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Lying Awake ➿ Lying Awake Free ➶ Author Mark Salzman – Mark Salzman's Lying Awake is a finely wrought gem that plumbs the depths of one woman's soul and in so doing raises salient uestions about the power and price of faithSister John's cloistered life of Mark Salzman's Lying Awake is a finely wrought gem that plumbs the depths of one woman's soul and in so doing raises salient uestions about the power and price of faithSister John's cloistered life of peace and prayer has been electrified by ever freuent visions of God's radiance leading her toward a deep religious ecstasy Her life and writings have become examples of devotion Yet her visions are accompanied by shattering headaches that compel Sister John to seek medical help When her doctor tells her an illness may be responsible for her gift Sister John faces a wrenching choice to risk her intimate glimpses of the divine in favor of a cure or to continue her visions with the knowledge that they might be false and might even cost her her life.

  • Paperback
  • 192 pages
  • Lying Awake
  • Mark Salzman
  • English
  • 04 May 2016
  • 9780375706066

About the Author: Mark Salzman

Mark Salzman is an award winning novelist and nonfiction author who has written on a variety of subjects from a graceful novel about a Carmelite nun’s ecstatic visions and crisis of faith to a compelling memoir about growing up a misfit in a Connecticut suburb – clearly displaying a range that transcends genre As a boy all Salzman ever wanted was to be a Kung Fu master but it was his proficien.

10 thoughts on “Lying Awake

  1. Josephine (Jo) Josephine (Jo) says:

    I enjoyed this book immensely It is the fictional story of Sister John of the Cross Sister John is a member of a Carmelite monastery on the outskirts of Los Angeles For many years Sister John has struggled to find true knowledge of God her spouse she wants to feel his presence After waiting for such a long time for an answer she starts having headaches along with the pain comes joy she starts having visions she feels that her prayers and patience have been answered Sister John is even inspired to write a bestselling book Whilst she is having one of her spells she sees the world differently she sees beauty in all the small things in nature in the semi desert garden but most of all Sr John has met the DivineAs the pains intensify it is deemed necessary by Sister John's superiors that she sees a doctor and she is faced with a life changing decision keep her pain and the disturbance to the lives of her sisters or have surgery and lose her precious giftAll of Sister John's thoughts are printed in italics and you feel really a part of her struggle Her gift has been her consolation over the last few years and also a great benefit to the monasteryThis is such a peaceful story and yet it drew me into asking so many uestionsIf such an illness results in wonderful inspired writing is it wrong to assume that the inspiration does not come from the Holy Spirit? If it is just the illness speaking through Sister John why is it not just gobbledygook? Why are her writings so beautiful and wise? Was the gift maybe given by God to help Sister John through an impossibly hard time on her religious journey?So many ifs and buts in an inspirational story when we learn what Sister John decides we then have to see what the outcome will be will all be well with her and the community?

  2. Sarah Sarah says:

    Sister John is a Carmelite nun who after years of dedicated service begins to experience visions of the divine in ecstatic crystalline clarity But these visions are accompanied by terrible headaches and Sister John is encouraged to seek medical attention When told by a neurologist that her experiences are likely the result of curable epileptic seizures Sister John is forced to rethink everything she knows about spiritual lifeOn the surface this seems like another religion vs science narrative But this isn't simply a matter of conflicting paradigms That's the easy part It's the human element the choices we have to make on our own that are difficultSister John is genuinely good and genuinely selfless She's so selfless and good I very nearly abandoned the book I couldn't relate to her I felt Mark Salzman was keeping too much of a respectful distance But as the story develops we begin to see Sister John's frailty her human fallibility And yes her self When the most meaningful experiences of her life are reduced to a neurological defect your heart breaks for her Salzman sees the beauty in her vocationbut he doesn't romanticize itHe's not trying to make Catholicism hip Evelyn Waugh He's not trying to make it sexy Graham Greene He just wrote a beautiful poignantly human narrative And you don't have to be Catholic to appreciate it

  3. booklady booklady says:

