Storyteller | Mirth lover | intuitive | Nature mystic | Carer | Awaiting an age of pure unlimited love |
Stephen G. Post
I have been reading books about Higher Love since I was in those teen years and that was my calling. The other guys up there at a New Hampshire prep school were playing ice hockey and getting ready for investment careers, at least mostly. But I read spiritual classics on the pathways with book in hand as I walked in my extra time. The only recognition I got up there was “Honors in Sacred Studies,” and I knew a lot of passages from great spiritual thinkers and scriptures. I never got into debates, but just quoted from them. This was how I meditated and stayed a bit detached from the world around me. I have always been this way, and nowadays I still get up early and meditate and pray. I do both.”
Meditating is listening to the Source, praying is speaking to it. Did you ever notice that you cannot do both at the same time? But nature is a sacred book too, and so that is another way to read.
I have been blessed to meet a lot of spiritual writers both in my years in grad school at the University of Chicago School of Divinity, where we read a lot. And then teaching over the years, but always in med schools because I wanted to connect reading spiritual works with the healing art, and that has gone pretty well.
I still write a lot, both medical journal articles and books, all of which connect with human compassion or with the divine love that invades us when we are one with the Source. Still growing and always eager to read. For me, the line between play, reading, and work has been delightfully blurred. Been teaching humanities and spirituality in medical schools for 35 years at Chicago, Ann Arbor, Cleveland, and Stony Brook. Still loving what I read and putting bread on the table.
STEPHEN G. POST is widely known as an opinion leader, public speaker, and a dedicated contributor to the study of medical humanities, positive psychology, research on altruism and love, clinical bioethics, the care of deeply forgetful people, and as the lead author of the bestselling book When Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving.
But there is a fascinating and deeply spiritual side to Stephen Post’s life story, which he reveals in his latest book.
God and Love on Route 80: The Hidden Mystery of Human Connectedness is the entertaining story of Stephen Post’s cross-country road trip which was propelled by a recurring dream he had as a teenager and his life-long spiritual journey that led him to the discovery that a powerful force guides us all towards our destinies.
God and Love on Route 80 explores the essential meaning of life and the messages we can all tune in to if we pay close enough attention. In sharing thirteen extraordinary episodes of synchronicity from his life journey, Stephen Post demonstrates that there are no coincidences in this world.
My 10 Best
Strength to Love
by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I believe that critics and enemies come into our lives because we need them to bring out the best in us. They say “love your enemy,” and in this sense I can do so. Consider that David was just a boy when Goliath came along, and if it were not for Goliath, David would never have gotten the start he did. If Joseph had not been betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt, he would never have done the wonderful things that he did. If everyone was supportive of our dreams, if we never had to overcome deep opposition, we would never develop our very best selves. Enemies encourage us to be even more productive and successful in pursuing noble purposes despite their jaded cynicism. They drive us forward and we can learn from them.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had a lot of enemies. He loved them enough to include them in the seamless web of a connected shared humanity. He confronted them nonviolently and with a desire for reconciliation.
Thus, he wrote in his great book The Strength to Love. He addressed love in the face of opposition and also in the face of disappointment. King brought together this collection of immensely inspirational sermons based on his belief in a divine loving presence that binds all of our lives together.
I still go back to these sermons from time to time for inspiration. Opposition and disappointment come into every life that follows a transformative dream, but we must love on. We must be love warriors no matter what and who we face. Opposition and disappointment are both gifts, and every bit as important as our supporters and our successes. Without adversaries and losses, we would never be able to truly prove before all of heaven and earth that we believe in the beauty of our dreams and of our destiny.
One Mind: How Our Individual Mind is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters
by Larry Dossey MD
I have known since youth that my mind is a nonmaterial gift that is a small part of an Infinite Mind. I read a lot of Emerson as a boy, and I believed in his “Oversoul.” This book is the finest ever written on the idea of “One Mind,” or that there really is only One Mind in the universe and it underlies all of reality. It is also within each of us in that our individual minds are part of it and thus capable of premonitions, meaningful dreams, bliss, inspired creativity, and other “connected” phenomena.
Dossey is also one of the finest thinkers at the interface of spirituality and scientific research. For me he is a good role model in withstanding criticism for not acquiescing to the cold materialist metaphysic that dominates in the sciences.
