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Desert Wisdom: A Nomad's Guide to Life's Big Questions from the Heart of the Native Middle East [Kindle Edition]

Neil Douglas-Klotz
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Part oracle, part meditation book, and part Aladdin’s cave of Middle Eastern myth and sacred story, Desert Wisdom offers a fresh way to hear the ancient visionary voices of the Middle East that generated three (or more) of the world’s great religions.
Renowned Sufi scholar and teacher Neil Douglas-Klotz, author of The Sufi Book of Life and Prayers of the Cosmos, has revisioned his acclaimed 1995 classic for the 21st century. Praised by scientists, poets and mystics alike for its ecological approach to “hearing” the native wisdom of the Middle East on its own terms, Desert Wisdom takes us on a journey from ancient Egypt throughout the Middle East to Sufi poets like Rumi and Hafiz. In between, we spend time hearing Genesis the way a storyteller might have told it and sit at the feet of the Aramaic-speaking prophet, Yeshua of Nazareth.
Through it all, Desert Wisdom presents us ancient wisdom about life’s biggest questions like: Why am I here? Who am I? And how do I love?

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About the Author



Neil Douglas-Klotz, Ph.D. (Saadi Shakur Chishti) is a world-renowned scholar in religious studies, spirituality and psychology. Living in Edinburgh, Scotland, he directs the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning (www.eial.org) and for many years was cochair of the Mysticism Group of the American Academy of Religion. He is also cofounder of the international Network of the Dances of Universal Peace. A frequent speaker and workshop leader, he is the author of several books, including Prayers of the Cosmos, The Hidden Gospel, The Genesis Meditations, The Sufi Book of Life, Blessings of the Cosmos and The Tent of Abraham (with Rabbi Arthur Waskow and Sr. Joan Chittister). Known also for this citizen diplomacy work, in 2004, he cofounded the Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace (www.mesp.org.uk). In 2005 he was awarded the Kessler-Keener Foundation Peacemaker of the Year award for his work in Middle Eastern peacemaking.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 631 KB
  • Print Length: 430 pages
  • Publisher: ARC Books (18 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0050I6SF8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #489,653 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author


Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz is an internationally known scholar in the fields connecting religious studies and psychology as well as a poet and musician.

Regular news from him can be found at his Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Neil-Douglas-Klotz/323477558733

He is the author of:

Prayers of the Cosmos: Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus (HarperCollins 1990);

Desert Wisdom: The Middle Eastern Tradition from the Goddess Through the Sufis (HarperCollins 1995, new edition in preparation);

The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spirituality of the Aramaic Jesus (Quest 1999);

The Genesis Meditations: A Shared Practice of Peace for Christians, Jews and Muslims (Quest 2003);

The Sufi Book of Life: 99 Pathways of the Heart for the Modern Dervish (Penguin USA 2005)

Blessings of the Cosmos: Wisdom of the Heart from the Aramaic Words of Jesus (Sounds True 2006)

The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians and Muslims (Beacon Press 2006, with Rabbi Arthur Waskow and Sr. Joan Chittister)

His audio sets from Sounds True include: The Hidden Gospel, Original Prayer (on the Aramaic Prayer of Jesus) and The Healing Breath (on the Beatitudes and Jesus' healing ministry).

He is the past chair of the Mysticism Group of the American Academy of Religion and active in various international colloquia and conferences dedicated to peace and spirituality. He directs the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning (www.eial.org) in Edinburgh, Scotland. and co-founded the Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace, now in its sixth year (www.mesp.org.uk). In 2005 he was awarded the Kessler-Keener Foundation Peacemaker of the Year award for his work in Middle Eastern peacemaking. Information about his work may be found at the website of the Abwoon Resource Center (www.abwoon.com)

His personal biography follows:

I grew up in a multicultural family. My grandparents (both sides) were refugees from Europe with German, Jewish, Russian and Polish blood in their veins. They followed their track to the ethnic neighbourhoods of Chicago, where my parents met and married.

I was raised by Christian parents who were both devout and freethinking. They brought into my early life the impulse to worship and praise, as well as to question everything that constricted and opposed the injunction "love your neighbour as yourself." My father was a chiropractor, my mother a student of the health education of Edgar Cayce. They raised me with a respect for the body and the wonders of nature found therein, as well as a disdain for the superficial innovations of humanity that polluted both body and nature.

