Writer | Author

Ron McCray

I was born in America shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the advent of the USA into World War II. I have seen a lot of life in my lifetime—events that honored humanity giving mankind hope…as well as monstrous acts of evil that threatened to crush hope. The jury is still out.

My role was and is a small one. Through my experiences, mostly happenstance but also directed, I came upon a question that slumbered in my mind until it popped into my in conscious as a small fire of recognition namely, “Why do we do what we do?” Since then this small fire grew, at times, into a large blaze only to be doused into near oblivion, then come roaring back. I grew tired of attempting to answer the question.

Who had I been doing in this time? In short, a scholar, a naval officer, a technologist, a business executive, a trainer, a writer, a husband, a father, a Republican then a Democrat and finally an Independent, and I lived on both the left and right sides of the US.

Then I discovered something of an answer to the question.

I was focused on doing in a misguided attempt to achieve enlightenment. I was a California ‘wind chimes and crystals’ kind of guy and associated with others of the same persuasion, none of whom knew the answer. Then I met someone who blew away the smoke of delusion and received the answer to my question:

“By knowing who you are being at any moment, you will understand why you are doing what you are doing.”

My 10 Best

(In no order of suggested reading or importance)

The Active Side of Infinity by Carlos Castaneda

This is Castaneda’s last book and is what he learned writing his ten other books.  He does not simplify.  It is not a compilation. It is a unique retelling of his experiences, not a mash-up of the already presented material. If the reader should wish to plow through all or some of his earlier work, this is Cliff Notes on steroids.

The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins

This is a most remarkable book for it instructs not pontificate on murky methods of how to heal the self) written by an author who teaches a clear and straight-forward process of self-healing that does not require a belief in nor invocation of entities beyond the pale of human ken.

 

Aesop’s Fables

 A little shy of 200 short fables that mirror… “human vices, follies, and virtues, seen through talking animals, I first read and reread them as a child by simply opening the book at random and reading whatever presented itself. The book’s value then as well as now, was to remind me of what it was to be human, the good, and the not so good. The fables are not just children but rereading them as an adult, were just as wise, even more so.

 

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

 A little shy of 200 short fables that mirror… “human vices, follies, and virtues, seen through talking animals, I first read and reread them as a child by simply opening the book at random and reading whatever presented itself. The book’s value then as well as now, was to remind me of what it was to be human, the good, and the not so good. The fables are not just children but rereading them as an adult, were just as wise, even more so.

 

Paths To God – Living the Bhagavad Gita by Ram Dass

The original “Gita” was written in Sanskrit in India. This adaption written by Ram Dass (an American) brings the Gita to life in this modern age. I am an atheist and do not favor religious teachings; however, and although, I don’t really think of this book as a religious text, I think it brings forward the principles of the ancient text clothed today in modern cloth, yet underneath modernity lies ancient wisdom.

Rebel Buddha – A Guide to a Revolution of Mind by Dzogchen Ponlop

This is perhaps the newest book in my list. It is here because it reflects the ancient antecedents of Buddhism with a bright light burning away the original methods of teaching Buddhism, eliminating and reinventing them for the western mind and tempered to be a renovation of ancient wisdom for new cultures. Plus Dzogchen Ponlop has a wry sense of humor.

Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan

This is another novel that addresses the coming of enlightenment to a well-educated and “sophisticated” American. It is the true story of a woman who is invited to attend and address a group of Aboriginals. It is a sham that reduces her Western sophistication to learning the way of being an Aboriginal through the experience of being taken on walkabout. Her actual journey is fictionalized, in part, to protect the tribe of Aboriginals who took her on her journey in which she came to be with nature, evolving into who she truly is as a human being.

 

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

This is probably the most celebrated story of how the Indian prince Siddhartha evolved into the Buddha and is a work of fiction. It appears on this list because, one, the Buddha was a real man and much of Hesse’s story is substantiated by writings of the time. Two, when tracing how a man evolves from a rich and pampered youth into arguably one of of wisest human beings who ever lived, Siddhartha provides a template and a rich, but simple telling of how that occurred.

Roadsigns on the Spiritual Path – Living at the Heart of Paradox by Philip Goldberg

This intelligent and practical book gives a seeker of enlightenment a plethora of thoughtful tools to structure one’s own unique path without demanding that the seeker do anything. It is, after all, the seeker’s path, not the author’s. The author provides a liberating guideline in the spirit of taking his suggestion as long as it works for you or leaving it, maybe to return to it at a later time…or never. You are, as you have always been, your own responsibility. The title of the first chapter is, “You’re On Your Own/You Can’t Do It Alone.” The paradoxes begin early. “Oh my, is this book actually going to require me to think?” “Yes…or maybe not. Remember, a good book entertains, an excellent book enlightens.”

Atlantean Secrets – A four- volume set by Samuel Sagan

Please don’t think I am cheating for using four books as one. This captivating and entertaining story of Atlantis (one of many) is, to my way of thinking, a foreshadowing of what may face the earth on the verge of a man-made​ apocalypse. Is it really true? I don’t believe it is, but as with many works of fiction, is thought-provoking​ and immensely entertaining. The story is of a small group of Atlanteans who have awakened to the realization that Atlantis is failing and may soon be destroyed. They set out to save their home while the great majority of Atlanteans are sound asleep going about their daily lives as disaster slowly encroaches. Sound familiar?