1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

One unknown book by Leo Tolstoy which he himself valued the highest of all his writings January 15, 2010

No, it is not War and Peace; Anna Karenina or Resurrection…This is an almost unknown book by Leo Tolstoy of exceptional value and beauty which, despite author’s great want, has not made it to a bestseller by now.


Unfortunately, Leo Tolstoy is less known for his numerous religious writings, which present a challenging and original point of view.These works have been obviously undervalued.

Путь Жизни (Path of Lifeor also translated as A Calendar of Wisdom),  by Leo Tolstoy is considered to be his most important contribution to humanity, the work of his life’s last years. Widely read in prerevolutionary Russia, banned and forgotten under Communism; and recently rediscovered to great excitement, A Calendar of Wisdom is a day-by-day guide that illuminates the path of a life worth living with a brightness undimmed by time. Unjustly censored for nearly a century, it deserves to be placed with the few books in our history that will never cease teaching us the essence of what is important in this world.

The reader will notice that Tolstoy anticipated many of the ideas presented in contemporary books on spirituality, such as the observation that our thoughts determine our lives. Tolstoy began to write this book in 1910, the last year of his life, when he was 82 years old. Given that he began the book in January and completed it in October of the same year, one would think the writing went quickly; but it only seems that way. Tolstoy actually had been developing the themes presented in Path of Life for the last thirty years of his life.

In Path of Life Tolstoy defines how to find continuous happiness in life and how to die without fear. In presenting his views, he cites his own ideas and includes many quotations from an eclectic collection of ancient and modern philosophers and religious figures. The choice of quotations is a unique reflection of Tolstoy’s view of life reached through his ‘dialogue’ with the world’s best religious minds. Tolstoy deliberately marshals a chorus of religious thinkers who voice similar religious insights. By identifying religious themes that are consistent over time and from country to country, Tolstoy seeks to prove their eternal verity. (more…)


Leo Tolstoy’s short stories – true pearls! December 6, 2009

Filed under: Russia,spirituality,writing — axinia @ 5:09 pm
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Leo Tolstoy is mostly known for this great works like “War & Peace” or “Anna Karenina”, however he has left many short stories of great wisdom. Let me share with you one here.



‘And in praying use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.’ — Matt. vi. 7, 8.
A BISHOP was sailing from Archangel to the Solovétsk Monastery; and on the same vessel were a number of pilgrims on their way to visit the shrines at that place. The voyage was a smooth one. The wind favourable, and the weather fair. The pilgrims lay on deck, eating, or sat in groups talking to one another. The Bishop, too, came on deck, and as he was pacing up and down, he noticed a group of men standing near the prow and listening to a fisherman who was pointing to the sea and telling them something. The Bishop stopped, and looked in the direction in which the man was pointing. He could see nothing however, but the sea glistening in the sunshine. He drew nearer to listen, but when the man saw him, he took off his cap and was silent. The rest of the people also took off their caps, and bowed.

‘Do not let me disturb you, friends,’ said the Bishop. ‘I came to hear what this good man was saying.’

‘The fisherman was telling us about the hermits,’ replied one, a tradesman, rather bolder than the rest.

‘What hermits?’ asked the Bishop, going to the side of the vessel and seating himself on a box. ‘Tell me about them. I should like to hear. What were you pointing at?’

‘Why, that little island you can just see over there,’ answered the man, pointing to a spot ahead and a little to the right. ‘That is the island where the hermits live for the salvation of their souls.’

‘Where is the island?’ asked the Bishop. ‘I see nothing.’

‘There, in the distance, if you will please look along my hand. Do you see that little cloud? Below it and a bit to the left, there is just a faint streak. That is the island.’

The Bishop looked carefully, but his unaccustomed eyes could make out nothing but the water shimmering in the sun. (more…)


A must read for everyone interested in spirituality July 5, 2009

This book is familiar to many Western seekers of Truth, for it is a bestseller of spiritual literature. I first read it with 20, just in the middle of my spiritual seeking and was stunned by its power and deepness. I could identify myself with the main character to 1000%, by now it is the most accurate description of my life journey… Recently I came across the film based on this book and was stunned again – after the long spiritual way over these years I could find myself in the main character even more intensely…

I am sure most of my readers not only know the book/film but also can identify themselves with it as much as I do. For the book is truly a brilliant of spiritual literature: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. It is a fable in novella form about a seagull learning about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection. First published in 1970 it soon became a bestseller.

The idea is not new, it exemplifies the four commonalities of a stoic and/or ascetic spiritual path- the themes repeat and are in sequence: The outcast-the journey- the mentor-and the return to teach others:

The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads an idyllic life. (more…)


Order a good book in a different manner! March 29, 2009

A friend of mine has written a book and now introduces it in an unconventional manner: print-on-demand!

The book “The Wisdom Tradition” by John Noyce is an insight into philosophical and religious thought of the West from a bit different perspective –descriptions of Divine (or Eternal) Feminine that have been found in a wide range of written accounts including materials not traditionally regarded as ‘religious’, such as philosophy, literature, and those areas of study – alchemy, astrology, theosophy, and various magical traditions – known as Western Esotericism.

Here is the preview by the author:

Chapter 1: Sophia and feminine Wisdom
The first chapter presents an overview of feminine Wisdom from Proverbs in the eighth-century BCE through to Suso and his contemporaries in the 14/15th centuries CE, with particular emphasis on the divine manifestations as received in visions and dreams, and recorded in a variety of written forms. Throughout this period of time much of the surviving literature presents Divinity in masculine terms as an omnipotent God, able to assert His authority over nature. In the Wisdom tradition however, Wisdom is presented in feminine terms, working with nature. It can be argued therefore that the descriptions of feminine Wisdom encountered in this time period, and particularly in the medieval period, can be seen as providing alternative forms for the (safe) expression of the matriarchal view of the Divine inside the increasingly rigid and authoritarian patriarchy of the Christian Church.

 (painting the Mother of the World by Nicolai Rerich 1874-1947)

Chapter 2: From Boehme to Goethe: visions of Sophia in early modern Europe
This chapter is a survey of Sophianic theosophism from its beginnings in the writings of Jakob Boehme in the early seventeenth century. Included here are the English mystics, John Pordage and Jane Lead, the German theosophists, Johann Georg Gichtel and Gottfried Arnold, and their influence on the German Romantic writers, Novalis, Holderlin and Goethe at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Chapter 3: Sophia and the Russian mystical tradition
Awareness of Wisdom (Sophia) is not unique to the Western tradition. Relatively little attention has been given to the origins of the Russian understanding of Sophia. In this chapter I propose that there were in fact two sources: namely the understanding of Sophia as divine Wisdom in Byzantium, and the later introduction to Russia of the Boehmian theosophical understanding of Sophia. (more…)


The unknown talent of Leonardo da Vinci: story-telling September 9, 2008

Apart from being an absolutely outstanding personality, the great Leonardo da Vinici was famous for something, that got lost among his other brilliant and impressive talents like painting, science, inventing, music, etc. – namely for his very simple and wise fables, which he wrote in a similar vein to those of Aesop.

Almost five centuries after they were first penned some of Leonardo’s fables still exist and are told in the Tuscan countryside. Few people remember who was the author of these tales which were once told in the courts of France and Italy.  

Leonardo`s fables are very short, but involve complicated ideas and each one focused briefly on dangers like greed, jealousy and selfishness, or the benefits of compassion, kindness, honesty and generosity. It should be noted that fables are written, not so much for the entertainment of children, but to impart wisdom to adults.

Here is one of them: (more…)


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