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Climbing Jacob's Ladder: Finding Spiritual Freedom through the Stories of the Bible
This book provides a fresh understanding of the biblical stories that inform the spiritual heritage and practices of the West. Drawing on 16 Old Testament stories, Dr. Epstein explores the struggles faced by the biblical heroes and heroines. These real-life people living real-life events face the same challenges as we do today. Like them we suffer from the inner terrorists or false selves that act as roadblocks in our quest for freedom. Who of us has not been lulled, like Adam and Eve, by the false promise that we can gain control of our lives by controlling the future? Or like Lot's wife, been immobilized by regrets of the past as she glances back at the destruction of Sodom? To discover the personal meaning of these tales for ourselves, readers are provided with visualizations (mental or guided imagery) to practice after each story.
The author explores the tales from four levels: literal, moral, analogical/allegorical and esoteric or secret. From the western spiritual perspective, healing of our fragmented selves lies within the context of our social relationships. The 10 commandments and the three vows provide the cosmic prescriptions for healing. Dr. Epstein keeps a sharp focus on how the biblical figures live out these prescriptions and the karmic consequences (reciprocity) that befall them when they falter. For example, Jacob’s trickery in lying to his father for the birthright blessing is mirrored in Laban’s trickery of Jacob when he swaps out Jacob’s bride. In contrast, Ruth’s goodness towards her mother-in-law is repaid in Boaz’s kindness towards her.
To re-ignite our connection to our heritage, overcome these false selves and climb our own ladder to reach the “top” or highest aspect of ourselves, Dr. Epstein suggests three practices we can adopt:
● Apply the 10 commandments to our daily interactions with others to bring harmony and cooperation to our relationships.
● Incorporate voluntary simplicity into our lives by embracing the three intentions or vows – to surrender our ego, live moderately, and practice faithfulness.
● Utilize the mental imagery provided herein to transform ourselves and find a transcendent connection with the Divine.
...“By climbing our own ladder of self-mastery (Jacob’s Ladder), we can become a light to the nations. To become this light is the highest spiritual attainment for Western monotheism: the end of evil; the defeat of death; union with God.”...
ACMI PRESS (1999)