Author/writer | Publisher | Filmmaker | Energy Medicine Practitioner | Good Listener | Constant Learner |Mother to many |
I chose books that Influenced what I believed in and how I put that to use in my life and career. They are not necessarily the best and most important books but the ones I made the most use of. Some were by my personal mentors. My father was a brilliant man, an intellectual who had a large library of books, he taught the Plato Society at University. So, as a teenager, I would go through his library and pick out books by Jean Paul Sartre, C.G. Jung, Aldous Huxley, and read stuff I didn’t understand but did download. And for many years I have attended a twice-weekly a book club with the most intriguing people: artists, alchemists, psychologists, poets, and we are reading books like The Hermetica, Asclepius, Pistus Sophia, All of the The Red Book by Jung, Emerson, books on the secrets of Egyptian pyramids—again, not what I’d know to choose but going outside my limitations to listen and learn.
When I was travelling with Dr. Richard Bartlett (founder of Matrix Energetics), I was diving into book terrain I did not completely comprehend; mostly books on physics and outlier experiments in quantum physics. Somehow, for me, all of these challenging substantive books could be turned into great conversations about humanity and consciousness and become a practice for understanding who we are and how we choose to live in this world. I also especially like biographies, to be steeped into someone else’s entire life experience from beginning to end. I turned a few personal stories of women into screenplays: Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President in 1874, and Viva, an Andy Warhol freedom-loving quirky character actress in the 1970’s. I enjoy books on Buddhism, spirituality, religions, travel, and especially Astrology as I studied for many years with Zalton Mason, a master teacher, in New York and became a full-fledged Astrologer for a while.
KAREN SPERLING is an author and filmmaker who has written published novels and numerous screenplays. While living and working in New York City, she was the first woman to write, produce and direct feature length films that were shown and received awards at the Atlanta, Cannes, Venice, and London Film Festivals. Her second feature film was the first to hire an entirely female crew. She has adapted and written original screenplays for feature films, as well as an original musical about the life and times of a spiritualist who ran for President of the United States and fought for equal rights at the turn of the Century.
Karen co-wrote two educational novels about the medical profession, published by Doubleday, and as a Cancer Patient Advocate, she lectured extensively on doctor-patient relationships, encouraging better ways for doctors to communicate with patients in crisis.
She was the designer and coordinator of “The Story Project” for RKO Pictures, a literacy program, mentoring storytelling and writing for inner city youth at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and a board member of New Visions Foundation, New Roads Schools for diversity in Los Angeles Schools.
Due to an ongoing interest in metaphysics and psychology, with a deep love for children and their individual creative process, Karen conceived “Invitational Books,” a collection of tales of enchantment that take young readers on adventures through the magical world of dreams and transformation, to encourage children to use their own images and words by helping to illustrate these delightful books and write their own stories.has written.
Born in Los Angeles, Karen graduated Brandeis University in Child Psychology and is currently living in Los Angeles. She is a mother to some and grandmother of many, a member of an interfaith community that serves the homeless and families with AIDS, and a musician in a Street Jam Band. To help those with physical and emotional concerns, she was trained and certified in the healing art of Bioenergy and energy medicine, a holistic healing process to assist clients in self-healing. https://www.invitationalbooks.com
My 10 Best
The Politics of Experience
R.D. Laing, to me, was the Freud of my era. He believed that Dreams, Fantasy and Reality were all equal and that you could not know a person until all three elements of life were shared. He also felt that to treat a person you had to go to where they were psychologically in order to bring them back to a more communicable reality rather than trying to make them see what was “Normal.” I made use of this way of understanding a person by being the first woman to write, produce, and direct two feature films that showed a character’s threefold world of dreams, fantasy, and reality to the point where you could not tell which was which. These films were made in the early 1970’s and were called psychological suspense films, like the French or Italian filmmakers were experimenting with.
Laing gave me the inspiration to expose deeper layers of a character, to show their weird, mad, fantastical, fearful, inner selves, as well as their everyday life so that the audience could accept a fuller, more intriguing individual rather than following a storyline. It was called an experiential film. The opening line of my first film, “Make A Face” was, “Dreams are more real than reality. In the day, it’s quiet.” And for my entire life I have been a lucid dreamer and live a full parallel life at night.
