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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Paucity of Spiritual Resources?

Yesterday I encountered the title of a book by an author I'd never heard of.  While I'm a librarian, it isn't unusual for this to happen.  Librarians are NOT, as some people think, walking encyclopedias of information, nor do they know the title of every book published.  And, as a self-proclaimed spiritual seeker, I don't know the names of every self-proclaimed teacher or the titles of every "spiritual" book printed.  Still, the title:  Transcending the Levels of Consciousness  is of interest as, in plain English, it's along the line of spiritual inquiry that I've been studying, on and off, for years.

I did some online searching about the author, Dr. David Hawkins, and his Institute of Advanced Spiritual Research after texting a friend (she's in another time zone so won't get back to me right away.  She's also not generally in front of a computer screen, like me.)  

I thought I'd see if I can borrow one of Dr. Hawkins' books from the local library but they  have none.  Since I'm there frequently, I'm aware that books of this ilk are scarce at my local library.  So, I tried the state's ILL (Interlibrary  Loan) system which can be accessed, in most cases from your local library's web site or in person at your local library.  Still nothing by Dr. Hawkins along these lines.

And, it's not unusual.  There are many definitions and interpretations of the words spiritual and spirituality.  There are just as many paths presented by many, many "teachers".  I'm not going to delve into these definitions or the various paths here or now.  I'm more concerned at this moment about the the lack of substantive printed material, in this subject area, in many public libraries.  You will find religion in the 200s, philosophy in the 100s, as well as the occult.  But, unless a book of this type is reviewed and, even more importantly, reaches the level of some commercial success, it will not be purchased because, unfortunately, public libraries, have, in many cases, succumbed to the pressure to compete with recreational entities like bookstores, video games, television and celebrity.

Some of my professional friends and colleagues will be angry, if they read this, but most of them do not and will not and, I'm sorry, but this is how I feel personally and professionally.  I may be 'old school' but when I entered the profession we were proud to be considered part of the educational community, dispensing information to those who need it.  Library collections were intended not just for leisure reading but to represent the diversity, breadth and depth of human knowledge and culture.  

A couple of years ago I was at a training session with a bunch of other library directors and happened, at lunch, to sit next to a director of a library not far from mine.  In the course of conversation, we were commiserating about the lack of substantive intellectual inquiry we were encountering at our libraries.  She expressed the sense that we're past the dumbing down of America and have reached the state of dumbed down.  This includes, sadly, spiritual inquiry, in my opinion.

In any case, neither my local public library, nor the state's ILL system is giving me ready access to any of the titles of Dr. Hawkins.  At the moment I'm not interested enough to make a purchase but I'll keep the information in my back pocket.

I am concerned that my profession is missing The Mark and will, eventually, pay for it, as it already is, in lack of support.  After all best sellers are everywhere, in multiple formats and some of us aren't interested in that; we're looking for something much more.

More investigation is needed but maybe this is a direction for me to consider in my pursuit of financial stability in retirement.  Maybe there's a need for a review tool of this type of resource.

Of course, there is NOT a paucity of spiritual resources, I'm well aware of that.  They are there, readily available but not generally familiar to those not seeking them.  Still, it might be useful to have reviews of printed resources for those who are needing some direction in sorting out the kernels of wisdom from possible chaff.

Something to think about.

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