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He would present a topic, discuss it from many viewpoints, and then come to a practical conclusion. Ecclesiastes is unlike any other Old Testament book and has no parallel in other literature of the Biblical world.


It is a philosophical discourse, and yet it is more. Ecclesiastes makes no claim to bring man a word from God. Instead the writer specifically states that he includes only what he can determine by his own reason and limits himself to data that is available "under the sun. The doctrine of inspiration, however, assures us that this book conveys the message that God intended that we should receive, but it does not guarantee that all of Solomon's statements are accurate!

Ecclesiastes is different from any other book of the Bible. It does not dwell on the covenant, the election of Israel, redemption, prophecy, sacred history, or the temple. Its focus is on man the creature, his life on earth, and the inscrutability of God and His ways. Ecclesiastes goes beyond the other wisdom literature to emphasize the fact that human life and human goals, as ends in themselves and apart from God, are futile and meaningless.

Among other things, Solomon saw injustice to the poor, 4 crooked politics, 5 incompetent leaders, 6 guilty people allowed to commit more crimes, 7 materialism, 8 and a desire for "the good old days. Solomon has put the key to Ecclesiastes right at the front door:. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun? Just in case we missed it, he also put the same key at the back door. Whether he considers his wealth, his works, his wisdom, or his world, Solomon comes to a sad appraisal: all is "vanity and vexation of spirit. We will discover much more as we delve into the depth of the book.

In spite of his painful encounters with the world and its problems, Solomon does not recommend either pessimism or cynicism. Rather, he admonishes us to be realistic about life, accept God's gifts and enjoy them. Solomon does not say, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die! Life is short and life is difficult, so make the most of it while you can.

Solomon initially opens with three bleak observations: nothing is really changed, 14 nothing is really new, 15 and nothing is understood. But being a wise man, Solomon, in Chapters 3 to 10, reviewed his arguments and this time brought God into the picture. What a difference it made! For the spiritual experience, like many other aspects of life, chance favors the prepared mind. The earliest spiritual-religious practitioners were shamans. Among other activities, shamans practiced healing of spirit, mind, emotions, and body - including skin disorders.

Shamanic techniques still have relevance today to promote healing of some skin disorders resistant to conventional approaches. Many shamans in diverse cultures shift into ASC intentionally, often using auditory driving of drumming at a range of — beats per minute, most commonly at — beats per minute but varying from one culture and individual to another. Alternatively, shamanic auditory driving may be done using clicking sticks or rattles. In some cultures, hallucinogenic or otherwise mind-altering plant materials may be used to assist the shaman in attaining ASC. Dancing and fasting are other methods for attaining ASC.

The shaman enters the ASC with special training and experience for specific purposes, and in a specific cultural setting with expectations for specific content. This mode is termed by the authors as the shamanic state of consciousness and content SSCC , and corresponds with what Rock and Krippner call shamanic patterns of phenomenal properties. The shamanic state of consciousness and the content are two separate aspects that are combined in the SSCC.

Required contents for the SSCC include a visual mental image or its equivalent in another sensory system such as auditory or kinesthetic, the outward appearance of that image must be consistent with a shamanic cosmology, the image must be consistent with the purpose of the shamanic journey, and the function of the vision must be consistent with the vision. Typical shamanic spiritual treatment elements include suggestion and imagery, discovery of the cause, removal or release of the cause, followed by subconscious relearning.

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These treatments can be directed when needed toward healing skin conditions, as discussed further below. In traditional Eastern culture, the ASC may also be intentionally entered through concentrative meditation or mindfulness meditation and in traditional Western culture more commonly through hypnosis, 2 but without the specific shamanic content.

Hassidic Jews commonly use ASC during mystical chanting, dancing, prayer, and other rituals. Written language also, through its abstract symbolic nature, tends to shift toward male social dominance and linear active left brain processes, while images in their concrete symbolic nature tend to shift toward female social dominance and nonlinear healing right brain processes.

The ASC usually affords access to the subconscious and to the superconscious. Quieting the ordinary state of consciousness and shifting to ASC permits listening to the subconscious, which is otherwise usually drowned out by the chatter of the ordinary conscious state.

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Being in the ASC also allows intentional changes in autonomic regulation, immune regulation, and other aspects that are not under the usual conscious control of the ordinary state of consciousness. The right temporal lobe of the brain has been implicated in spiritual experiences that may occur in ASC or associated with right temporal lobe epilepsy. The ASC corresponds to what we know as nonordinary reality.

Other terms for nonordinary reality in other cultures include the unconscious mind, transpersonal fields, the life force, the collective unconscious, the chakras, the Tao, and the spirit world. Because spiritual experiences are in ASC and nonordinary reality, the spiritual experiences often become difficult to express or to remember accurately in the ordinary state of consciousness and ordinary reality. Some shamans and mystics develop the ability to transition rapidly back and forth between nonordinary reality and ordinary reality by shifting between trance and ordinary alert states.

