Waking Up Wisdom

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So imagine my surprise when I got a book of mysticism—the author has spent time in a Buddhist monastery and has studied Paleolithic art, the Black Madonna, the role of Mary in Christianity, among other esoteric subjects. He recounts his own history, starting with middle-of-the-night walks as a boy to seeking darkened environments as an adult and the spiritual experiences that he has had as a result of this. His main thesis seems to be that we have let electricity lights, televisions, computers, smartphones, etc.

Living in the middle of a city of over a million people, I have sympathy for this outlook. I do whatever I can to reduce my time at staring at screens outside work hours. I was somewhat surprised that the author seemed so unaware of the concept of Gaia, the female personification of the Earth and all of the goddess traditions. He was startled when the darkness in female form spoke to him.


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But as he admits, even the Buddhist tradition is very male-centred, tracing back through male teachers to Buddha. I also found him rather fatalistic—implying that humanity will have to be wiped out by Our Lady of Climate Change before balance can be restored. Interesting, thought provoking, well-meaning. View all 6 comments. Aug 16, Hundeschlitten rated it really liked it. The first part of this thin book was a revelation for me, so I am giving this four stars despite a second half that I would give more like two stars. First for the good stuff: Strand comes up with a compelling argument that we would all be a lot better off if we just turned off our lights and followed the natural rhythms of the planet, like our ancestors did.

He argues that we would then all wake up around 1AM and wander in the dark for a couple of hours like he does, filling our minds with half- The first part of this thin book was a revelation for me, so I am giving this four stars despite a second half that I would give more like two stars. He argues that we would then all wake up around 1AM and wander in the dark for a couple of hours like he does, filling our minds with half-conscious revelations that would augment our rational, goal-driven, daylight selves. As an inveterate night owl, I appreciate this argument, and I have been looking for a way to unplug from the manic impulses of our media-driven culture.

Then Strand digresses into his personal late-night encounters with the "Black Madonna," a feminine spirit of the night. I was O. I even willingly suffered his paranoid fantasies about the imminent end of mankind. But seven billion people are going to die out because of global warming? Get serious, man. Sure, it seems every generation has had its paranoid fantasy about how mankind is about to destroy itself. When I was young, it was nuclear war.

But that's a legitimate fear, as we could kill off most of the planet pretty easily that way.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Or what about a global pandemic that is resistant to antibiotics or other medicine? Or even how human creativity is being increasingly marginalized by a sophisticated series of computer algorithms? But a gradual warming of the planet because we've belched a bunch of carbon into the atmosphere? Sorry, that's pretty weak broth for an Armageddon. That being said, thanks to Strand, I plan on turning my lights off early tonight to get a full night's sleep, and maybe even wake up during "the hour of the wolf.

Jul 10, Joseph DiFrancesco rated it really liked it. I don't think Strand is trying to start a movement, or solicit followers of any kind. It appears he just wishes to share his unique insights into mankind's long journey with those willing to stop and listen. The author has spent his entire life contemplating our tiny inclusion into deep time.

This tiny book, when compared to the endless library of tomes on life and wisdom that have come before and after it, is akin to man's minuscule existence I don't think Strand is trying to start a movement, or solicit followers of any kind. This tiny book, when compared to the endless library of tomes on life and wisdom that have come before and after it, is akin to man's minuscule existence when juxtaposed with the vast and timeless universe. It gave me pause many times. Still does. It comes at a time when many of us, whether we admit it or not, are questioning our path, our sustainability, our final act.

Though the book takes a hard left turn at one point, for me anyway, it's still something most folks should read - then talk about. But tonight, I think I'll just take a walk beneath the stars. May 22, Gela rated it it was ok Shelves: first-reads-goodreads-wins. I would honestly rate this book as 2.

I wouldn't have mind it as much but when I see things like, we can't sleep-sex is meant for the night time only, really am I bad or sleepless just because I don't save sex just for the night time. And then there is the don't fear dark, turn lights off. I can't say that this book help with insomnia but rather tells me little things I already know. Pu I would honestly rate this book as 2. Put the tablet and phone away when you're in bed.

Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age

I know this but I'm addicted to them. My own fault that's why I'm sleepy at work. But the fact that personal religious views are thrown in like they are sound facts is what turns me off the most about this book. I love God, I love Jesus but don't try to force your own personal beliefs on me. Dec 01, Joy rated it it was amazing Shelves: serious. This a difficult book to summarise. It's part scientific study of sleep, part spiritual journey, promoting no specific religion and a warning and plea to save the planet. I agreed with a great deal of the author's position that we should turn off the lights, a simple solution to our huge energy drain on the earth.