Hearing from childhood German, Yiddish and Polish in our home, raised on the stories and miracles of Jesus, taught the practical truth of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, I formed an interest in language, spirituality, the body and ecological justice early in life. In many ways, I have been pursuing these interests ever since.

After graduation from college in 1973, I pursued a career as a journalist in the fields of social justice, environmentalism and consumer protection for several years before turning to the following questions: Why do people change? What causes me to change? Is there a more powerful level of motivating change than that of ideas? In pursuing these questions, I returned to interests I developed in college that centered on: the body and changes of attitude and behaviour, mystical and "expanded" states of consciousness, and the early pre-religious roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

I pursued some of this study academically through the University of California, Berkeley. But most of it found me seeking out teachers from the native traditions of the Middle East, Pakistan and India who introduced me to the other modes and methods of learning as well as the body-oriented spiritual practices that accompanied this study. Beginning in 1976, I was very privileged to study with the early students of the American Hebrew/Sufi mystic Samuel L. Lewis, who introduced me to the body prayer meditations called the Dances of Universal Peace. One phase of this intense period of study led me on a three-month pilgrimage in 1979 to sacred sites and teachers in Turkey, Pakistan and India.

In 1982, I founded the International Network for the Dances of Universal Peace (now based in Seattle, WA), a multicultural resource center for those who chose this form of peacemaking through the arts as their forum for both peace "demonstration" as well as spiritual practice. Over the past 15 years, I have been actively involved in leading educational exchanges and citizen diplomacy trips with the Dances to Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and to the Middle East.

From 1986 until 1996, I served as a faculty member of the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality and a member of the Core Faculty since 1990. During its "golden age," the ICCS was a gathering place for scientists, artists, educators and learners from many different cultural and racial backgrounds. Many of our students were non-US citizens and I enjoyed the opportunity to teach and learn across the differences and within a rich field of diversity. This diversity, at its best, provided a sort of "quantum field" of uncertainty in which real inquiry and learning occurred for us all.

In September 1993, I co-led a group of students from Europe, Australia, the U.S. and Canada on a citizen diplomacy/educational trip to Jordan, Israel and Syria. Serendipitously, this occurred exactly during the signing of the Israel-PLO accords. We were greeted warmly and were able to share discussions and artistic and cultural exchanges with many different people from all the varied sides of the confrontation. I continue work in this area, both individually, and collaboratively through the International Association of Sufism.

During my sabbatical to finish my doctorate, I moved to Europe. It both allowed me to be nearer to my Middle Eastern connections and seemed more welcoming to the type of multicultural work we were both doing. I enjoyed the change from a bustling Northern California urban environment to the rolling farm fields of Thomas Hardy country in Dorset.

Since March 1999 I've lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, another multicultural arts and music center where I started the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning (www.eial.org). My fluency in German and some other European languages also enables me to continue educational exchanges and lectures throughout Europe. In 2004, I co-founded, with Mr. Neill Walker, the Edinbrugh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace (www.mesp.org.uk), which annually in March draws thousands of visitors to events across the city. It is supported by the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh. Since 2006, I've been married to Natalia Lapteva, a Russian therapist and coach.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 29 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are reading this subject about the nomads and their culture, you will absolutely come back to this book again and again. It's a liberating book for the soul and heart and if you love the religions to understand and accept their commen origen, this book will be YOUR book. I admire the combination of intelligens and intuition and heart that I find in this book.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, as ever. 4 Feb. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As with all of Neil Douglas-Klotz's works, this is inspiring and refreshing. Like a drink of cool water for the soul. He has a way of expanding scripture and poetry that sheds new light while staying true to the original intent. It is a rejuvenating, heart opening experience with every read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Douglas Klotz is a gem! 18 Dec. 2012
By Starlight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book continues with the wisdom that Douglas Klotz brings to sacred text from the Middle East. Hw has re-translated many familiar and not so familiar passages into a language that speaks to the modern mind. I have read and re=read many of his books and love the organization and structure of this one. It truky emphasizes the idea that we are all as individuals struggling with the same questions and there is deep wisdom in the writings from all the religious teachings of the Middle East.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 2 Oct. 2014
By Katheryn Nicol - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good seller. Okay book. Thanks.
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