I got this book back in 2002 when author Audi Gozlan came to talk at my synagogue in Miami Beach. At the time I found his lecture, focusing on Abraham...moreI got this book back in 2002 when author Audi Gozlan came to talk at my synagogue in Miami Beach. At the time I found his lecture, focusing on Abraham as the father of meditation in both east and west, interesting, so I purchased the book. It took me 10 years to get to it, but the timing was just perfect.
Gifts of Abraham presents a look at meditation across the world religious landscape and shows how it all ties back to Abraham with the use of Biblical commentary, Talmudic discussion, midrashim (legends) and the tools of Torah exegesis. His presentation is clear and concise, well-documented via endnotes showing his sources (both Judaic and otherwise), and thought-provoking for anyone willing to consider a far grander picture of world history. Though the book is geared toward Jews and Judaism, I believe it should prove an interesting read for anyone who appreciates theology, world history and philosophy, not to mention meditation and meditative practices.
Gozlan presents a new understanding of Abraham as the progenitor of meditation, and then launches into the tale of the spread of this knowledge across the world. Genesis 25:6 says that Abraham gave gifts to his six sons by his second wife, Keturah, and sent them to the east. Gozlan presents the story of how those sons took Abraham's gifts--gifts of wisdom, awareness of a greater power, and meditation--and eventually built the nations and philosophies/religions that we know of in the east. Each Eastern religion/philosophy is explained in lay terms, presenting its core tenets, as well as how these are similar/differ from Judaism, all in a very respectful manner, something I greatly appreciated.
The second half of the book presents a complete system of Jewish Meditation that takes the ideas and practices of meditative exercises and focuses them into a practical guide for a Jewish audience, from environments, postures and breathing, to meditative exercises and mantras that fall perfectly in synch with Torah observance.
I loved this book, both for the theory and for the practical application. If I have any criticism of the book is that I find the subtitle, The Untold Story of Brahman, a bit misleading since this particular topic is only addressed in the section on Hinduism and the book really is about so much more (though, that said, I would still read the book that is the connection between Abraham and Brahman in a heartbeat!).
Sadly this title is out of print, though it can still be purchased online via used book stores. I'd love for the publisher to bring it back, or at least to offer an ebook version. For Jews looking to integrate meditation and meditative exercises into their lives, I cannot think of a better book than this.(less)
A surprising blend of fantasy and noir, Hard Times In Dragon City is an excellent start to the Shotguns & Sorcery series. Max Gibson is an great c...moreA surprising blend of fantasy and noir, Hard Times In Dragon City is an excellent start to the Shotguns & Sorcery series. Max Gibson is an great character and guide to the socially and literally stratified streets of Dragon City, taking us down the dingy alleyways of Goblintown, the zombie-infested wilderness surrounding the city, the pristine boulevards of the Elven Quarter, and beyond. Along the way we meet a cast of characters firmly inhabiting the gray area of the moral spectrum that make life "interesting" for Max and give us glimpses into the larger story and world. Grab your fedora, pack your enchanted gun and wand, and dive into the streets of Dragon City.(less)