That the cities glow can be seen from space is a silly waste. Turning off commercial signage, cosmetic lighting and empty office lights is what was done during the s energy crisis, This a difficult book to summarise. Turning off commercial signage, cosmetic lighting and empty office lights is what was done during the s energy crisis, but we've forgotten the lesson All this constant light from even the little things around home interiors makes us all sleep deprived, interrupts the natural light cycles of nature and; as postulated by the author, prevents a deeper spiritual peace that only comes from resting our minds in the dark There is a part of the book devoted to the Dark Goddess elements forgotten by organized religion.

The Black Madonna and Kali are but a few covered. I do take issue with the idea of 2am meditative walks. Unlike the author who is privileged to live in a rural environment, mine is a cookie cutter suburb. No way can I see the stars or find a peaceful walk at the "Hour of God" the author practices Still I took a great deal of food-for-thought from this book. It did point a way toward a positive use for that "middle of the night wakefulness" we often experience. I've also put electrical tape over that annoying led light on the cable box. Jun 14, Polina rated it really liked it Shelves: kindle.

I agree with the other reviewer that the ideas of this book are much more potent and urgently needed than the actual writing and presentation: do not use artificial lighting, go to bed after sunset if not to sleep than to rest, reflect, connect with loved ones and the unseen. I have followed the steps prescribed and so far my life feels rich and magical beyond belief, even though it came at the cost of socialising since it gets dark at 6pm over here.

Still the pull of the dark, the nourishing re I agree with the other reviewer that the ideas of this book are much more potent and urgently needed than the actual writing and presentation: do not use artificial lighting, go to bed after sunset if not to sleep than to rest, reflect, connect with loved ones and the unseen. Still the pull of the dark, the nourishing resting state and velvety feel of the night are so profound to me now at they are worth giving up the noise and social interactions of the world. I do wonder if this will be a permanent change or if like with many other practices I will fall of the wagon eventually.

But just like my diet change of 2. The writing of the book itself I found a little too meandering and the poetic prose had a distracting rather than involving effect on me. Religion references felt a little rambling and final gospel completely unreadable.

The wake-up experience

I would prefer to read this is a more non fiction work but I am happy for it to have emerged either way and happy to have come across these ideas and truths to now live my life accordingly. May 22, Raegan Ralls rated it did not like it Shelves: first-reads-won-from-giveaway , read-in He uses a lot of long words making it hard to understand what he was saying. I would read a paragraph and have to sit there for five minutes trying to decide what he was trying to say. It is like trying to put together a thousand piece puzzle knowing half the pieces are missing.

It isn't going to work well. The author rambles a lot quickly making it boring. The gist of the book is he thinks people would be wiser without lights. Bunch of rubbish. All I have to say to tie up my review is the book makes you think outside of the box. But some things are better left in the past. I did not like it due to my own beliefs. Not recommended. Mar 28, Antonietta Due rated it it was amazing.

It's a symbiotic blend of the sacred ritual and earth worship that can occur in darkness.

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This book reads as somewhat of a poetic memoir to me. The path Clark has travelled is accessible to any spiritual being who believes in the friendships we can have with ourselves and with the teachers of all times and religions. If you have any interest in Buddhism, The Bible, the environment, incarnations of Our Lady or any nourishment via the soul- you'll find comfort in this book and may even find yourself craving the sacredness of the dark. Jun 07, Brian rated it it was ok.

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I have a tough time with spiritual woo woo books that unhinge themselves into a hasty collage of pet theories and overconfident assertions presented as fact. I do think there are some pearls of insight here for instance, the idea that we're more afraid of aloneness than of the dark itself , but this slim book doesn't amount to much. I'd look elsewhere for a better illumination--ha!

Jan 03, Tina Hoggatt rated it liked it. I enjoyed this read with its information on sleep science and the natural human circadian rhythms that have been permanently disrupted by artificial light, the author's lifelong nocturnal walkabouts and meditations, and the embodiment of the dark that presented itself to him in numinous female form. I did wonder, as he described his extended period of religious ecstasy, where his wife and daughter were in his life at that time, whether he talked to them about his experience, and if he extended h I enjoyed this read with its information on sleep science and the natural human circadian rhythms that have been permanently disrupted by artificial light, the author's lifelong nocturnal walkabouts and meditations, and the embodiment of the dark that presented itself to him in numinous female form.

I did wonder, as he described his extended period of religious ecstasy, where his wife and daughter were in his life at that time, whether he talked to them about his experience, and if he extended his celebration of the feminine force to his everyday and household interactions with the human females in his life. Jun 18, Bookworm rated it it was ok. Meandering philosophical book In another case of "this is not what I thought it would be," I found this book to be extremely boring.

It presumably addresses why we sometimes can't go back to sleep and whether we crave the light, the noise, the bustle of daylight hours because we are so uncomfortable with the quiet and the silence. Instead it's a book that sort of wanders around: I knew it wasn't going to be for me when he started talking about religious practices in the beginning of the book. Wh Meandering philosophical book In another case of "this is not what I thought it would be," I found this book to be extremely boring.

