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Neil Douglas-Klotz offers a radical new translation of the words of Jesus Christ with Prayers of the Cosmos. Reinterpreting the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes from the vantage of Middle Eastern mysticism, Douglas-Klotz, the Sufi Founder of the worldwide network of the Dances of Universal Peace, reveals a mystical, feminist, cosmic Christ. Prayers of the Cosmos is a spiritual revelation—and in the words of Science of Mind, “When you read this book, you will have no further doubt that God loves you infinitely and unconditionally.”
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About the Author
Neil Douglas-Klotz is on the faculty of the Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality in Oakland, CA, and is founding director of the International Center for the Dances of Universal Peace. He has over a dozen years of experience teaching movement, music, voice, and body awareness all over the world.
Read an Excerpt
1. Our Birth in Unity
(KJV version: Our Father which art in heaven)O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos,
you create all that moves
O Thou! The Breathing Life of all,
Creator of the Shimmering Sound that
Respiration of all worlds,
we hear you breathing -- in and out -- in silence.
Source of Sound: in the roar and the whisper,
in the breeze and the whirlwind, we
hear your Name.
Radiant One: You shine within us,
outside us-even darkness shines -- when
Name of names, our small identity
unravels in you, you give it back
as a lesson.
Wordless Action, Silent Potency --
where ears and eyes awaken, there
O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos!
The prayer begins with an expression of the divine creation and the blessing that emanates from all parenting. The ancient Middle Eastern root ab refers to all fruit, all germination proceeding from the source of Unity. This root came to be used in the Aramaic word for personal father -- abba -- but still echoes its original ungendered root in sound-meaning. While abwoon is a derivative of this word for personal father, its original roots do not specify a gender and could be translated "divine parent." These roots reveal many levels of meaning. Bwn shows the ray or emanation of that father/ motherhood proceeding from potential to actual, here and now. In Aramaic, the character for b may also be pronounced w orinclude shades of both. An Aramaic scholar, the Reverend Mar Aprem (1981), notes that the same root (ab) may stand for personal father or spiritual father, depending on whether the w (for personal) or the b (for spiritual) is emphasized. No doubt, Jesus meant there to be an echo of both, as Aramaic is rich in this sublime wordplay.
Further, according to the mystical science of sounds and letters, common to both Aramaic and Hebrew, the word abwoon points beyond our changing concepts of "male" and "female" to a cosmic birthing process. At this level of interpretation, abwoon may be said to have four parts to its sound-meaning:
A: the Absolute, the Only Being, the pure Oneness and Unity, source of all power and stability (echoing to the ancient sacred sound AL and the Aramaic word for God, Alaha, literally, "the Oneness").
bw: a birthing, a creation, a flow of blessing, as if from the "interior" of this Oneness to us.
oo: the breath or spirit that carries this flow, echoing the sound of breathing and including all forces we now call magnetism, wind, electricity, and more. This sound is linked to the Aramaic phrase rukha d'qoodsha, which was later translated as: "Holy Spirit"n: the vibration of this creative breath from Oneness as it touches and interpenetrates form. There must be a substance that this force touches, moves, and changes. This sound echoes the earth, and the body here vibrates as we intone the whole name slowly: Ah-bw-oo-n. The rest of the phase completes the motion of divine creation. In d'bwashmaya, the central root is found in the middle: shm. From this root comes the word shem, which may mean light, sound, vibration, name, or word. The root shm indicates that which "rises and shines in space," the entire sphere of a being. In this sense, one's name included one's sound, vibration, or atmosphere, and names were carefully given and received. Here the "sign" or "name" that renders Abwoon knowable is the entire universe. The ending -- aya shows that this shining includes every center of activity, every place we see, as well as the potential abilities of all things. In effect, shmaya says that the vibration or word by which one can recognize the Oneness-God's name-is the universe. This was the Aramaic conception of "heaven." This word is central to many of the sayings of Jesus and usually misunderstood. In Greek and later in English, "heaven" became a metaphysical concept out of touch with the processes of creation, It is difficult for the Western mind to comprehend how one word can have such seemingly different meanings. Yet this was the worldview of the native Middle Eastern mystic.
In the first line of Jesus' prayer, we remember our origins -- not in guilt or imperfection, but in blessing and unity, in both vibration and stillness. For the divine breath (rukha) touches even the' absence of what we can measure as "light" or "sound!
- Intone the sound Ah-bw-oo-n slowly, finding a pitch that resonates the most in your body. Take some time to find this'', "note" is your own heritage from Abwoon: the tone at which you vibrate most is part of your "name , " in the Aramaic meaning of the word. Feel the vibration of the sound. Where do you feel it in your body? As the sound enters the silence, let yourself follow it there. Begin to feel all the movements within the body-heartbeat, breathing, peristalsis that go on without our attention. Feet these movements as internal prayers that point to the gift and responsibility of co-creation with God.
- When in nature, walking or sitting, breathe in feeling the sound Abwoon inside yourself, and breathe out feeling the sound d'bwashmaya. Feel breath come into you as it does into the grass, trees, rocks, and water. Feel the One Source of this breathing. And feel the breathing returning to all creation. Our breath feeds the plants and theirs us. The exchange unites us in God. All creation says the holy Name silently.
- When at work, breathe in feeling the sound Ah; breathe out feeling the sound bwoon. As you inhale, feel all newness and nourishment coming into the heart-lungs area. As you exhale, feel everything old, everything that wants to be released, leaving with the breath. Where in the body can you feel the breath? What parts are not aware and could use waking up? As we become aware of the body, the darkness, the inside, we begin to be aware of soul (Aramaic, naphsha) and on the track of the kingdom/queendom within.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When the author gives additional ways the words of the Beatitudes can be translated, he adds the 'Ah, ha!' moment for us. 'Now that makes sense,' I kept saying to myself. Think of the French words we do not have translations for even now in English, and attempt to state the meaning in English of the word. In this way, one can understand the complexity of taking Aramamic words, putting them into Greek, and from that into English. The author helps us to understand our translations are not wrong, just not fully expanded. Great book.