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The Calm Center is a contemporary incarnation of that ancient tradition of poetic spiritual discourse. The ultimate subject matter of almost each one of these poems is the reader’s state of consciousness.

If you open yourself to their transformative power, and read slowly and attentively, then you will find that each piece will work its magic within you and bring about a subtle but distinct shift in your state of consciousness. It will free you from the mental noise of compulsive thinking and raise you into the alert inner stillness that is presence. It will awaken you to the spiritual dimension. And if you enjoy reading these poems repeatedly, their cumulative effect will be potentially life-changing. I recommend that you keep a copy of the book on your bedside table and another at your place of work to provide spiritual sustenance during your breaks, however short. The reading of each piece can become a mini-meditation, and often one will be all you need at any given time.

I have read some of Steve Taylor’s poems out loud to the participants at spiritual retreats, where they were enthusiastically received. I would advise that you also occasionally share your favorite pieces aloud with your partner, spouse, family members, or group of friends. You, as well as those who listen, will benefit greatly from this, as will the quality of your relationship. Just make sure, however, that the other person is open and receptive, so that you don’t cast these pearls before people who are too unconscious to appreciate them. Allow me to start off your spiritual reading pleasure with this little excerpt from a poem:

I wish I could show you,

When you are lonely or in darkness,  The Astonishing Light  Of your own Being!*

This little gem certainly does not look out of place in the pages of this book. It was written, however, over six hundred years ago by the great Persian Sufi poet Hafiz, who was given the epithet “Tongue of the Invisible” — which goes to show that words that emanate from presence are timeless. — Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth

The Only Place

When the future is full of dread and the past is full of regret where can you take refuge except in the present? When maelstroms of tormenting thoughts push back the barricades of your sanity the present is the calm center where you can rest.

And slowly, as you rest there, the niggling thoughts and fears dissolve like shadows shrinking under the midday sun until you don’t need refuge anymore.

The present is the only place where there is no thought-created pain.

The present is the only place.

The Challenge

How will you know how strong you are unless your strength is tested?

How will you know how deep you are unless turmoil breaks your surface and forces you to dive?

How will you know what sleeps inside until the whole of you is challenged to wake up?

Then you’ll turn inside to gather your resources your untapped reserves of strength and skill then rise like a sun, amazed by your own brightness, stronger than you ever suspected deeper than you ever dreamed.

From the book The Calm Center. Copyright © 2015 by Steve Taylor. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. www.NewWorldLibrary.com

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