Journeys Out of the Body
by Robert Monroe
I was always interested in altered states of consciousness. At the end of the 1960s, I joined Karlis Osis at The American Society for Psychical Research in New York and did all manner of testing for telepathy and remote viewing, etc. Then with parapsychologist, Chuck Honorton, I investigated gathering all the research and making a documentary.
Years then passed till I began to go to ALL The Monroe Institute’s week-long programs using Hemi-sync to travel out of body and explore many realms and possibilities. I even attended the professional summer program with the likes of Elizabeth Kubler Ross (who was a real kick). I did research and considered writing a book with Monroe trainer extraordinaire Karen Malik and Bob called, “How to Hear Hidden Voices.” For many years, the work and colleagues there continued my deepening belief that we, as humans, had many more abilities than we were using. And, I preferred traveling into psychic worlds without the use of drugs.
Freedom From the Known
I was always interested in spirituality from East and West. Because I loved the Sherlock Holmes novels, I was even interested in Sir Conan Doyle’s spiritualism, investigating ghosts, fairies, and the paranormal. So, reading Krishnamurti, and his openly speaking to people on a philosophical level kind of evened out the field.
“In its simplest meaning freedom refers to the absence of compulsion or restraint or constraint by any external power. The slave is not free because other men constrain him.”
Growing up as a woman during the Women’s Movement in New York and across the nation, all manner of freedom-seeking was on the table. For me, Krishmamurti represented a few teachers that I studied, voraciously reading all their works. I also appreciated that he did not want to be a guru-like teacher and eventually denied his supposed given place as a master. I believe This little book contained pretty much everything he had to say and teach philosophically and spiritually. I do recommend the YouTube dialogues between Krishnamurti and David Bohm. The combination of Quantum physics and spirituality is paramount.
Tao: The Pathless Path
My favorite Beloved Master teacher. I have spent many years walking with Osho listening to him daily on audio books. He is the best company. A trickster, and irreverent, Osho spoke about every religion, philosophy, teacher and cult. He had the vastest array of information. Listening to him or reading his books filled me with understanding of others and spoke to the beauty of differences in religions and spiritual practice.
Osho did not take himself seriously and often told off-color jokes during his lectures. He said Tao was the simplest and most profound path. And this is the smallest of all his books. Simpler the better. There was much chaos about Osho and his community, but I got that he was stirring the pot to liberate his students from convention and conservative thinking. You had to free the physical before freeing the mind and spirit.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
by Isabel Wilkerson
According to its description, “This book points to our entire social structure as an unrecognized caste system. Most people see America as racist, and Wilkerson agrees that it is indeed racist. She points out that we tend to refer to slavery as a ‘sad, dark chapter’ in America’s history when, in fact, it lasted for hundreds of years—but in order to maintain a social order and an ‘economy whose bottom gear was torture’ (as Wilkerson quotes the historian Edward Baptist), it was necessary to give blacks the lowest possible status. And the unspoken caste system encouraged all to accept their roles.
As Wilkerson develops her argument, she brings in historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Satchel Paige. She even looks at the Nazis, who “turned to us when they were seeking ways to institutionalize racism in the Third Reich.”
I come from a socially and politically active family. My parents held meetings in their home every week to address issues in the world and to help educate people in what to do and how to support these concerns. My step-father was Chairman of the ACLU, a regent of the Universities of California, coordinator for the Dan Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers Trial that ended the war in Vietnam, and negotiated with Arafat for peace in the Middle East. My mother fully supported in intelligence and financed these and many other causes. When I took in my African American family of five, and growing, I was exposed to many of their real life issues: living in a ghetto community, being profiled, having relationships with men who could not take responsibility for their children and having abusive relationships, as well. This book helped me to understand the historical and emotional genetics of being black in our society and culture. It gave me a better sense of what prevented them from being successful and fulfilled, and how hard it was to fight for some semblance of normality and abundance. I think everyone should read this book so they can see with different eyes those who seem different just because of the color of their skin. My mantra to my bi-racial grandchildren is: I poop brown, pee yellow, and bleed red just like anyone else. And I know that does not change how they are observed and the opportunities that they can be dismissed from just because they are black.
Matric Energetics: The Science and Art of Transformation by Richard Bartlett
“Matrix Energetics applies the principles of quantum physics as a unique and effective approach to healing. This is the essence of energy medicine,” said C. Norman Shealey. Matrix Energetics® is a complete system of transformation that produces observable and verifiable changes which can be taught to anyone. It encompasses a new state of being, a new way of experiencing the world we live in, and a more expansive way of accessing new possibilities—a consciousness shift.
