain damage. However he made full recovery and was then able to describe his "near death experience" with an integration of medical, scientific and spiritual perspectives that I have not read elsewhere. What particularly inspired and, yes, even excited me, was that the descriptions of his experience matched what both the mystics of the past and contemporary scholars with an interest in non-duality and levels of consciousness are talking about. Of course there are plenty of people "de-bunking" his account and the conclusions he draws from his experience - but see what you think for yourself.