Eternal Echoes Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to

Eternal Echoes Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong There is a divine restlessness in the human heart our eternal echo of longing that lives deep within us and never lets us settle for what we have or where we areIn this exuisitely crafted and inspirational book John O'Donohue author of the bestseller Anam Cara explores the most basic of human desires the desire to belong a desire that constantly draws us toward new possibilities of self discovery friendship and creativity

10 thoughts on “Eternal Echoes Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong

  1. Julie Christine Julie Christine says:

    Some books simply find you They enter your life at the right time when you are most in need of and receptive to hearing their message This book My soul The Universe recognized what I needed and offered up these words in response I've been aware of John O'Donohue's work for some time I have a collection of his poetry gifted by a dear friend that I dip into and feel embraced by; I've been to a writing residency at Anam Cara in southwest Ireland named for one of his works of essays and reflections But it wasn't until I read a uote in the amazing weekly newsletter of curated wisdom Maria Popova's Brain Pickings you must subscribe you simply must that I learned of Eternal Echoes and knew it was the book for me at this time in this place There is a divine restlessness in the human heart Though our bodies maintain an outer stability and consistency the heart is an eternal nomad No circle of belonging can ever contain all the longings of the human heart As Shakespeare said we have “immortal longings” All human creativity issues from the urgency of longing That uote has become the centerpiece of the talk I give at author readings for it speaks not only to the central themes of my novel but to the themes playing out in my life Eternal Echoes is about coming to terms with the emptiness inherent to one's soul an emptiness we seek to fill with religion or drugs love or work instead of accepting that it is the very space inside we need in order to grow into our compassion our true selves There is something within you that no one or nothing else in the world is able to meet or satisfy When you recognize that such unease is natural it will free you from getting on the treadmill of chasing ever temporary and partial satisfactions This eternal longing will always insist on some door remaining open somewhere in all the shelters where you belong When you befriend this longing it will keep you awake and alert to why you are here on earth For this reader acknowledging and living with this longing has been a particularly painful and recent exploration I am a problem solver by nature and when something is off when my soul is akilter my instinct is to root out the source of the maladjustment and fix it It's hard to accept that I need to sit with my discomfort and listen to what it is trying tell me Most of the activity in society is subconsciously designed to uell the voice crying in the wilderness within you The mystic Thomas à Kempis said that when you go out into the world you return having lost some of yourself Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging with which you will only become empty and weary By necessity I have been spending a lot of time in society lately losing bits of myself along the way And the time I spend engaged in society the Fernando Pessoa's lament from The Book of Disuiet yet another collection of wisdoms that has found its way to me at the right time my “passions and emotions are lost among visible kinds of achievement” Eternal Echoes is informed by Celtic mysticism and a fluid Christian theology Although I am not a Christian and actively avoid anything that smacks of faith based advice O'Donohue's approach is philosophical rather than theological It is something akin to gnosticism that compels the individual to be an active participant in her own journey to wholeness not a blind believer in an all powerful god He writes of allowing in vulnerability for vulnerability leads to wonder and wonder leads to seeking and seeking leads to growth and growth makes room for everyone else Dog eared and underlined and highlighted and journaled Eternal Echoes enters my library of go to soulcatchers along with the writings of Richard Hugo Rilke and Pessoa Woolf Didion and Solnit writers who understand what it means to allow in the darkness and sit tight while it slowly becomes light