After studying with different bio-energy teachers and different venues for altered states of consciousness, I went to a M.E. seminar and it was miraculous and fun. Hooked, I went to every seminar for the next seven years, and became a Master practitioner and staff member. Dr. Bartlett was a free-wheeling, no-holds-barred, wise, caring, energetic, experimental. out-there mentor, constantly inventing and bringing in new material and co-teachers with different perspectives. I learned to live, teach, and help others expand into the field, access shifts and changes to patterns of information in magical ways. Every experience with a client or student was different, never the same process since each issue, concern or problem was unique to that individual. Richard brought in many facets: time travel, parallel universes, karma, past lives, frequencies, playful dolphins, and whatever showed up was noticed and utilized to help someone find the lightness of being, and to heal in the moment. And it worked. I have made this a practice that I offer wherever I go… in the streets, on hikes, in a market or parking lot, in mine or someone else’s home. Yes, anyone can access the state of at-ease that is available to all and I help people notice that state for themselves all the time. I loved traveling with the merry Matrix Energetics band and will always be grateful to Richard for freeing up the simplest way to have an empty mind, expand, and dissolve into the field, have no agenda, trust what shows up, share the image or story that resonates, and find that moment of being delighted. It works wonders.
Arrow to the Sun
by Gerald McDermott
With vibrant colors and bold geometric forms, Gerald McDermott brilliantly captures the stylized look of Pueblo Indian art in this Caldecott Award-winning retelling of an ancient legend. A young boy searches for his father, but before he can claim his heritage he must first prove his worthiness by passing through the four ceremonial chambers: the kiva of lions, the kiva of snakes, the kiva of bees, and the kiva of lightning. Striking in its simplicity and grace, Arrow to the Sun vividly evokes the Native American reverence for the source of all life—the Solar Fire.
I worked Caldecott Honoree author and illustrator, Gerald McDermott for many years to create, design and develop my interactive series of children’s books: Invitational Books, (www.Invitationalbooks.com). Gerald was the first children’s book author to tell Native American tales that were taught in schools across the nation. He became an honorary member of several tribes because he helped many to learn about and know the Native American stories and traditions. He was a true artist. I also recommend his book “Creation.” Alive with color, textures, and shapes, it’s a beautifully illustrated version of the creation story from the book of Genesis paying tribute to life, imagination, and the world around us.
by Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
I loved Ma and have spent the past 32 years as part of her teaching and community. She was a Kali incarnation, wielding her Brooklyn Jewish screeching voice to kill the ego. She loved Hanuman, the Monkey God of service, and took care of the Gays and AIDS community, the homeless, the street people, and addicts. “There are No Throw Away People” was Baba Neem Karoli’s message that she lived by.
This is one of her small, beautiful books: A long ecstatic poem in honor of the River Ganga, sacred to all Hindus, which represents the union of life and death, or the flow of Shakti, the feminine essence of God. By caring for people and families with AIDS, MA was constantly exposed to death and dying, teaching how to love, and to care for and understand pain and suffering.
I was running a center for living for people with AIDS when I met Ma. I went to visit her Kashi Ashram in Sebastian, Florida,one of the most beautiful places for all religions and spiritual practices, and I started to encourage her writing as well as directing her teaching videos. I travelled with Ma around the country, going to hospitals, senior citizen homes, hospices, and shelters, bringing food and her open arms and motherly comfort. At one hospice for families, I met a mother with three children. Mom and son had AIDS. When she passed, I took in the three children, plus two babies, and they and their children are still part of my family.
by Elizabeth Haitch
I appreciated the personal experience of other lifetimes so deliciously shared by Elizabether Haitch. (I studied with Betty Binder to be an Other Life Time practitioner/therapist as I found those experiences for me were the most profound and emotionally freeing when I worked therapeutically with her.)
MISTS OF AVALON
by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The empowerment of women that Mists of Avalon revealed changed the reality of olden times history. The true power of the sacred women. I have always loved witches and insist to my grandchildren, who are sometimes afraid of my large collection of witch dolls, that these were healers who foraged Mother Earth to cure their communities. And, of course, were feared, reviled, and obliterated. So, these are brave women’s journeys in these beloved books.