Sunday, September 12, 2010

From the Center by Robert J. Hope

From the Center
by Robert J. Hope
Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
New York and London, England
Copyright © 2001 by Robert J. Hope
ISBN: 0-8264-1324-2
Softbound, 111 pages, $13.95

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

Robert J. Hope is/was a Commissioned Presenter of Centering Prayer and a New England Coordinator for Contemplative Outreach. I write is/was because the book presented to me for review was published in 2001 and I was unable (after a quick search) to find if
Mr. Hope is still with the organization.

Interestingly as I write this review just after the Jewish Holy Days of Rosh HaShanah (New Year), I can hear the music of prayer books and bibles that bring comfort to millions. Some of the poetry-meditations remind me of the prayers in the Reform Judaism prayer books. But what I like about this book is not its connection to the Gospels, the King James Version or the Old Testament. It is distinct flavor of peace that reading these poems can bring to the reader.

Since none of the poem-meditations have titles I will cite them by page number.

Page 36 begins with: The power of the present pulls me in,/ Ever gripping, grabbing, drawing./There is a world within a world,/And you are there,...

Page 47:

A single sparrow –
You know when it falls.
And you know, though plentiful,
The hairs of my head,
The myriad isnesses that are one.
And You know each so well.
What fish swims no longer

As you can see, Mr. Hope has his pulse, his heart and his words with his God, and no matter what your religion – or no religion – these poem-meditations will bring some
peace to your heart and mind. They accept the sparrow on the same level as the human,God’s creations watched and cared in Hope’s perceptions of God.

In a number of these poem-meditations Hope refers to his God as You or Beloved and
reading his words one can understand his view and accept Hope’s views of the peacefulness he seeks to pass on through his belief.

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