One Mind influenced me because though I believed in the idea, no one had stated it with the range of perspective and authoritative voice that Dossey brings. This book digs very deeply into history, philosophy, spiritual thought and practice, and the best scientific research from physics, math, biology, and the social sciences.
Larry is also a generous person, He wrote the “Foreword” to my own journey book, God and Love on Route 80: The Hidden Meaning of Human Connectedness, which is all about episodes of synchronicity across my life that can only be understood as manifestations of the One Mind that connects us all.
I recommend One Mind as a wonderful synthesis of spirituality and science, as well as of ancient spiritual teachings and traditions. This book will seriously shape how you think about the nature of a Higher Presence in the universe and within each of us. A key theme is that Mind does not derive from Matter, and it cannot. Mind exists before time and space and gives rise to all that is. Those who think that consciousness arises somehow from brain tissue will continue to produce models and theories, but they are trying to get Mind out of Matter, and that is not an easy trick. Mind before Matter makes more sense.
The Science of Religion
by Paramahansa Yogananda
I have valued Yogananda, author of The Autobiography of a Yogi, for most of my adult years. He respected the many religions of the world, and understood the need for distinctiveness and historical traditions. Yet he wrote this: “But if religion means primarily God-consciousness, or the realization of God both within and without, and secondarily a body of beliefs, tenets, and dogmas, then, strictly speaking, there is but one religion in the world, for there is but one God.” He understood the goal of all religions to be God-consciousness or Bliss, a state of oneness with the divine in which differences melt away.
This book tells us that we get so attached to the secondary that these external historical accumulations of dogmas displace the primary. Nothing could be more ridiculous or more dangerous than this, because our ego-minds, will to power, arrogance, and in-group myopia can sometimes make religion a force for immense evil and destruction. In a time of religious arrogance leading to terrible conflicts and wanton murder, we need to focus on the primary purpose of all religions, which is to connect us with Presence, with one another, and with nature in a mystical peace-giving unity.
I still do appreciate religions with all their historical trappings and intriguing founders, and I do enjoy an Episcopal Church service as a way of praying and worshipping in community. I also enjoy and appreciate many other traditions. But religion at its worse is a threat to the species and the planet and thwarts progress. The primary spiritual goal of God-consciousness in religious practice brings us all together in pure love, pure joy, and pure peace. Hopefully, humanity will realize this before we annihilate ourselves or destroy all that is meaningful.
Is Consciousness Primary? by Gary E. Schwartz and Majorie H. Woollacott, eds
This book is path-breaking for me. It introduces the “Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Science” with powerful chapters written by some of the greatest minds of our time. It provides me with a lot of fellow travelers who have rejected the materialist explanations of the physical and biological worlds, and who do not think that materialism is consistent with quantum physics or Mind. It is a deep read and yet an easy one because every contributor tells their story of spiritual and intellectual journey, and thus the book inspires with courage.
As a professor, I have often been dismissed by some peers because I do not accept the materialist interpretation of the universe. The facts that scientists uncover are, of course, to be respected entirely as such, and being a good scientist committed to accurate facts is absolutely important. How those same facts get interpreted is really a matter of metaphysics, either materialist or spiritual in essence. For example, we can look at the creative flow of great geniuses under PET scans of the brain and see what section of the brain lights up. But metaphysics comes in when one person says that this is “nothing but” brain chemistry and cells at work, while another person will say that this is Infinite Mind inspiring the individual spiritual mind with insights that come from a source that is higher than Matter but which is merely connected with certain brain regions.
I am always skeptical of “nothing but” materialist explanations. The philosopher Bertrand Russell said that there is no human dignity because there is nothing to us other than “glorified pond scum.” I disagree.
by Richard Maurice Buck MD.
Since I have devoted my life to medical education, I have always connected with this great book by the Canadian mystic and physician Richard Maurice Burke (1837-1902), who coined the widely used term “cosmic consciousness.” He was writing from his own experiences, which empowers his book. But he was also a very close friend of the poet Walt Whitman, who grew up just a few miles down the road from me in Huntington NY, not far from Stony Brook, where I live and teach. I enjoy his description of “moral exaltation, an indescribable feeling of elevation, elation, and joyousness… a sense of immortality” and illumination at a spiritual plane in perfect oneness with all things. He covers so many great writers and spiritual figures who have had this sort of experience, from Gautama the Buddha, and Jesus the Christ to William Blake and Whitman.
