As Far As The Heart Can See: Stories to Illuminate the Soul

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9781442344891: As Far As The Heart Can See: Stories to Illuminate the Soul

The latest spiritual awareness guide from Mark Nepo, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Awakening.

New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Awakening Mark Nepo offers a storyguide book for those who seek a deeper experience of life.

Stories carry the seeds of our humanity. They help us, teach us, heal us, and connect us to what matters. By stimulating change through reflection of thoughts and feelings by means of stories, poet and philosopher Mark Nepo offers listeners an invitation to be in relationship with deep and life-giving material. This collection of forty-five stories, questions for discussion, and jounaling prompts brings a fresh and new perspective to the field of spirituality. Drawn from Nepo’s personal history, dreams, and the myths of our ancestors, each one is an invitation to awaken an aspect of living in relationship with the sacred.

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About the Author:

Mark Nepo is the author of nineteen books, including Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, The Endless Practice, and the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Book of Awakening. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Mark traveled the country with Oprah Winfrey on her sold-out 2014 “The Life You Want” tour and has appeared several times with Oprah on her Super Soul Sunday program (OWN TV). He lives in southwest Michigan. Visit him online at MarkNepo.com and ThreeIntentions.com.

Mark Nepo is the author of nineteen books, including Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, The Endless Practice, and the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Book of Awakening. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Mark traveled the country with Oprah Winfrey on her sold-out 2014 “The Life You Want” tour and has appeared several times with Oprah on her Super Soul Sunday program (OWN TV). He lives in southwest Michigan. Visit him online at MarkNepo.com and ThreeIntentions.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Tea Master and the Warrior

Rikiu was watching the cherry blossoms scatter on his path when he heard Taiko unstrapping his sword at the gate, and Rikiu wished the blossoms would cover his friend's sword while they tarried inside.

Without his sword Taiko looked like a huge child allowed to cry too long. Rikiu met him at the portico and even Taiko felt foolish, looking so stern, his bare feet stepping on blossoms.

As they walked the length of his garden, Rikiu wondered why they continued to meet, but knew that bugs suck at the heart of flowers and flowers love it so. The lanterns swayed, and Taiko unbuckled his suspicions on the path, and Rikiu watched them sink beneath the stones.

At the small door of Rikiu's tea room, there was a scent whose first blush could unravel selfish thoughts; a sweet bark-like scent, which could strip one steeped in calculation to a cricket hungry for a song.

Taiko knelt to shimmy through. Rikiu followed.

Inside, the walls appeared translucent and the wind through the trees shadowed them both and Taiko knew briefly that nothing was secret. The kettle began to sing, and the steam enveloped Taiko and softened his heart, and Rikiu, as he knew he would, recognized the friend he loved. In the steam, Taiko wondered yet again why he had to feel this good, if it couldn't last.

The kettle sang first like a woman dreaming of a thousand birds, then like a man swallowing his troubles, and finally like the screech of a soul fed up with earthly things. It was this final boil that Taiko longed for as Rikiu worked the leaves in the fire till they gave up their tiny stubbornness.

By the time the bowl was filled, Taiko was awash in the mood of Rikiu. Their eyes were brothered now. The steam and incense made them both deliberate as fish along the bottom. As they drank, it seemed impossible but their thoughts were close to pink.

And with Taiko's face aglow, Rikiu, his insides warming, fell to his old desire, and said for the hundredth time, 'You must give it up and stay with me.'

And Taiko, for the hundredth time, showed nothing. He waited, so as not to offend his strange brother, but finally, he placed the bowl to his left as he would the skull of an impotent god and bowed supremely.

As he left the steam, Taiko's heart began to harden, and, once he shimmied out the tea room, the cricket went unheard. As he passed the lanterns swaying for him to stay, he buckled up his cold suspicions. And Rikiu, still warm inside, tried not to be sad as Taiko at the portico swept the blossoms from his sword and strapped it to him like another leg.

 

JOURNAL QUESTIONS

• Consider the meeting between Rikiu and Taiko as a conversation between aspects of a single self. If the tea master, then, is our inner self that finds meaning in being alive and the warrior is our outer self that finds meaning in staying alive, describe your tea master and your warrior, and imagine the ongoing conversation they are having within you now.

TABLE QUESTIONS

To be asked over dinner or coffee with friends and loved ones. Try listening to everyone's response before discussing:

• Describe which voice is stronger in you right now, your tea master or your warrior.

• Tell the story of a defining experience that is foundational to the tea master in you.

• Tell the story of a defining experience that is foundational to the warrior in you.

• Describe your tea room and describe your sword.

A MEDITATION

• Boil some water for tea and listen carefully as the water sings its different voices. Note which voice of the tea you are most drawn to.

• As the tea steeps and cools enough to drink:

• Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let the tea master in you drink. Note what that feels like.

• Close your eyes, take another deep breath, and let the warrior in you drink. Note what that feels like.

• As you move through your day, let your tea master and warrior talk to each other. Note where that conversation lives in you.

2011. MARK NEPO. All rights reserved. Reprinted from As Far As the Heart Can See. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

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