    Have you ever longed to know God? I mean really know Him feel close to Him sense His presence within or near you? Sister John of the Cross a cloistered Carmelite of middle age waited for many dry years to know her Bridegroom Then a few years ago she started having migraine like headaches With the onset of the headaches she became able to engage in deep meditation and began having Divine encounters which led to a best selling book and notoriety for her convent just outside Los Angeles However as the severity of head pain continued to increase Sister John was forced to seek medical attention which led to a disappointing medical diagnosis and an especially difficult decision for this theophilus lover of God Lying Awake is a gentle yet powerful story poem than prose The book is organized around the liturgical calendar and rich in Catholic symbolism which is why—even though it can be read uickly—it is best appreciated at leisure In the end it is less about how she resolves her medical dilemma than what she learns spiritually which hopefully is the case for all of us Savor it Better yet take any one of Sister John’s thoughts—they are all in italics—as a rich source for your daily meditation Excellent

  4. Jeana Jeana says:

    I ended up liking this book a whole lot than I thought I was while I was reading it In fact when I wasn't reading it I would think about something in it that seemed to resonate with me For example I thought it interesting to think that God loves each of us as if there were no one else on earth Believing that is the most perfect act of faith of allThe book is about a nun who finds out after years of feeling like she was directly experiencing God's presence that she had epilepsy and that most of what she felt was due to her seizures She has a surgery to eliminate the problem and wonders whether she should return After all wasn't it just the epilepsy that caused her to feel so intimate with God? I particularly loved the ending Because all the nuns admitted to doubting their decisions to devote their lives to God But they were still there trying And that was the point to it all And isn't that the point to what any of us who believes in God do? It takes so much to keep saying yes to doing things when we don't have a complete faith As Mother Emmanuel said to Sister John Yet you're still here trying to do His will anyway That's the kind of understanding I meant The doing kind not the knowing kind One other uote from the book I liked was this no matter how many times we hear what it costs to follow Christ we're still shocked when the bill comes and we wonder all over again if we can pay it If we make an act of faith then it counts than on the days when we feel sure

  5. Anna Anna says:

    What a beautifully written book written with such respect and curiosity for the monastic experienceBasically it is about a Carmelite Sister who learns that her religious visions and migraines might come from a small benign braintumor and will she take it out and risk loosing these visions?I was afraid that it might be one of those science vs religion easy answers books but it wasn't It is a beautiful story about faith doubt and everything in between My life couldn't be farther away from the Carmelite Sister at the center of the story and yet there are few books that have touched me like this one did This is everything that the Alchemist and that horrible Celestine Prophecy wanted to be but lacked the gracefulness and the respect for the reader

  6. La Tonya Jordan La Tonya Jordan says:

    This was an excellent and awesome novel It revealed the soul of Sister John of the Cross She thought her main purpose in live as a cloistered nun was to get as close to God as humanly possibly It was only going through her illness of epilepsy she realized all God reuires of us is our obedience and for us to continue to do his will She lived a contemplative life for approximately twenty five years and continued in this journey as a novice mistress at the end of the novelThe book showed a side of the Catholic faith not known to me Not being of the Catholic faith it peaked my curiosity I learned about a very selective women of faith who dedicate their entire lives to the prayer of God They pray continuously for those who can pray for themselves and for those who can A life of poverty and simplicity is God's way to the Carmelities The Living Rule or prioress was a woman of dignity and wisdom She saw the gifts of each of the Carmelities and added each to the body in a way which brought cohesives to the group She brought order to God's orderThe most precious sight in the book was when Sister John of the Cross prayed all night to make her decision regarding surgery All the nuns in the monastery stood watch with her with candles lit as Sister John prayed To me this demonstrated strength of how important each person is to the body To the cloistered nuns Sister John belonged to this monastery and had been accepted by God with or without the gift of writing that she believed came from God It was their showing of unconditional love It was described by this author As thy will be done Jesus praying to this father in heaven to remove this burden In Jesus name AMENThe Catholic faith embodies ancient old traditions As the traditions were described by the author the reader sensed how magnificent and beautiful these traditions must look to the naked eye