What gives me hope is his argument that people who experience this Cosmic Consciousness are becoming more numerous than ever before. But he wrote this book in 1901, and I wonder what he would say about that today. Despite the hatred and the violence around us, I see even more powerful expressions of cosmic consciousness that will sway the balance toward the good. We will never get to Oneness on the basis of linear logic and reason, which is often just rationalization. But powerful spiritual experiences of cosmic consciousness can transform us in ways that reason alone cannot. This is our perennial hope.
Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World by Matthieu Ricard
This is the rare gem that perfectly covers the entire expanse of altruism science with a keen sense for what is essential and yet places it all in the context of a Buddhist worldview of spiritual practice and oneness. Ricard sent me a number of emails while he was getting started with this magnum opus, and I send him lots of PDF’s for his research.
There is a fabulous documentary movie entitled The Altruism Revolution, which follows the book with wonderful images and film vignettes. This is a big book, and the most important one on the subject ever written. It moves along from “What Is Altruism?” to “The Emergence of Altruism” to “Cultivating Altruism,” “Contrary Forces,” and “Building a More Altruistic Society.” This book goes way beyond anything I have written, but it does build on my work explicitly, and so I feel a certain gratification.
The Science of Mind: A Philosophy,
A Faith, A Way of Life
by Ernest Holmes
This is one of the most inspiring and meaningful books that I have ever read, and I have been reading it for the better part of the last 40 years. It is the cornerstone of the Religious Science Movement, which includes Religious Science, Unity, and various others off shoots.
I go back to some well-read pages of The Science of Mind, and it always uplifts me. “The Mind of man is some part of the Mind of God, therefore it contains within itself unlimited possibility of expansion and self-expression,” he writes. I share with Holmes, and New Thought, in general, the idea that there is but one Mind that we share in and, therefore, we are much more connected than the materialists know.
I look at the pages of this huge book and see that I have underlined sentences in about six different colors and folded over many corners. It is so nicely written for the everyday person who is seeking truth. It is a spiritual classic and has inspired generations.
The Ways and Power of Love: Types, Factors and Techniques of Moral Transformation
by Pitirim A. Sorokim
Sorokin was the greatest sociologist of how people connect with divine love across all the major religions of the world. He taught at Harvard for most of his career, dying in 1969. I had the honor of hearing him speak when I was a young boy up in New Hampshire.
His philosophy of love has always stayed with me. Human love is not bad on its own, he thought. But it tends to be uneven in its energy, myopic and exclusionary, unwise, impure, and unenduring. Maybe a mother’s love for a child is the highest form that we humans have. But divine love is perfectly intense, extends to all without any exception, wise, pure, and lasting. I agree with this, but we can be uplifted into divine love – or even feel invaded by it – in a way that mere human love cannot achieve. So divine consciousness remains the secret to moral transformation.
Later in life I met Sorokin’s son, and I wrote a long “Foreword” to the republication of this great book by the Templeton Press.
The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving
by Lisa Miller
I love this book because I always wanted to raise caring children, and I welcome any new science we can get on how to do this well. Lisa Miller of Columbia University Teachers College is brilliant in her research on childhood spiritual experiences, and how these affect moral development. I want parents to realize how spirituality is so central in raising good kids. I gave a talk at Columbia in 2019 at one of Lisa’s conferences and loved being there. She is a great parent herself, and a great teacher. Only Lisa could have written this courageous book.
Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions
by Huston Smith
I had the opportunity to meet Huston Smith on several occasions. His book The World’s Religions remains the most popular book of its genre, and one that I read many times as a student. Forgotten Truth is his brilliant late-life classic about the levels of human consciousness and ultimate reality. This is a difficult book and hard to fully grasp, which is why I go back to it from time to time to learn. In the end, he finds that all religions are expressions of a sublime spiritual consciousness that is available to us all. I find this reassuring for the sake of peace and the eventual end of religious conflict. No one has made a better case for the existence of the immortal soul.