Good Reading : September 2005
goodreading 35 mind body spirit word of mouth Ihave always been attracted to the spiritual monastic path, which is why I now have such an interest in mystics without monasteries, because this is the next step,’ Caroline Myss explains. ‘That’s why I adore being Catholic. When I was growing up I was bilingual in English and angels. Miracles could happen every day. The invisible power of angels and saints was everywhere. This book has brought me full circle, because while I don’t have a high regard for church politics, or the politics of any religion, the mysticism of the Christos, as embraced within the Catholic faith, is so magnificent.’ Caroline Myss began her professional career as a jour nalist in 1974.Then, after completing a Masters Degree, she co-founded Stillpoint Publishing in Walpole, New Hampshire in 1983. The following year Caroline met Harvard-trained neurosurgeon Nor man Sheady, who was interested in medical intuition. A close professional relationship followed. Caroline conducted health readings on his patients, and the results of their work together are detailed in their book The Creation of Health. In her latest work Caroline explores the concept of grace. During the course of writing the book she developed a deeper understanding of the power of grace. When Caroline asked her readers to share their own life-changing experiences, she was overwhelmed by their response. ‘I used to be torn between being out in the world, and the desire for retreat, but nothing is the same after reading the 1,200 letters I received. For ten days I sat and read these letters of the miraculous, of profound transfor mations, and of the kindness that had taken place in people’s lives, one letter after the other.You can’t remain the same after that. Then you realise, these letters car ry an element that is alive. I decided this had to be the book. I also realised I had become a cerebral spiritual person, which is what so many people are in the West. So I tur ned to the scriptures, to my library of Rumi, Thomas Merton and Meister Eckhardt. I put myself on a retreat.’ The more Caroline contemplated these extraordinary letters, the more she grasped the crisis at the heart of contemporary spirituality. ‘We are so comfort-oriented.We use our spirituality to increase our comfort,’ she points out. ‘We have become so goal-oriented in our approach to spirituality, but is it even appropriate to say that spirituality should have a goal? If you understand the Tao, you understand it is a goal-less pursuit. Today we are so influenced by “what’s in it for me?” So we ask “what’s in God for me – miracles, healing, a job? And if there’s nothing productive about this God, then what am I doing with it?”’ Caroline believes this lack of a deeper spiritual foundation is at the heart of the current confusion around belief. ‘People are relying on books and tapes to get them there, because comfort has become the goal. But this is not the goal of spiritual life. I am so grateful to have been educated with the Catholics, the Jesuits, until I was 29. I didn’t start out reading New Age books. My spiritual co-ordinates were with scripture, with classical theology. My Latin and Greek were still well engaged. I had this as a scholar.’ It is this lack of a fir m base that then causes our spiritual ambitions to sabotage our lives, and prevents us from heal- ing. ‘We have miscalculated our entire selves,’ says Caroline. ‘We have so focused on our higher consciousness, we have bypassed our need to examine our lower consciousness. We need to deal with our shadow side.We have to face the fact we are all capable of dark acts.’ In Invisible Acts of Power, Caroline inspires the reader to contemplate the nature of true power. ‘We have become sophisticated, but this is not the same thing as being powerful,’ she explains. ‘Every person will go through the stage where they will think power is about owning things, being recog- nised. Most will live and die with this illusion, caught in the endless cycle of getting and having. It’s almost inconceivable that a soul incarnates simply to put something in the garage, but that’s what happens.The greater jour ney is that a person should suffer, so they start to understand there’s something wrong with their calculations. That’s when they say to them- selves “I’m getting all this stuff, but I’m not feeling very good”; they are drawn to look inside. ‘Then, as people let go of their visible for ms of power, they themselves become an act of power,’ Caroline reflects. ‘The wonderful thing is that you can become a channel for grace without ever saying anything.To become an invisible act of power is the highest calling. This is walking through life with grace, and to do this, invisibility is the key.’ Caroline Myss’ Invisible Acts of Power is published by Simon & Schuster, rrp $29.95 living with grace MAGGIE HAMILTON catches up with internationally renowned medical intuitive and teacher CAROLINE MYSS, the best- selling author of Anatomy of the Spirit.