"Cosmos and Psyche," by Richard Tarnas, is the kind of book that comes along only once in a great while. Not only does it challenge modern assumptions about how the world works, but it also points the way toward a new way of understanding your place in the cosmos. Like Tarnas' previous title, "The Passion of the Western Mind," it is large in scope, but instead of exploring the past, it examines the present and the near future and shows how we are on the brink of world changes as great as those of the time of Galileo and Copernicus.
Christian Ratsch has been exploring the world of psychoactive plants and how they are used in different cultures around the world for many years. His masterwork, "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications," illustrates a world where plants, and their altering effects, are considered sacred. This book encourages the reader to notice the supernatural characteristics of everything that surrounds us.
"Spiritual Nutrition," by Gabriel Cousens, is another book that encourages the reader to think of ordinary things in a new way-in this case, the topic is food and nutrition. Rather than define why certain foods are and are not beneficial from the standpoint of human health, Cousens examines what it would mean if people viewed what they ate as a spiritual journey.
"The Deeper Dimension of Yoga: Theory and Practice," by Georg Feurstein, examines the spiritual essence of a practice that is usually thought of as merely physical. Moving deeper into the origins and meanings of yoga, Feurstein views the world as unity and reveals the deep tradition that underlies the modern practice.
This spiritual enlightenment is evident in Leo Hartong's "Awakening to the Dream: The Gift of Lucid Living." By entreating the reader to look within for her or his own personal story of the journey, Hartong answers some of the basic questions that cause people to search in the first place.
"The Way of the White Clouds," by Lama Anagarika Govinda, reminds readers of the impact that first experiences can have on their imagination. This book, originally published in 1966, provided the West with one of its first glimpses into the hidden world of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism and influenced many of the modern teachers practicing today.
Fields Book Store is located at 1419 Polk St., at California, SF, (415) 673-2027. In each issue, a bookseller from a local San Francisco bookstore will suggest great reads for the month.