The Aramaic Jesus and the Spirituality of Creation
“The New Story about the Oldest Stories in the World . . .”
Today apocalyptic predictions and images dominate popular culture and social media. Yet for most of our history, human consciousness focused on the mystery of beginnings, not endings. Our ancestors felt that the most powerful energy and clearest vision for the future could be found at our inception. They meditated on stories of the Great Beginning as the way to go forward.
Original Meditation is two books in one. First it investigates the ancient tradition of creation mysticism and shows how Western culture became sidetracked into an increasingly narrow, apocalyptic world view. Second, it shows how we can begin to recover an authentic meditation on our shared beginnings, a meditation that can bring us into a more embodied and compassionate present. To help us on our way, Neil Douglas-Klotz offers us a living anthology of voices, from a mystical view of the first chapters of Genesis, to the Aramaic words of Jesus, to translations of mystical voices like Jelaluddin Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Meister Eckhart and the Jewish Kabbalists.
Uniting the native spirituality of the Middle East with Western creation spirituality, we catch a glimpse of the life-affirming energy of “beginning-time” and experience what it means to be fully human in today’s world.
A companion audio, with the pronunciation to and chant melodies for many of the phrases used in the book, is available in our online store as the Original Meditation audio.
You can find reproductions of the full-colour illustrations done for the book by artist Fatima Lassar at her site here.
Hear a short interview with Neil by Matthew Fox on the creation of Original Meditation at our Podcasts page
“After reading this very welcome resource, you will want to join Douglas-Klotz in exclaiming: “Genesis Now!”
—Spirituality and Health (voted one of best spiritual books of the year).
“We–as a society–need to recover and renew our stories; we need to bring our bodies and emotions back into harmony with the cosmos within which we live; we need to shift from a conceptual framework based on control and mechanism to one based on creativity and freedom. We also need practices that unite, rather than divide, the strands of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Here Douglas-Klotz makes the exciting claim that the meditation he has reconstructed, and obviously developed within his own spiritual practice, can provide a basis for a spirituality that can unite these traditions. If so, it is vitally important for our time.”
–Network Review: Journal of the Scientific and Medical Network, Summer 2004
“Neil Douglas-Klotz takes us back to the creation myths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, with exquisite writings from each tradition. This is the sacred source from which we have all evolved and which can recall us to our essential unity.
–Caduceus, Summer 2004 (UK)
First Dr. Douglas-Klotz entices us into a fascinating intellectual journey as he explores the Creation-centered spiritual practices of the Aramaic-speaking communities at the time of Jesus and the other early rabbis. Then he guides us into a deeper spiritual realm of our own, showing us how we could meditate on the Creation in our own language as the ancients meditated on it in theirs. By the time we finish his book, we are ready and able to join body, heart, mind, and spirit into a healing wholeness — indeed, the wholeness of Creation.
–Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director of the Shalom Center and author of Godwrestling-Round 2
This beautiful book, from a writer whose soul is flooded with grace, presents the creation meditations in the book of Genesis as a flame of peace and love. Deeply moving, compelling, and radiant with hope, the book is a living prayer that can contribute to personal and inter-religious transformation. Pondering the words of the creation story as Neil Douglas-Klotz suggests, “breathing and internalizing them,” offers a glimpse of what the soul of religion is like at the ground of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, far beneath the warring fragments dividing these great religions. The Genesis Meditations tells an enthralling story and contains dozens of gorgeous meditations for remembering and returning to our original mystical experience of the living God.
–Mary Ford-Grabowsky, author of Sacred Voices and Woman Prayers.
Neil Douglas-Klotz is a rare jewel; a brilliant scholar with heart whose words have the power to reconnect us with our sacred source. The Genesis Meditations is truly a book for our times, revealing the common root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and making it available in a wise, practical, and heartfelt way. The perfume of divine belonging rises from every page as this modern mystic skillfully guides us into the essence of the Sacred Mystery.
-Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of Seven Paths to God and Inner Peace for Busy Women
ARC Books 2016. 290 pages paperback.