Experience a spiritual awakening thanks to new book
Dr Steve Taylor, a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University, has written a collection of powerful meditations and poetic reflections in his new book: The Calm Center.
Named one of the world’s most spiritually influential living people in 2014, Dr Taylor hopes his book will inspire people to step away from hectic day-to-day life and build a greater awareness of their authentic self.
Dr Taylor said: “I hope it makes people think about their lives in a different way, and see the world in a new way. I hope it gives people some encouragement and consolation, and makes them aware that their problems and difficulties are not insurmountable. It's a meditative book, to be read slowly and contemplatively.”
The Calm Center is currently the number two best seller in Amazon’s spiritual meditations hot new releases category and Dr Taylor hopes his book will pass on a sense of freedom to readers.
He explained: “I want to inspire people to be more aware of the wonder of the world, and the strangeness and beauty of life. Many of us take the world pretty much for granted - as we become adults, it becomes more familiar and mundane. I want to remind people how magical it can be.
“There is a piece in the book called ‘The Strangeness’ which just describes different facets of life and the world and human consciousness, and tries to make the reader aware of how bizarre and wonderful all of these things are. There’s another poem called ‘Savour this Life, Savour this World’ which tries to remind the reader how fragile and how temporary life is, and how fortunate we are to be alive.”
Dr Taylor drew upon inspiration from his own life to write the book and said: “A lot of the pieces or poems are based on my own experience, or my own personal and psychological or spiritual development.
“As a psychologist, I’m very interested in what I call ‘awakening experiences,’ when people’s awareness seems to expand and intensity, so that they feel that the world becomes more meaningful and beautiful. And a few of the pieces are based on my own ‘awakening experiences’.
“For example, there’s one called ‘The Core’, which was partly about my own experience of ‘finding myself.’ The core is the authentic, deep and pure part of our being which is always untouched by external influences.
“Because of all the influences we absorb from our upbringing and environment, we may lose touch with it, and end up living inauthentically, becoming someone we’re not meant to be. But some people - as I did - go through a process of freeing ourselves from the influences they’ve absorbed and becoming who they really are. And one thing they may find then is that the core isn’t really solid - it’s actually a kind of space, where we find that we’re not really separate, but deeply connected to other people, and to the whole world.”
As an author of several psychology books, Dr Taylor admits his latest publication is a new venture and one which has come together of its own accord.
“I originally studied literature at university and have always loved poetry, but was never particularly happy with what I wrote, and in the end I gave up. A few years after that, I started writing seriously - articles for magazines and books, mainly on psychology and spirituality.
“But a few years ago, I found myself beginning to write in a kind of poetic style again. It happened spontaneously, without any forethought - phrases and lines would just come into my mind, and I would write them down, and form them into complete pieces. I guess you could call them poems, but a very loose kind of free verse. I began to publish the pieces through my social media, and there was a great reaction to them.
“A well-known Canadian author and spiritual teacher named Eckhart Tolle read them, and decided he wanted to publish a collection of them. He had decided to start his own publishing imprint and wanted to publish them as his first book. So that became my new book, The Calm Center. Hence the American spelling of 'centre.'
Dr Steve Taylor is the author of several psychology books, including Making Time, Out of the Darkness and Back to Sanity. He has his own spirituality and psychology website which can be viewed at www.stevenmtaylor.com.
In 2014 Mind, Body and Spirit magazine named Dr Taylor as one of the world’s most spiritually influential living people alongside Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama. He was at number 31.
His blog on Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness) is very well-read and his Facebook page has around 11,000 fans.