  7. Marvin Marvin says:

    A wise gentle book with a very different feel from Salzman's earlier book The Soloist It is unashamedly filled with religious language rendered faithfully and sympathetically We really feel like we get inside the religious struggle of a longtime nun and do so miraculously without psychologizing This nun who struggles for 25 years to know God finally has a spiritual breakthrough just as she develops severe headaches that turn out to be caused by mild epileptic seizures Does this mean that her religious experience which she has written about in a well received book was inauthentic? What does that mean for her personal intimate relationship with God her calling and her role in the community? These are hard uestions which Salzman explores remarkably faithfully deeply without offering easy or pat answers This nun's humility selfless seeking offer a striking contrast to the however sympathetically rendered exclusive arrogant selfish striving of the main Pentecostal character in The Hallelujah Side Even amazing this spiritually deep rich book is a very accessible read that can be read in a couple of hours I was however puzzled by chapter titles that seem to bear no relation to the chapter's content I must have missed something

  8. Judy Judy says:

    Mark Salzman's Lying Awake is a finely wrought gem that plumbs the depths of one woman's soul and in so doing raises salient uestions about the power and price of faith GoodreadsThis book languished on my bookshelf for several years before I finally got around to reading it It's a thought provoking story about a nun in a very small cloister of Carmelite nuns in Los Angeles Nearly all of the story takes place within these walls Sister John has been here as a nun for many years and yet for a long time she feels that she still has not truly met god She begins to experience severe headaches but the headaches are accompanied by a transcendent experience that she feels bring her close to god What happens beyond this point is interesting and seems akin to some of the mundane decisions and turning points we all come to in our lives at some point As much as I disdane organized religion I find stories about it somehow fascinating The story was gently and skillfully told I recommend it

  9. Alicia Alicia says:

    Beautifully written sensitive Don't be misled by the setting this story is not about the monastery a nun's habit or migraines I won't spoil it for you I'll let you discover the story for yourself Half way through tears ran down my cheeks were they for a fictitious character in a novel? pg 170 If I serve Thee in hopes of Paradise deny me Paradise If I serve Thee in fear of hell condemn me to hell But if I love Thee for love of Thyself then grant me Thyself I believe this was borrowed from Rabia Basri an 8th century poet Very nicely done

  10. Keleigh Keleigh says:

    Salzman's writing is uiet and precise as unobtrusive as a nun's rustling skirts It went a little slow at first but gradually I grew accustomed to the slow and meditative pace and became entirely engaged in the cloistered life of his characters Sister John of the Cross faces a stark predicament involving a health condition a form of epilepsy that produces rapturous mental states a phenomenon shared by Dostoevsky who described it in 3rd person in The IdiotHe remembered that he always had one minute just before the epleptic fit when suddenly in the midst of sadness spiritual darkness and oppression there seemed at moments a flash of light in his brain and with extraordinary impetus all his vital forces suddenly began working at their highest tension The sense of life the consciousness of self were multiplied ten times at these moments which passed like a flash of lightning His mind and heart were flooded with extraordinary light But these moments these flashes were only the prelude of that final second in which the fit beganFD went on to say that regardless of the abnormalcy of his disease that those moments were of the highest form of existence and the acme of harmony and beauty He concludes with a Rumiesue phraseat the very last conscious moment before the fit began he had time to say to himself clearly and consciously 'Yes for this moment one might give one's whole life'Salzman's realistic account of Carmelite mysticism was sensitive and sympathetic but also maintained a sense of objectivity Sister John's decision is not overly dramatized nor are her rapturous fits described with obvious overtones of specialness Reading this I understood better what meditation teacher Shinzen Young describes in The Science of Enlightenment the underlying commonality of all mystical traditions being simple mindfulness and euanimity Closeness to God through renunciation of self in the least romantic sense of the termCheck out an interview with the author on Saloncom after you read the book truly a uick read located here

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