  2. Avonlea Rose Avonlea Rose says:

    Does anyone else read a book then can't decide whether they loved it or hated it? Sometimes I bounce between a 2 star and a 4 star rating and I wonder what other people must be thinking that I keep changing it But I imagine I'm not the only who has that issue when reading a certain book For me this was one of those books that I can't uite make my mind up on Eternal Echoes is a collection of poetical reflections on spirituality in the modern world and human desires for longing and belonging It reads in a very stream of conscious style which is part of its charm but I also felt at times it may have been edited thoroughly O'Donohue might have reconsidered a turn of phrase or expressed something succinctly He rambles at length on a certain idea then is brief with another He employs certain words or phrases too freuently and sometimes he introduces description of the Native landscape and mythos in Ireland in a way that is not totally seamless repeating multiple times that this is in the West of Ireland when it might have done enough if O'Donohue had only said once that this is where he hails from But I was not at all put off by this Rather I felt I struggled with Eternal Echoes because I do not uite agree with all of the opinions expressed within it While much of the book reflects genuine personal insight and some beautiful notions upon prayer and desire some of this book could best be described as a type of Catholic pop psychology which is fascinating because O'Donohue also rebukes both fundamentalism and popular psychology in this book Perhaps O'Donohue just could not uite get out of their grasp in spite of perceiving their limitations He still finds himself expressing on multiple occasions the idea that people can acuire not only spiritual healing but a physical and material healing if only they were dutiful to God and learned to see their suffering as a Divine lesson something that has its reflection in the field of psychology where people are made to believe they can achieve good health and wealth through simply thinking positively He pens that nobody would be lonesome if only they could be generous which itself seems austere and belies that generosity must be a shared activity A particularly troubling element for me is that he also employs language which segregates we should pity the poor he writes and children who have been abused and have lost their way; and we should pray for prostitutes He does not seem to consider that such persons could in fact be reading his book He keeps them at an arms length to be pitied but not included Almost ironically it was yet his ideas of the loss of a shared identity and whole community in the modern world that touched me; and this created a real conflict for me in reading this It also felt at times that O'Donohue moved away from the really meaningful and personally felt insights that make this book so endearing and illuminating and resorted yet to his role as lecturer becoming suddenly a preacher he proffers advice on illness with a type of authority although it seems clear he has no such experience of living with a life long illness or disability He often writes imperatively as if we are not here just to listen to his reflections but rather must listen to himThe above said I will also say I really enjoyed the selection of uotations that O'Donohue included among the pages; and I also appreciated the Blessings he included at the end of each chapter These added something special I thought to the work a thoughtful touch that gave it finesseSo this book was not a complete loss but I would also suggest approaching it with a certain level of caution that not everything O'Donohue says is necessarily all that could be hoped for; and while sometimes very striking and beautiful when he locates an authentic notion and while O'Donohue may have tried to transcend common limitations in religion and psychology it seems to suffer still from a limited and biased perspective that does not uite make it completely past the grasps of fundamentalist and popular ideasNotespg 113 on The Prison of Shame provides example of where O'Donohue mistakenly segregates where he tries to create tolerance He writes Imagine the years of silent torment so many gay people have endured unable to tell their secret He continues Think of the victims of racism lovely people who are humiliated and tagged for hostility At the bottom of the page he also chooses to describe victims of sexual violence similarly failing to write towards but of them When a person is sexually abused or raped she often feel great shame at what happened to her pg 161 162 on When Sorrows Come They Come Not Single Spies but in Battalions This essay and the one proceeding show some of the insensitive language I refer to above O'Donohue writes that Often the flame of pain can have a cleansing effect and burn away the dross that has accumulated around your life It is difficult to accept that what you are losing is what is used what you no longer needpg 233 234 on Brittle Language Numbs Longing This essay and the one following is one of the areas of this book where O'Donohue begins to successfully nibble around the edges of popular psychology speaking about how the field's jargon is so ill suited to describe humanity When your experience is rich and diverse it has a beautifully intricate inner weaving You know that no analysis can hold a candle to the natural majesty and depth of even the most ordinary moment in the universe He describes the language of psychology as brittle and disembodied One such powerful term is 'process' he writes about how we talk of processing emotions In many cases 'processing' has become a disease; it is now the way in which many people behave towards themselves This term has no depth or sacredness 'Processing' is a mechanical term there are processed peas and beans The tyranny of processing reveals a gaping absence of soul He continues Such terminology is blasphemous; it belongs to the mechanical wordpg 198 on Wonder Invites Mystery to Come Closer is another area of the book where O'Donohue attacks the language of popular psychology This jargon has no colour and no resonance of any mystery opaueness or possibility Real wonder about your soul demands words which would be imaginative and suggestive of the depths of the unknown within you Unlike the fashionable graffiti of fast food psychology they hold the reverence to which mystery is entitled

  3. Writerful Books Writerful Books says:

    This is not a book you simply read from cover to cover There is so much timeless wisdom contained in this book that you will often find yourself pausing to reflect on what has been said time and time again Totally appealed to my Celtic soul I can't praise this book enough

