Home/Main Menu     Site Map

EHE Autobiographies
Record Type: Review   ID: 773

The Breathing Cathedral: Feeling Our Way Into a Living Cosmos

Heyneman, Martha

 In the Foreword to this poetic yet scientifically based autobiographical paean to the Self we all are, Father Thomas Berry warns: "Until [the] distorted dream of a technological paradise is replaced by a more viable dream of a mutually enhancing human presence within an integral Earth community, no effective healing will take place, for the dream drives the action. In the larger cultural context the dream becomes the myth that both guides and drives the action" (p. xviii). Thus we each need to become aware of and guided by our own visions, which come to us in the form of exceptional experiences, incorporating them in our life stories to form one strand in the overarching tapestry of the new myth, the new cosmology, that originated in, pulsates in, and completes us all. Heyneman, who is a poet, essayist, and editor of A Journal of Our Time, tells us clearly what we should do, why, and how: "At some point in life, impelled by a sensation of dismemberment and inner contradiction, you [must] go in search of a single image that could embrace all these worlds in harmony: a new cosmology. You have to undo your old, fragmented world view, picked up from the outside . . . and start all over again from your own center, from what you know for yourself. Then the pieces acquired from elsewhere will find their places, not pasted any old how onto the surface of your mind but organically digested into the growing organism of your own understanding" (p. 153). This book is a record of how she did exactly this for herself, but what it led to—as this process does for anyone—is a new worldview that can enliven and enlighten everyone and everything, from atoms to people and the whole chain of being in between. She takes Dante as the model for this book, guided by Vergil through purgatory on the way to paradise. She herself begins, as do we all, like Dante, lost in a dark wood, with no discernable path, and through sharing her own exceptional experiences and the teachings of physicists, cosmologists, biologists, and mages she serves also as a Vergil, taking the reader by the hand and in compelling poetic prose (interlaced with actual poetry), shows us, by the example of her own experience, how to go back and down and in to find our own place, the one we once knew before we imbibed the Descartian worldview: "Now it is time to descend into the underworld in search of . . . our soul, which each of us left behind when we lurched, off-balance, out of our childhood" (p. 146). She calls it "extrapolating backward," and she tells how she learned in every fiber of her being that only when experientially you become "firmly established in your own center, yourself . . . can you be in communication with the worlds above and below, and, indeed, all around you" (p. 151). She went by the way of what Tom Berry calls "inscendence." Heyneman has given us two perceptive evocative exceptional autobiographies—her own and that of the universe.
Publisher Information:San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books, 1992. 265p. 23 figs; Index: 199-205; Notes: 183-198
Previous Record Previous
in this

List All Titles in This Category (57)

Book Reviews Menu
in this

Click a section below to move around the EHEN website.
Home/Menu       About EHEs      EHE Autobiographies      EHE Book Reviews      EHE FAQ      EHE Network      Email Talk      Experiences Library      Info/Contact      Join Us!      Living EHEs      Parapsychology      Rhea White      Web Links      Web Talk      What's New     

All website graphics, materials and content copyright © 1997-2003
by EHE Network. All rights reserved. For permissions
please contact EHEN's Executive Director, Rhea A. White.

Web Media Management by Palyne Gaenir of ScienceHorizon.

Exceptional Human Experience Network
Exceptional Human Experience Network