Other shamans and mystics develop the ability to remain in a very light trance or SSCC for prolonged periods where they can perceive nonordinary reality and ordinary reality simultaneously. Trance induction was indicated on a 3,year-old stele in Egypt, in sleep temples in ancient Greece, and in the Bible at Genesis , 1 Samuel , Job and , and Acts Spiritual experiences may also occur during dreaming in rapid eye movement sleep.

Again there may be difficulty remembering the spiritual experiences accurately upon awakening, so some use journaling at intervals during the night or immediately upon awakening to preserve the dream contents. Some shamans, such as those in Australia, use the dream time more than ASC as their preferred mode of spiritual connection.

Spiritual dream experiences are recorded repeatedly in the Bible 26 in Genesis , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and , Numbers , Judges and , 1 Kings , Job and , Psalms and , Ecclesiastes , Isaiah , Jeremiah , Daniel , , , , , , 2;9, , , , , , , , , , , , and , Joel , Matthew , , ,, and , and Acts Religion also has many definitions.


Organized religion is a group of believers who accept a common set of beliefs, practices, and rituals derived from sacred stories and myths. There is broad acceptance based on moments of heightened consciousness or ASC of historical and mythological figures regarding spiritual issues that concern existence and meaning. Religion has also been facetiously defined as being the politics of spirituality attributed to Bill Olson.

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  4. Often a religion is based on the spiritual experiences of the mythical or real leader or leaders who formed the religion. A person can have spiritual experiences and not be religious, or a person can be religious but unaware of or uninterested in spiritual experiences.

    In kabbalistic terms, spirituality can be associated with the loving kindness of the sephira of Chesed, being open and spontaneous, freeing, warm, fruitful, and full of light, while religion can be associated with the strength, discipline, boundaries, and restrictiveness of the sephira of Gevurah, being ritualistic, legalistic, limiting, and sometimes concerned with domination.

    Kabbalistic healing rituals have been developed, including rituals for healing skin disorders, such as visualizing the sefirotic flow of energy for healing skin disorders. With respect to religious historical development and religious healing, shamans preceded other forms of religious practitioners. Considerable insight into religious development can be obtained through familiarity with shamanism. Garb presents the Hassidic Tzadik as a shamanistic practitioner. The shaman is generally found in hunter-gatherer societies without agriculture and uses SSCC for healing and divination. Each shaman usually has several helping spirits the shaman encounters and with whom the shaman develops relationships with when in SSCC.

    Tales of shamans journeying or witches flying reflect their use of ASC. The priest employs sociopolitical and religious power over believers and engages in magicoreligious agricultural rites and propitiation of gods for socioeconomic protection, largely through sacrifices of one type or another. Priests generally do not use ASC and may not have had direct experiences with spirits.

    Ecclesiastes (Blackwell Bible Commentaries)

    The placebo effect is one factor in achieving a healing. The typical healing sequence within the specific framework of the particular cultural and religious beliefs is first disruption of habitual frames of reference, then reframing the situation as a transformative process in pursuit of revitalization and healing. The skin is the largest organ of the body and provides separation and protection, touch and contact, expression and representation, maternal-infant bonding with breast feeding stimulating release of oxytocin in the brain, intimate sexual contact and frictional stimulation with release of oxytocin in the brain at climax, excretion through sweat, and temperature regulation through dilation or constriction of surface blood vessels and through evaporation from sweating.

    The skin projects to self and others both physical health or illness and emotional reactions and responses. Skin, hair, and nails at times may reflect inner issues of the body, emotions, psychological states, and spiritual being and meaning. The nervous system and the skin remain intimately connected throughout life. The more spiritually developed the person becomes, the more aware he or she is of what drives his or her life choices, and whether the ego or the soul is directing.

    On the physical sensation level, this occurs as molecular, biochemical, and electrical interactions between skin cells and nerve cells. On the emotional feeling level, skin blushing or pallor and warmth or coldness reflect some emotional states. On the cognitive thought level, the appearance of our skin, hair, and nails influences our thoughts and vice versa. Anzieu 33 speaks of the skin ego, a psychological semipermeable membrane that separates self from other but permits interchange. On the social level, the appearance of our skin, hair, and nails influences social interactions as well as internal psychical self interactions. There are numerous metaphors relating to skin. These boundary metaphors sometimes include spiritual overtones.

    All of these aspects and thoughts related to skin add to the spiritual core concept of self and others. The skin is also associated with subtle energies, electrical charges, auras, energy meridians and points, and other features often less detected and described in Western culture. Acupuncture meridians have been most elaborately described in traditional Chinese medicine, but have been noted in other cultures also. The type and extent of clothing can have spiritual as well as social and religious aspects.

    Clothing covers the skin and can vary from none such as in certain tribal cultures or nudist camps to complete coverage of all skin, such as a burqa. Varying degrees of individual expression are acceptable amongst different cultures. Clothing represents nonverbal communication and social identity.