  4. Victoria Evangelina Allen Victoria Evangelina Allen says:

    GREEN PASTURES OF BELONGINGI wrote down about 40 pages of uotes from this book during the month of reading it If I read it with a yellow highlighter instead there would be no page left unmarked For all the brilliance of meaning and artful writing of separate sentences and passages the whole landscape of the book stayed covered in thick fog for me Perhaps I do not embrace my longing and deny my need of belonging and thus cannot see clearly I would joke routinely over the weeks of marinating in the atmosphere of soulful writing and deeper than my conscious comprehension messages of the philosopher I was advised to switch off my logic and read with the heart knowing that whatever my soul craves from this book it will open up to It helped; though I connected read understood chapters on suffering and grief the mostThe foundation of O'Donohue's book lays in ancient Celtic teachings and mysteries with added flavors of theosophy spirituality and Hegel's influence Thus the study of longing and belonging becomes larger than life and connects itself in a never ending circle of the snake biting its tail to conclude that we are shuffling God out of our lives and until we bring Him back in we'll never belong fully and never satisfy our immense longings in all the areas of life and beyond The book dives into the meanings of presence the flame of longing suffering the dark valley of broken belonging prayer a bridge between longing and belonging and absence where longing still lingersThis deep and beautiful book is full of many layered wonders and gems It lullabies the reader into its embrace It does not give simple answers on what belonging is but gives you enough material to create your own house of understandingEspecially if you are willing to take time with the book and your own inner dialogueWhich I should do once again on a re read in hope of connecting the dots and stepping out of the fog onto the green pastures of belonging to Self and the Universe of Spirit Victoria Evangelina

  5. Karunagrace Karunagrace says:

    I just love John O'Donohue's writing His gently probing reflections woven with rich Celtic and Catholic learning and a love of language combine to form a deepening meditation that spirals inward and outward at the same time You feel like you are participating in or witnessing his creative thought process and that he enjoys the process and the process itself brings new insights to light Eternal Echoes is about the soul's deep thirst for belonging or Being and Longing the longing of our Being and the being of our Longing He reflects on the shapes this longing takes and the ways in which it can and cannot be satisfied in earthly life The heart is an eternal nomad he says When I read this book I wanted to uote big chunks of it on a myspace page I didn't have If nothing else read the beautiful introduction; the whole book is encapsulated there anyway

  6. Cliff Cliff says:

    Mr O'Donohue in his masterful book Eternal Echoes takes you on an exuisitely organized vastly scenic interpretive journey through the corridors of the human soul His profound knowledge and sensitivities in the realm of the human condition are astounding; And the language with which he chooses to impart these insights to the reader is eually fantastic With lyric like imagery he weaves words that touch the senses like beautiful music pure literary excellenceIt takes a lifetime of slow work to find a rhythm of thinking which reflects and articulates the uniueness of your soul John O'DonohueEternal Echoes will forever rattle around in the brain helping you gain a better understanding of others and importantly a better understanding of yourself READ this book It will move you amaze you and give you a new appreciation of what it means to be human

  7. Jessica Jessica says:

    Like Anam Cara the words in this book just washed over me soothingly making me receptive to the ideas contained within It gave me some insight into where that 'search to belong' comes from and what to expect from the world in terms of an answer

  8. Katherine Katherine says:

    This little book felt nothing short of sacred O'Donohue takes spritual concepts and applies them directly to our world today in a way that is uplifting but doesn't tiptoe around real issuesMy only complaint is that I can't have excerpts read to me every morning before I start my day

  9. Amy Amy says:

    This was a somewhat disappointing read but not without it's strong points The main theme was the cohabitation of longing and belonging in the human experience It explored the role of both feelings and the importance of a balance between them I would not recommend this book for its theology as it seems to advance a nominally Christian watery sort of spiritualism However some meditations and thoughts were insightful and worthwhile never the less The strongest sections were the sections on longing and belonging and the first part of the section on absence However the book's greatest shortcoming is that it is much longer than it needs to be In my opinion the best sections could be made into a book half it's size and even those sections have a tendency to ramble on long after they have exhausted their message I did pick up a new favorite uote To be here is so much

  10. Victoria Victoria says:

    Some books are to be returned to again again and this is one of them I picked this up in a charity shop and I had no idea what to expect from it I uickly fell in love with John's reflections and deep insights drawn from the Celtic way of life; his simple honest and engaging writing style; and his ability to conjure up vivid imagery and analogies to transmit his wisdom in a way that is accessible to anyone His humility understanding and love of life come through on every page as well as the solace and inspiration he found in the Irish landscape There is so much in this it is hard to capture it in a few words but it is simply a source of impeccable wisdom from a beautiful soul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *