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Finding the spirit in life
The Rose Chamber by Caroline Brown is a moving account of a journey into spiritual realms through meditation, as Christian von Arnim found when he read the book for NNA.Von: NNA
Spirituality is a curious and diffuse thing. Browse the bookshelves in any high street bookshop and there will be a section with plenty of popular books giving advice on self-development, meditation, mindfulness or whatever happens to be the latest buzzword. At the other end of the spectrum there are the books, more likely found in specialist bookshops, which require a lot of hard study and offer an insight into the nature of the spiritual worlds and the beings that inhabit them. The path of meditation some of them describe to make true spiritual progress in our inner lives generally demands many years of committed and self-disciplined work so that we are fully prepared for what we encounter when we learn to look beyond the material world. More rare are the books in which people who have had spiritual experiences themselves describe their own path into the spiritual world and what they encountered there. Maybe this is not so surprising given that on the one hand it is by its nature a deeply personal thing and on the other hand it is potentially to open themselves up to sceptical scrutiny which may well question the authenticity of their experiences. All the more remarkable, then, to find a book in which the author not only tells of her experiences in the spiritual world but which also illustrates how closely it is intertwined with our everyday lives – if only we can develop our consciousness to perceive it. In this sense The Rose Chamber by Caroline Brown might well be described as an autobiography except that it extends the boundaries of that genre beyond the physical world into the spiritual realm. This is not a dispassionate description of the spiritual world like a travel guide to a foreign country. It is the intimate portrayal of a life in all its dimensions – the pain, the struggle, but also ultimately the joy of growing insight which leads to ever further progress on the path of learning to understand ourselves and our tasks in a wider spiritual reality. Grounding in reality Yet Caroline Brown never loses her grounding in reality and common sense. For that is something else which emerges from this account. Finding the real path into spiritual realms rather than engaging in flights of fancy into illusory worlds requires continuous hard work and constant critical self-examination. Indeed, it seems that at times she is rather too critical of herself and her life and relationships. At the same time this book opens a window which reveals that we have to see our existence on a much larger scale than simply this one single life on earth. Our positive or negative relationships with other people, be they work colleagues or family; baffling situations in life – “why is this happening to me?” – where we nevertheless sense deep down that there is more at work than random chance – these things are shown to be rooted in a much more profound reality than could ever be explained by a life which starts from nothing at birth and returns to nothing at death. Everyone has their own path and doorway into these spiritual dimensions around us, says Caroline Brown, and each person’s path will be different. But her aim in writing the book was to give heart to those who are working on their inner life: “Whilst true self-development is not easy, I hope that the description of my own pathway will encourage others to be confident that the spirit world is right here all the time, and that we humans are given an extraordinary amount of help.” Written in an accessible style which grips the reader like a novel, this is a book which took great courage to write and deserves a wide readership. It is no light matter to reveal a spiritual journey of this kind – intimately bound up as it is with profound aspects of our being. But what this book by Caroline Brown also shows is that in a time which in many respects is becoming ever more materialistic, the spiritual world has never been closer. END/nna/cva Caroline Brown, The Rose Chamber, 342 pages, Inhams Publishing 2015. The book is available worldwide through most bookshops and online retailers in paperback and many ebook formats. See publisher's website below for details. Item: 150216-02EN Date: 16 February 2015 Copyright 2015 News Network Anthroposophy Limited. All rights reserved.