I was hoping more for about why we are so used to the noise, and why we are so uncomfortable with it. It was of particular interest to me because I lived with a roommate in college who flipped her schedule around after bad breakup. She'd stay awake all night, and sleep during the day, only getting up when she HAD to go to class.

She wasn't a night owl and it stopped when it made her sick. But she described how she felt "safer" sleeping during the day when people were out and about and she knew myself and our other roommate at the time were going to class, being in the room, etc.

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And that she just couldn't I think wouldn't sleep at night because she could handle the quiet and the thoughts that permeated her brain then. I had a hard time understanding what compelled her to stay up all night, almost every night for nearly a semester and why she wasn't terrified being awake at night.

And while I certainly couldn't expect the author to address anything remotely like this, I found his ruminations to be rather disjointed and often pretty self-centered. He tries to connect his daughter insisting on seeing an exhibit on "Lucy," an ancestor of man and how the dead are dead, but they still reside as a history within us and in the earth. Or he relates a bunch of experiences he had in the dark, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to make this reader care or connect what we were supposed to get out of it.

Other people may get more out of it, but this was most certainly a disappointment for me. May 02, Rena Graham rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction.

Wisdom Teeth Wake Up

I liked the premise of the book more than the writing itself. How the advent of the electric light has shaped our relationship to the dark and to our patterns of sleep was fascinating. I also loved his theory of how it's made us have less of a relationship with our own interiority or spiritual lives. Very original ideas. When we're children, play is all we do. Even when we're in the midst of sincere pursuits as serious or sincere as a pursuit can be for a child such as playing sports we still do so in the spirit of play.

This leads us to forget about play and become immersed in "serious" pursuits that require more "work" and less "play time". At least, that's what we think. However, this void is just that- it's an illusion- and so nothing we do will fill it up. Before you jump on me and write me off as wrong, consider it for a moment. Consider the fact that Eastern wisdom traditions have no such conversation about a search for meaning and purpose. This is due to what I already mentioned- it's just another shade of the illusory void that exists within us, most notably perpetuated by the ego, which we in the West suffer from most significantly although no culture escapes it completely.

If you grew up in the West, you may have a hard time dealing with an idea such as this, I know I would have years ago. But if you let go of this and allow yourself to live without the need to fulfill some greater sense of meaning then the world opens up and this feeling of voidness, ironically, begins to disappear and the complimentary feeling of fulfillment and wholeness takes its place. This, perhaps, more than anything, is the purpose of spiritual practice.

You don't need a sense of meaning or purpose to be fulfilled, happy, and at peace. True freedom isn't bound by anything, including the necessity to fulfill this illusory sense of meaning or purpose. To embrace play is to embrace this truth in action and to embody it. To embrace the spirit or perspective of life as sincere play as opposed to serious work is in itself to let go and live without attachment.

To act more spontaneously, more honestly, in each moment and to allow ourselves to adventure from time to time- even if it's nowhere but within our mind- is to live a little more freely from the conditioning which binds us and causes us to suffer in various ways. At the heart of this is spirit, or shift in perspective, of play is both the simple shift in heightened mindful awareness that occurs when we change pattern and act more spontaneously, more openly and playfully, becoming a little less detached to the conditioning that directs us and experiencing a little bit of freedom Compassion can be a guiding force here.

Both the words "work" and "play" notate some form of action, therefore, it's really just that they're different types of action. Or, more clearly, action which can be taken from two opposite perspectives. That brings me to my point did you see this coming? However, as you may have realized by now, I'm not merely telling you we should all start leaving work early to go to an amusement park not that it's a bad idea!

I'm saying we need to change the perspective with which we act from in each moment. The perspective we take in our life as a whole. It's this perspective, this understanding, which is the key, not any specific change to your daily actions although there will be a change, however subtle. However, understanding what this may look like in everyday life is difficult without clear examples.

Unfortunately, explaining this is also very difficult. But, lucky for us, we have an incredible living example of this in one of my favorite actors of all time: Bill Murray. To find an example of what it might look like to live with this spirit of sincere play, you don't have to look very far. Few people exemplify living with this spirit of play as actor Bill Murray does. For years, I've admired the work and life of Murray without much knowledge as to why.

Like most people, by the time I was an adult I had seen a number of his films such as Groundhog Day and Grinched, but it wasn't until Lost in Translation that I became a big fan and continued to be through his proceeding films. Map and Directions View Map. Save This Event Log in or sign up for Eventbrite to save events you're interested in. Sign Up. Already have an account? Log in. Event Saved. Your message has been sent! Your email will only be seen by the event organizer.

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