The Way of Selflessness


The Way of Selflessness is just out, and I can highly recommend it.

Written by Joel Morwood, the spiritual director of the Center for Sacred Sciences in Oregon, it is the product of 20 years of working with students and studying the mystical core of the different traditions, all from within a clear and genuine awakening. It is practical, span the traditions, and gives pointers for what you may encounter at different points on the path.

If you take the main practices and teachings of mystics from the main traditions and boil it down, as you would if you boil an ox down to a bullion cube, you will get something like this.

For all its strengths, it may have a few drawbacks as well.

All the information may be a little overwhelming. It is written in simple and straight forward language, but definitely not meant to be consumed in one sitting, and each of the practices require weeks, months and often years of practice, engagement and exploration.

Also, this bird’s eye view is exactly that, a bird’s eye view. It is a little distanced. Maybe a little dry. If it reads a bit like a car manual, it is because it that too, a practical how-to manual.

So it is good that we have other sources that complement this particular approach. Here are two of my current favorites:

Wake Up Now by Stephan Bodian is equally and wonderfully distilled and reflect decades of experience, and is much simpler in terms of digesting and practicing.

And The End of Your World by Adyashanti shows how this path may look from the ground, how it plays itself out through a human life with all its grittiness and juice.

This is from the CSS website:

The Way of Selflessness is a very fine introduction to, and overview of, the spiritual path. It is clear and accessible for newcomers, but even more impressive is the way that Morwood shows the relationships among different traditions and practices. It also sparkles with little-known quotations from the great masters.
– David Loy, author of Money, Sex, War, Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution

It must have been providence that directed Joel Morwood to dig in the right place, for he struck a lode of pure gold, as wide (comprehensive) as it is deep (profound). What he mined from that lode is a spiritual treasure.
– Huston Smith, author of
The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions

A product of twenty years of experience guiding students on the spiritual path, this book is an instruction manual for anyone who wishes to walk a mystical path and discover directly whether or not what the mystics say is true. Here you will find the universal teachings and essential practices of the mystics from all the world’s major religious traditions, distilled and presented in generic terms suitable for all seekers, both those who belong to an established religion and those who do not.

Joel Morwood is the Spiritual Director of the Center for Sacred Sciences, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and dissemination of the teachings of the world’s great mystics. Joel is also the author of Naked Through the Gate: A Spiritual Autobiography and Through Death’s Gate: A Guide to Selfless Dying.

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