Announcement: Books That Blew My Mind

So, I’ve read a few books over the years. Some of them have impacted me very deeply and changed the way I thought and looked at the world. Many of those have really stuck with me and I still like to share them when people ask me for recommendations, but I don’t always get the chance to explain why I point to those books in particular and not many other fine choices on the same topics. I’d like to use my blog as a way to do just that.

I’ll be doing a periodic and on-going series here on the “books that blew my mind”; they will be reviews but, more than that, they will also be articles explaining why those books were (or are) so important to me, where I was in life when they had their impact on me, and so forth. So, beyond just being reviews, they’ll be a bit of an under-construction memoir.

Finally, I’d like to welcome everybody to let me know (in comments, e-mails, private FB messages, or whatever) about the books which have had a similar impact upon you, because I’d love to check them out.

“Is Hinduism Rational?” on People of Shambhala

The first part of a two-part article of mine is now appearing on People of Shambhala. You may find it here: http://peopleofshambhala.com/is-hinduism-rational-part-i/

Please read and let me know what you think! Part 2 should be up next weekend.

Joining the Hindu Community: My Saiva Name

You all may have noticed a name change on my profile: Purnacandra Sivarupa. This is my chosen Saiva name. I’m not going to force everybody to switch to using it all at once (at least not the folks I know in person!), but I’d appreciate it if my friends at least started to accustom themselves to it. I’ll be happy to let anybody know exact pronunciation when convenient. And, yes, I will be making this legal. I’m going to give it a bit of a “feeling-out”, to make sure that it seems to fit where I’m at. If, as with English names, “Purnacandra” is a bit long for common address, and you feel the need to shorten it, “Candra” is my preferred “nickname”, as that is the deity name at the heart of it. (“C” in Sanskrit is pronounced like “ch” in English.)

“Purnachandra” means “Full Moon”; “Sivarupa” means “form of Siva”. The name took a lot of time for me to decide upon, after much research, prayer, and meditation, and is very meaningful to me in this current place along my spiritual journey. Thanks, everybody, for being patient with the process. Aum Santih Santih Santih

Thanks!

Thanks to everybody who follows this blog, who reads it regularly, and to those who just stop by for a moment.

It seems that my poem post was quite a success; I’ve gotten a lot of response to it already. I suppose that’s a sign that I should probably just combine my poetry blog with this one and keep everything neat and tidy.

Again, thanks everybody for your support. We’re all in this together.

An Open Letter to People

Dear Everybody,

For a lot of people I know, today’s shootings in a Connecticut elementary school are, cumulatively, one more reason not to trust humanity or see the good in people. Believe me, I understand. Just last night, a friend and I were watching a documentary on Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, and it was not easy to stay calm about an event nearly twenty years past. And if one follows the news, there are numerous stories which can make us sad, angry, and confused. How do people do these things? How does society — that is to say, us — allow them to happen?

I will not, however, allow my faith to be shaken. We cannot forget the countless acts of good and compassionate people, large and small of scale, going on all the time. We cannot allow our hearts to harden at the sight of blood, but instead let our hearts be softened by the hurt of others.

Of course, for the moment, maybe it is enough to remember those who have lost from this event, and remember those in our lives whom we love. But when you go back out into the world tomorrow, or after your weekend of holding your loved ones tightly, do so with all of the caring you can. Violence is not fought by violence, but increased by it; violence is only defeated by peace and trust in what is good in us. So, I’ll see you out there. Say hello. We’re all in this together.

Aum Peace Peace Peace