A Beginner’s Guide to the Path of Ascension

Full Title: A Beginner’s Guide to the Path of Ascension – Book VII of The Easy-to-Read Encyclopedia of the Spiritual Path
A Beginner’s Guide to the Path of Ascension by Joshua David Stone, Ph.D & Rev. Janna Shelley ParkerAuthor: Joshua David Stone, Ph.D & Rev. Janna Shelley Parker
Publisher: Light Technology Publishing (1998)
Number of Pages: 165
How long it took me to read: 5 weeks, 5 days
Where I bought this book: I know I didn’t buy it myself, so it must have been a gift. I don’t remember when or where I received it, but I do know that it was on my shelf in Cambridge, UK, so I suppose it’s been with me for a while. I also may have already started reading it once before, but perhaps this is the time to finish it.
ISBN: 9-781891-824029

Like a Moth to a Flame

The wriggling layer of dusty tentacles enveloping this bright blue book have brought to my attention the fact that perhaps books have a shelf life too.

Favorite Five

Whittling 20 down to 5…I propose that the top 5 quotes from this book are:

5. “…although the rays, astrological influences, inherited traits, past-life programming, upbringing, environment and planetary forces all influence each person, the strongest influence is personal power aligned with free choice.” (p.157)

4. “There is truly no greater accelerator on the path of ascension than a romantic relationship…Each moment offers ample opportunity to choose from which level of your being you will function. Will you act or react? Will you take the time to connect with your highest spiritual self before attempting communication…? Will you even remember to communicate at all, or will you fall into the trap that the majority of couples do – assume your mate to be a mindreader?” (pp.94-5)

3. “[A] soul, when it is advanced enough, can be working simultaneously on the inner mental realms during its hours of sleep and in the physical realms during waking hours to bring forth the next phase of a project into manifestation.” (p.11)

2. “…how we feel does not come from the outer world but from how we interpret the outer world.” (p.161)

…and my pick for the No.1 quote is…

1. “We are not trapped by our thoughts. What we generally do, however, is create thoughts that trap us.” (p.162)

New Words

Words are wondrous creatures. Put them together and they paint a picture. Rearrange them and the scene changes. But to be able to see what they are saying, we must first know what they mean.

New Word: variegated (adjective)

Definition (Source: WordBook iPhone App): having a variety of colors
Synonyms: many-colored, many-hued, polychromatic, kaleidoscopic
Origins (Source: Merriam-Webster.com): 1661
As in: “The variegated medium of the arts offers great opportunity to integrate, express and bring the process of ascension into practice and manifestation.” (p.96)

Conversation with the Reader

While I read, I write, and as I write, I read. Here’s some of what I wrote while I read this book:

“‘Book VII of the multi-volume series The Easy-to-Read Encyclopedia of the Spiritual Path.’ I’m reading encyclopedias now. Perhaps I’ll move on to dictionaries next.”

“I found a dried pine branch between the pages today. Perhaps I’ve been carrying this book with me since I was Canadian.”

“I’m humbled by anyone who chooses to live a life of service, and I’m not just referring to sanctified souls. It’s to the regular people that my thoughts flutter – the ones easiest to pass by on the street unnoticed or cut in front of in a line. I wonder what it’s like to be the kind of person who chooses not to react to hurt by shelling out more pain – the kind of person who realizes a life of humility and grace.

“I’ve recently faced a moment of pain in which I could clearly see that I had a choice. I could choose to react by giving what I got, or I could choose to act by turning the other cheek and being thankful for the experience. I’m learning that it’s not enough to decide in that first moment. The point is to manifest a constant process of consciously choosing service through compassion and gratitude. Knowing but a fraction of what it takes to make that choice, I am in awe of those who choose to live nobly in spite of their humanity.”

“I find the chapter titles extremely helpful in bringing the content into a blurry focus. The book reads a bit like an encyclopedia. Perhaps a glossary would also have been of use. The concepts are introduced in enough detail to facilitate a relatively smooth reading experience…sort of… Basically, I’m confused.”

“It’s often forgotten that ours is the foot on the gas pedal. We have the option to consciously decide how quickly we go through our experiences, how bumpy the ride really has to be. When our intention is to advance quickly and access ever greater heights of Self awareness, that is exactly what will happen, but what we so very often forget is that the way in which our prayers are answered is not always the way we expect.

“We also tend to forget that great accomplishment comes at great cost. If you feel overwhelmed, unsure if you can race through another day of the obstacle course of your reality, take a breath and remind yourself that yours is the foot on the pedal. Going too fast? Press gently on the brakes and welcome a more manageable pace of growth. To learn with grace is a testament to one’s divinity and opens doors to greater understanding through acceptance and compassion.”

“Reading this book, I often stumble over sentences that leave me soaking in puddles of letters. It’s normally with the help of my trusty galoshes – right foot: dictionary, left foot: thesaurus) that I can wade through these verbal sumps and come out relatively dry – but that option isn’t really available with this book. Most of the words are representations of very abstract concepts the mind isn’t built to process. I’ve come to accept that to connect with this book, I have to absorb it with every last thread of my being, and leave my galoshes at home.”

“What stand out most in this book are the anecdotes and personal stories Stone shares with his readers. Perhaps it’s a testament to the power of story-telling and its ability to tap, ever so gently, on the screen door of the reader’s imagination, promising the possibility of renewed perspective.”

“Books are much like people. There are times when you revel in their company, basking in the brilliance of each page, impatiently awaiting the start of the next chapter. At other times, the heft of their company is akin to waiting for a train in the rain, fighting for space on the platform as you gnaw at your itchy, woolen sweater and squirm in your soggy, stinky socks, wishing for the experience to finally end so that you can return to the delusional comforts of your happy place.

“Unless the book is absolutely phenomenal and resonates in perfect harmony with your tune, you’ll experience a bit of both. This particular book had a lot of rain in it, the ticket machines weren’t working and I didn’t manage to find a seat on the long journey home, but I can’t deny that I caught glimpses of some breathtaking scenery along the way.”

Note to reader: There is a very powerful meditation entitled, ‘Total-Body Alignment & Integration Meditation’ on page 163. Simply reading through it creates an extremely nurturing environment in support of deep awakening.

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