This beautiful collection of stories is one of Shah's best-selling books, and a stirring example of the Sufi system of development at work in the world today. The Magic Monastery was the first book to include stories written by Shah, along with traditional tales illustrating the instructional methods employed by Middle Eastern sages during the last thousand years--mostly unpublished.
Brand: Octagon Pr
Used Book in Good Condition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In another book called The Commanding Self Idries Shah says that the desired effect of these Teaching stories depends upon someone not knowing the intended effect. And this in a Teaching narrative that next tells us that the person he said this to, an editor for one of his books, then asked for an introduction explaining the intended effect of the stories. If you don't think thats funny, you probably won't like this book. There are no explanations here, no descriptions of spirituality, or theories about personal development. What is here, is very finely crafted Teaching stories and narratives that Shah collected from both oral and written sources, adding some of his own when "Sufic comprehensiveness demanded it". The stories are beautiful, challenging, disturbing, and often banal. And then one reads them again and finds that they are none of these things; that those were simply some of your own personal reactions to them. This book is a remarkable...
Here are 157 pieces of literature, most on a single page. Each one is like a room in a monastery; not the one in the title story, which is the product of the illusions of the greedy, but a genuine, inner one. Some rooms have windows through which to see the world around us more clearly. Some rooms have mirrors in which to see ourselves more clearly. Both windows and mirrors are specialized to help us see subtle things that we would otherwise miss. Then we realize that the windows have become mirrors, and the mirrors, windows. A handbook for inner work.
About Sufism, it has been said that "in the West it's become very complicated because spiritual authority is understood on the wrong levels." Shah's delivery is often times directed toward certain constructs of the ego within this reader's psyche. Painfulness is almost always imminent because he is capable in pointing out the fractures of this reader's brittle comprehension of Life. He points out how I can be my own worst enemy that keeps me from taking necessary steps needed to live a healthy and fulfilling life. In this sense, his tone can, in some instances, become characteristic of a stern father, a strict sensei, or a tough coach helping me steer clear of self-imagined obstructions. These moments aren't really ever pleasant, as they tend to turn my insides, and I feel singed. But, with some help, I am able to understand that this is an essential prerequisite for transformation in the Sufi way; therefore, I choose to understand these types of stern approaches...
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